Funeral Industry News

The Obituary Debate Adds Another Layer: Tributes vs. Legacy vs. ObitTree vs. ObitsforLife

May 23, 2012

Ryan Thogmartin is the CEO of DISRUPT Media | Follower of Christ | Husband | Father | Entrepreneur | Host of #DISRUPTu! and #FUNERALnationtv | Lover of Skittles DISRUPT Media is a social media content agency that focuses on storytelling for funeral companies. We use real stories to build creative strategies that achieve actual business goals.

The Obituary Debate Adds Another Layer: Tributes vs. Legacy vs. ObitTree vs. ObitsforLife

The topic of verses has been a big one on over the past few weeks. We received great feedback from a number of experts in the profession who were glad that the discussion was brought to the forefront.

When writing on this topic we have stayed very neutral and fair. We reached out to and got no response. We reached out to and did a great video interview with Vice President John Heald. We also reached out to Frontrunner who has replied back with a great written response and they offer great food for thought.

In the decision to try and stay neutral in this discussion and let it be handled by the funeral directors who are actually the one’s creating the obituaries, we will say this, “We do not see any value, to the funeral home, or family, in the services they provide. So lets cut them out of the discussion all together. On the other hand we are huge supporters of driving the obit traffic back to the funeral home. So who is doing that better?”

With out, that leaves us with,, and We are leaving the debate up to you. Please watch and read the responses from Frontrunner and below:

Here is a link to the Tributes interview we did.

Response from Frontrunner President and CEO, Kevin Montroy (response published with permission):

“As you know, I am not a fan of ANY Online obituary scheme that drives traffic to a third party site. We have all witnessed the abuse of funeral homes obituaries in these highly commercialized schemes that are designed to put money in the pocket of the online listing – often at tremendous expense to the funeral home both financially and through reputation.  All are bogus in their return search results which is where both the funeral home and the public is duped. Unless their model changes significantly, none in my opinion have credibility.

About a year ago, FrontRunnner Professional decided to take a stand against this. We helped seek out legal opinions on the need (and in fact the urgency) for funeral homes to copyright ALL their obituaries and lay down the authorized or non-authorized republication or use of these obituaries. If every funeral home did this today, the problem would be solved overnight. But we went further, we created and These sites contain no advertising  – aiding funeral homes in honoring the dignity of the deceased, while instilling the honesty, integrity of our great profession and solidifying the trust families place in these firms. These obituary posting sites are “free” for any funeral home. They can simply create an account and once they are vetted to insure verification of the account they can upload as many current or past records to the sites. Many clients are still charging a $40 fee on their GLP to provide this service. This has not only allowed for a tremendous new revenue stream, but creates a powerful added service to the families they serve. Most importantly, visitors can find the obituary they are looking for and are instantly taken directly to the funeral homes website where condolences and other tributes can be offered and shared. These listing are permanent. As an added bonus, the obituary posted on the websites of FrontRunner users is instantly published to and saving time and money.  FrontRunner will also launch in a few months to drive the SEO rankings of users even higher.

To further counter the debate of Legacy vs. Tributes, the reality is, when an obituary is published on or,in as little as 20 minutes, the deceased’s obituary is indexed and ranked #1 on Google – ahead of or This was accomplished through working closely with Google, and in our humble opinion is the real single location where obits should be found, at it is used by hundreds of millions of people everyday. This model is what truly helps our families and our funeral homes.”


Ok, there you have it. So in your (the funeral director) opinion who’s providing the most value to the funeral homes, families, and profession?