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Corpse-generated content

September 23, 2007

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.

Comments

They could call the service Third Life.

No, no, no.

After Life

Posted by: Seth Finkelstein [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 02:09 AM

I thought Second Life was the afterlife.

Posted by: Nick Carr [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 01:44 PM

I've actually recently become very interested in this space now because my parents are both elderly and getting sick. My father is talking a lot about his life, stuff he never talked about before (the war, his regrets, etc). I'd like a way to capture his info. My mother also has tons of journals from when she was a little girl. I'm too f-ing lazy to get those onto digital so maybe I can pay someone to do that; that and their piles of godawful slides they have in those round wheels in the closet. I'm lazy so it has to all be easy.

I recently signed up for Story of My Life after seeing them on TechCrunch and so far I prefer the model. Cheaper too. And they have some foundation that holds the data, not some start-up that will be gone as soon as they blow thru their vc funds. It's not a perfect model by any means, but the best I've seen.

Third life is a baby boomer marketing firm I believe.

Posted by: Mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 01:58 PM

Rats. Seth beat me to it.

Posted by: Mike of Concrete [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 06:20 PM

Actually, the boomer firm Mike's thinking of is Third Age...

Seth's definitely right--it'd have to be "After Life."

but would the avatars be transparent? and would there be a form of avatar reincarnation, if your avatar believed in it? Would avatars who had wings in Second Life, have them in After Life? oh, the possibilities are mind-boggling...

Posted by: tish grier [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 08:13 PM

I prefer the "Third Life" title. People who don't have a life, figuratively speaking, can exist in Second Life. People who don't have a life literally speaking, can exist in Third Life.

Plus, for those of you who believe in reincarnation, the branding is already preset for Fourth Life".

Posted by: Ross the Heartless Conservative [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 08:24 PM

Just got back from looking at YouDeparted.com. The concept's actually a good idea. Let's face it, lots of us who are well under Retirement Age really aren't thinking of what might happen if we drop dead one day. Trying to get us to a *lawyer* to draw up a *will* is really kinda old school--and lots of us don't do it even after the domestic partnership, marriage, or kids happen. So, maybe leaving some instructions online somewhere, and instructions on how to find the info, might be a pretty practical idea.

but After Life...I can't wait to see it....

Posted by: tish grier [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 23, 2007 08:30 PM

When are you going to die? Try out the Death Clock!

http://DeathClock.com

Find out the day of your death, and minutes until you're likely to expire.

Be sure to try the different modes: Normal, Optimistic, Pessimistic, and Sadistic.

Posted by: Phil Wolff [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2007 12:06 AM

Third Age, right - by Mary Furlong from MyFamily. Did that Boomer Venture Summit.

I think YouDeparted.com will be in the deadpool in 2 years. Plus how many times have I changed my email, phone, contact info so how will they find me in 10-15-20 years when someone dies.

Phil- funny. I def chose sadistic.

Posted by: Mike [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2007 12:59 AM

Consider the potential of tapping the creative powers of those ~already departed~. How many of them are there? What interesting stories they would tell! How many ads they would click! It's a huge, untapped market.

I'm sure Google already has an interface ... that's where all those unexplained ad clicks come from.

I suggest a new TLD for this new, ethereal network: dot-dead.

Mike- "deadpool"? funny. Is there an afterlife for web 2.0 startups?

Posted by: Sid Steward [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 24, 2007 04:04 PM

In another, example of American innovation, there is a company called Vidstone that makes a product call the "VidStone Serenity Panel",a solar power LCD player attached to the gravestone that plays a video selected by the late recently deceased occupant of the grave below: http://vidstone.com/.

Can you imagine driving by a graveyard at night and seeing it light up like the computer department at Fry's or BestBuy? My only concern is that the gravestone market may be flooded by cheaper gravestones from China! Or, could gravestone carving be the next American profession to be outsourced to China or India? Hummm.....

Posted by: Linuxguru1968 [TypeKey Profile Page] at September 25, 2007 02:41 AM

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