Yahoo Japan offers help with death; Yahoo’s US investors look for signs of life in today’s earnings report

It’s old news that the Internet has become an essential part of daily life. But now Yahoo Japan is offering to help people prepare for their eventual death online.

A new service called “Yahoo! Ending” promises to delete personal data from online accounts, send out a digital farewell message to friends and even host a memorial web page where people can leave condolences – once the service has confirmed that a subscriber has died.

That’s according to a report in the Wall Street Journal, which said the service will also help people plan their funerals and even compose their wills. (We checked out the Yahoo Japan site, but the English-language version provided by Google Translate left us confused about some details.)

This isn’t actually a new idea: We’ve reported previously on smaller companies that offer this kind of service. But it’s the first time we’ve heard of a comprehensive death package offered by a large Internet company. Yahoo Japan is a joint venture between Sunnyvale-based Yahoo and the Japanese giant SoftBank.

Meanwhile, the U.S.-based Yahoo reports earnings Tuesday, and the results are likely to depend heavily on another of the company’s Asian ventures. CEO Marissa Mayer has been working to turn around Yahoo’s advertising business, but the stock is mostly buoyed by the performance of Alibaba, the Chinese Internet company in which Yahoo holds a substantial stake.

Yahoo has recently announced some big initiatives to bring new video content to its users, including a live concert series and, as our Mike Murphy reported recently,  the next season of the cult-favorite TV show Community.

Analysts say that may not be enough. As Forrester’s James McQuivey said in a recent emailed statement, Yahoo’s efforts “have so far yielded little fruit.” He added:

“Yahoo!’s default response to the need to participate in more minutes of consumers’ lives has been to shovel more content including more ads — at them, including news content, professional video content, even TV shows the company will produce hoping to join Netflix in its original content successes.”

Instead of just content, Yahoo needs to compete more directly with Google and Apple in delivering a variety of Internet services, including connected-home and health-related products, Mcquivey suggested.

The research firm eMarketer projected Tuesday that Yahoo’s global ad revenue will increase slightly this year. But eMarketer also said Yahoo will likely lose market share to Microsoft – which is on track to pass Yahoo and become the world’s third-largest seller of digital ads, after Google and Facebook.

(Screen image from Yahoo Endings web site)


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  • Nam

    Our digital footprint is increasing everyday and its not limited to the Yahoos or googles or facebooks of the online world but includes all and many more accounts. All our financial and emotional lives have gone online right from bank accounts, insurance policies, Utilities bills to virtual currencies. You can find out more about your digital footprint here

    This platform is more flexible, it does everything that Yahoo Ending does and it even has more categories of data you can store.