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Tributes.com vs Legacy.com: Who is Providing the Value?

 In a recent article I shared my true dislike for Legacy.com and how I really see absolutely no value for funeral homes in the services they provide. Legacy.com is grabbing the obit traffic and capitalizing on it, and funeral homes are letting it happen without any pushback. Oh, and we always forget to mention how Batesville has crawled into bed with Legacy.com and for some reason no one seems to have an issue with that. Legacy.com is grabbing user’s info and sending them third party content which in some cases is Bateville pre-need info. Isn’t Batesville suppose to be on the side of the funeral home?

Often Tributes.com gets thrown into the same boat as Legacy.com and I have even put them in that boat a few times myself, that was until I had multiple conversations with Tributes.com executives who quickly showed me value in the services they provide for funeral homes. Do they get it all right? No, but they are developing services that allow them to partner with funeral homes, not hinder them.
Disclaimer: This is not an advertisement for Tributes.com.This interview was done in response to the firestorm of comments generated from last weeks Legacy.com article. We extended the same invitation for interview to Legacy.com. No reply has been received.
In this video you get to hear from Tributes.com‘s VP, John Heald about the concerns funeral directors voiced in the comments from last weeks article. John is open nd answers all questions openly and encourages more funeral home reach out with their concerns.
Please watch the interview and let us know how you feel in the comments below.

Ryan Thogmartin

CEO at DISRUPT Media and ConnectingDirector.com
Ryan Thogmartin is the Owner and CEO of DISRUPT Media. DISRUPT Media is a full service social media agency specializing in social media strategy, management and reporting for funeral companies. DISRUPT Media is the creator of the FUNERAL Social Design Process which is the only full service social media strategy program crafted specifically for the funeral profession.

Go to http://funeralsocial.com to find out more about the services we offer. Our clients who are apart of our FUNERAL Social Design Process are seeing an increase in post reach and engagement of over 300%.

Ryan is also the founder of ConnectingDirectors.com. ConnectingDirectors.com is the leading online daily publication for funeral professionals with a reader base of over 45,000 of the most elite and forward-thinking professionals in the profession. With ConnectingDirectors.com Ryan has created a global community through an online platform allowing funeral professionals to Stay Current. Stay Informed and Stay Elite.

  • Try obitsforlife.com it makes more sence for the director and the families.

    • Fslprofessional

      The only problem with this site, is that it is owned by Matthews and Frontrunner.  They promote the local newspaper and legacy.com.  While the local newspaper is the traditional way most people get obits, there are more and more newspapers limiting home delivery and cutting back on daily publication. Lots of lookalikes.
      obitsforlife.com had 118,964 people visits in the month of March
      tributes.com had 1,560,237 people visits in the month of March
      6,947.851 page views in the month of March

      While I have not vested interest in tributes.com, I do track them, as well as our funeral home sites for activity.  I can prove the vast difference of before and after. They have done everything they promised and MORE!!!  Legacy still has the embedded online fee that our families cannot opt out of.  

      • It is unfortunate on just how poor and misleading the information is
        regarding this matter and how it seems to be largely perpetuated by supporters
        or investors in Tributes.com

        First – Neither ObitsForLife or FrontRunner is owned by Matthews. Matthews
        is a distributor of FrontRunner Solutions and has negotiated special features
        and pricing for their valued customers.  ObitsforLife.com
        was developed by FrontRunner Professional for its valued customers and to
        help funeral service at large and the families they serve.  All obituaries
        entered into ObitsForLife, belong to the funeral home entering them and as such
        ALL visits yield a REAL result with full service details which takes the
        visitor directly back to the funeral homes website.

        Secondly – FrontRunner neither supports or condones the “current” Legacy or
        Tributes model.  In fact, we strongly encourage all funeral homes to
        claim copyright protection on all of their obituaries with strict guidelines on
        how the copy can be reproduced or redistributed. We believe that if every
        funeral home took this action, it would put an end to this whole problem and
        allow funeral professionals to take back control of their obits.

        The fact is, most of these online obituary schemes populate their listings
        largely through government purchased social security records of fist name /
        last name of the deceased, the listings of famous dead people, electronically
        scraped or manually entered from published obituaries, ironically from the
        hundreds of print newspapers they advocate are all going out of business to
        support their model. In every case, there is a pitch for the public to
        financially support a record that may only have a first and last name. The
        traffic has little to no value to funeral homes or the public and the
        questionable practices only helps tarnish the reputation of our profession as a
        whole by the public’s perception that all funeral homes are behind it. That’s
        why FrontRunner is so passionate about trying to put an end to it and why we
        built ObitsForLife the way we did.  


        We do not support the idea of trying to drive a wedge between the long
        standing, historic partnership funeral homes have with their local newspapers.
        Contrary to stand Tributes advocates – local newspapers are not going out of
        business. Like so many other companies, many are simply moving towards a
        complete online presence that not only includes the high demand for local
        community events and news, but also the localized obituaries of those in their
        communities. That’s where the public have, and will continue to go in the

        As for site traffic statistics, what is being mislead is that traffic
        to ObitsForLife is much lower because all the funeral homes using the
        FrontRunner Book of Memories online tribute feature have a robust solution that
        most visitors go directly through the funeral home website as a result of local
        advertising and reputation the funeral home has for providing a higher standard
        of service. If  Fslprofessional looked past ObitsForLife they would learn
        that in fact, FrontRunners traffic to these individual Book of Memories records
        averages over 14.3 million unique REAL visitors per month collectively from all
        of the funeral homes using the solution.  We believe this number speaks
        volumes of where the real traffic needs to be.  

