Now here’s something new. The Guardian Unlimited has a story about a site called YouDeparted.com that is a kind of social network for the dead. While you’re still alive, you set up a profile page on the site, including text, pictures, and videos, and then after you croak the URL is released to your family or friends. You might, for instance, offer instructions for what to do about your ashes or how to interpret your will, or provide a list of your financial accounts and passwords, or just post a video telling everyone what you really think of them. The service offers “peace of mind built in with rock-solid security features,” according to the site.
There are different pricing tiers, ranging from $10 a year to store 20 entries and send 10 “final emails” on up to $80 a year for unlimited entries and emails. There’s also a 14-day free trial, which would definitely be the way to go if you’re feeling really poorly. The site’s a good idea, but if it takes off you can bet we’ll see Google roll out a beta of Google Death, a free, ad-supported knockoff that will put YouDeparted six feet under lickety-split. I’d happily saddle my heirs and mourners with a few tasteful text ads if it saved me ten bucks a year.
You have to think, though, that there are other opportunities along these lines. Second Life, for instance, could offer its members, for a nominal fee, the ability to have their avatars turn into ghosts after they pass away. The ghosts would just randomly float around the virtual world for eternity. They could call the service Third Life.