While it’s not entirely new to create online memorials for loved ones who have passed away, I’m just starting to realize that there are a number of websites out there dedicated to helping people create these sites, or which gather information from people who have passed away.
Gone Too Soon is a site in the UK that allows you to create a virtual tribute to someone and lets others comment and express their condolences. The site is a not-for-profit which aims at keeping their services free for all to use. Virtual Memorials is another such site, although this one reaches users all over the world. In a similar vein, mydeathspace.com is a site that is not technically associated with myspace.com, but which gathers information from people with myspace accounts who have passed away (it also includes information on account holders who have been involved or are responsible for someone else’s death). I guess the main difference between the first two sites, and this last one, is that friends and family creates sites in the first two, while mydeathspace just aggregates information that is in the public sphere. And while the Goon Too Site and Virtual Memories make every effort to keep their sites friendly, there have been a number of reported cases on mydeathspace of distasteful comments, always with the “rationalization” that in the USA freedom of expression should be paramount to everything else.
You can read more about these sites and the phenomenon in general from an article in the Guardian.