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Where Are Your Obituaries Going? An Expose on Obituary Piracy


Obituary piracy is becoming an epidemic that is negatively affecting funeral homes.  The biggest problem associated with it is that everyone else is making money, and funeral homes are losing money.  It is becoming a growing problem that is getting worse and worse.

Who’s to Blame?

The main culprit of these horrendous acts are large third-party companies, many of which are backed by hedge funds.   Big businesses are taking your hard work and profiting off it.  Whether it is through copy and pasting, using data scraping programs, or through publishing deals with local newspapers; these companies are stealing your work.

In many cases what is happening is after a funeral home writes an obituary, they pay to have a local newspaper publish it.  Newspapers then pay a fee to have large third party sites to have it published on massive obituary sites.  The problem is that these sites dominate web searches through a practice called search engine optimization (SEO).  Through the strong SEO they have in place, they make sure that the obituary they are posting is one of the first to appear when you search for it.

The problem with this is that you may be publishing the same obituary with service information posted on your website.  Nobody is seeing your post though because the SEO put in place by larger companies.  The obituaries the company posts do not include service information for guest to know where to go.   Furthermore, if they leave a condolence on the obituary, your family will not see it.

Look at The Numbers

When you look on these sites, they advertise the amount of monthly web traffic they gather to try and lure in newspapers.

  •   40 million unique visitors each month
  •   Roughly 1500 newspaper partnerships
  •   E-Commerce is growing by 40% annually
  •   Valued at over 100 million dollars
  •   Americans spend $500 million on obituaries annually

If these numbers don’t get you mad, they should.  40 million unique visitors a month means a lot of money in online advertising revenue.  When a company receives that much web traffic they can charge high rates to allow advertises to post ads on their website.

The biggest issue with this problem is that everyone is sharing on the profits expect your funeral home.  E-Commerce on these sites is growing by 40% annually.  This means people are placing orders for flowers and condolence gifts on these sites opposed to yours.

The problem with this is that everyone involved in the partnership is profiting.  The flower shop selling them makes money, the third party website gets a percentage of the sale, and the newspapers get a share of the revenue generated by the third party site.  Everyone is making money except for you.

Because of the current system, third party companies’ valuations have soared to over 100 million dollars.  Obituary piracy which is stealing web traffic from your website and profiting off of it.  The goal of the National Obituary Registry is to take back control and share the profits with funeral homes and the people who care.  Big companies have bullied their way into this industry and only care about profits.  No one should be profiting off your work; The National Obituary Registry is the solution to this problem.

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