ForeverAlive Offers Virtual Tributes
The free service allows visitors to enter messages in one of seven categories: births, deaths, birthdays, special occasions, marriages, obituaries, memorials and pet tributes. Messages of 50 words or less are free while longer, biographical messages with pictures cost $34.95 each.
"There's a great flexibility in being able to enter a message from anywhere in the world. Maybe your friend or family member lives in another country and if there is, for example a death, and you are unable to attend the funeral, you still can leave a message honoring that person's life," said Bob Lipp, president.
The only requirement is to give an e-mail address which ForeverAlive promises "will not be used for solicitation purposes."
Banner ads from some 15 e-tailers are located only on the Gifts and Remembrances page of the site, and include links to the 1800Flowers home page, Borders, Disney Store online and the Sharper Image.
While it is possible to leave an unsympathetic message anonymously with a false e-mail address, Lipp says it is not a large concern. "This is really not the place to leave a nasty message about someone, as our universe is still very small," he said.
However the universe is expected to grow enough that over the next 12 months it should make $500,000 in profit.
"It's pretty much a self-running site, which does not require any labor costs or extensive programming. The only challenge is getting people to the site," Lipp said.
An advertising program is intended for the fall, consisting of banner ads on some major portals and search engines. No advertising budget has been set.