        Frontrunner prides itself on developing solutions with the same founding
        principles of the funeral home we serve – that being on honesty, integrity and
        trust and will continue doing everything in our power to help our great

        • Progressivefuneraldirector

          Seems to me that you are threatened by Tributes.com.  It doesn’t necessarily make you look better by bashing ‘other’ companies and innovators in funeral service.

          • Lgervais

            I get the impression that frontrunner was clarifying how and why they are different, not bashing or threatened as you have said. Guess it comes down to perspective. But their advice on claiming copyright protection is certainly one worth considering since the funeral home took the time to create the content and have it proofed by the family and then sent to the newspaper. Their point of the ownership of the obituary in obitsforlife remaining with the funeral home should be an important issue to consider.

  • It’s interesting to note that if you ever want to leave Tributes.com, since all the obituaries are hosted on their site and not on your funeral home’s website, you have two options: 
    1) Lose all your past obituaries
    2) Compete against Tributes.com for your own obituary traffic!

    • John Heald

      Good question,

      We will always return obituary data to a customer if they request it for ANY reason. 

      • Thanks for the response, John. Do you then remove the obituaries from being listed on your site?

    • Fslprofessional

      You completely astonish us with information that is incorrect.  Where is your source?  Or are you just making up more since you obviously do not have a clue?  Are you a Batesville Rep? Work for legacy.com? work for Trappist Urns?  Why would you not find out facts?  If you did, you could speak about what you know, rather than what you think you know.  I have complete control of my obits.  

  • S.P.

    Great article John!  Tributes.com is a wonderful partner in funeral service.  I have had the opportunity to work with them for the past three years as a Funeral Director and they have a great product and service to offer to the families and firm.  The Eternal Tribute they offer is amazing and the families love to be able to personalize the obituary and make adjustments 24 hours a day. 

  • InformedFuneralDirector

    John, I listened to your entire video. Thank you for doing that. Now I do have some additional questions for you. First, I’m aware that you  charge $25 to the funeral home to post an obituary to their “own funeral home website”, can you explain exactly what that fee is and what the benefits are to the funeral home? Also, I’m aware you have some other fees, or “graduated” fees based on what you might want for the tribute itself. I’d love for you to state all of your fees on this site for everyone to clearly see what you are charging, how much, and the value it brings to the funeral home.

    • InformedFuneralDirector

       I’m still waiting for an answer on this question as well.

    • John Heald

      We do not charge for obit
      hosting on the FH website or FB but instead charge a per record wholesale rate
      to partner homes that is determined by the type of obit they build in the
      database. All paid obits receive full distribution across Tributes.com, the
      entirety of our media network (100+ partners strong – no walled gardens) and
      take full advantage of our SEO and social networking features. We encourage our
      partners to sell their obits at a higher retail rate so that they become a
      revenue stream (profit vs. cost center) for the funeral home along w/ ecommerce
      extensions thus making our fees in practicality a rev share vs. an expense.

  • InformedFuneralDirector

    John, I also question how much Tributes.com really cares about pushing traffic back to the funeral home website? Let me give you an example. First, I went directly to tributes.com to lookup an obit. I searched for “Edward T. Doyne”, which was an obit that was posted by one of your “funeral home partners”, Belle Hennessy Funeral Homes. If I were a user on google and searched for “Edward T. Doyne Obituary”, I find that Tributes.com is the one that pops up. Therefore, I visit your site, look at the obit, and never get “pushed” back to the funeral home website. I personally believe, if you cared about pushing traffic back to the funeral home website, you might only list 2-3 sentences of the obit, then have a referring link back to the funeral home website to read the rest of the obit. I’d like to get your feedback on this and know why you don’t do this?

  • David

    I am very confused why you are so against Legacy.com.  I have used their services for many years.  I present to every family what was posted about their loved one.  I have never heard any negative feedback.  The work that legacy.com is wonderful.  I am sure some of these other companies are ok too.  I see no value of bashing a company that only provides comfort to the grieving families.

  • I_Know_SEO

    I didn’t learn that much new information from John’s video interview.  It still remains that they are structured to host your obits on THEIR domain, not yours. 

    My research tools show that their funeral home partners are getting any links back to their site that Google counts as an inbound link.  To me, that shows that they aware of the SEO value they gain and not interested in sharing it back with the funeral home partner.   [Not all links to your website are of SEO value — they have to be coded in such a way that Google crawlers will follow them and attribute SEO “juice” to your website.]

    This continues to be the main disadvantage to weigh against other advantages.  It’s clear that there are some advantages with their product, but each funeral home should be fully aware of what they are giving up when having Tributes host their obituaries and rank ahead in Search Engine results.

    • I_Know_SEO

       oops, meant to say “funeral home partners are NOT getting any links back ….”

  • InformedFuneralDirector

    Ryan, when are you going to do a follow up interview to ask some of these additional questions?

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