Yahoo Ending: More Than A Digital Afterlife Service

Yahoo Ending WebsiteYahoo Japan recently launched a new service, Yahoo Ending, which on the surface appears to be their own version of Google’s Inactive Account Manager. On second look, the Ending service is much more.

The basic service, free to all Yahoo Japan users, allows users to deactivate their Yahoo Japan accounts upon death. The service will also delete files from Yahoo Box accounts and cancel subscriptions using Yahoo Wallet. In accordance with Yahoo’s stance on accounts after death, there is not an option to share files with your family, as with Google’s solution.

Yahoo Ending is also a posthumous email system and online memorial. For a small fee, Yahoo will send a pre-written email to to 200 addresses. For the online memorial component, Yahoo Ending will open an online bulletin board for condolences.

Yahoo Ending doesn’t stop with your digital assets. An additional service offers funeral planning. The Washington Post reports:

In conjunction with Kamakura Shinsho, a funeral services company, it offers advice on how to write a will, plan a funeral and even find a grave. A basic package offered through Yahoo Japan costs about $4,500, including the funeral, embalming and cremation, plus a wake for 30 people. Feeding guests at the wake costs an extra $30 per person, and for an additional $1,500 you can get a monk to perform the funeral.

Unlike Google’s Inactive Account Manager, which is activated by a period of inactivity, Yahoo Ending is activated first by notification from a family member, but emails are not delivered until Yahoo receives a death certificate.

Our Take

Yahoo Endings is certainly a step in the right direction, yet it’s missing one key component: choice. With respect to their Yahoo content, a user does not have the option to pass it on to their heirs, as deletion is the only option. This stops a step short of Google’s Inactive Account Manager, where users have more choice in what happens to their data. The funeral planning aspects are, on the other hand, quite interesting and could be a model for death care in the future.

    About Evan Carroll

    Evan Carroll is an author, speaker and UX strategist who works to make digital experiences more personal, more emotional and more effective. A leader in the developing digital legacy and personal archiving arena, Evan is author and co-founder at The Digital Beyond and co-author of the book, Your Digital Afterlife: When Facebook, Flickr and Twitter Are Your Estate, What's Your Legacy?. Evan has appeared in numerous media outlets including The New York Times, NPR’s Fresh AirObit magazine, NPR’s Here and Now, Fox News, CNN and The Atlantic. A frequent speaker on both marketing and digital legacy, Evan has presented to audiences at SXSW Interactive (2010-2012, 2014), the Library of Congress, and the Internet Archive, among others. Evan holds BS and MS degrees in Information Science from UNC-Chapel Hill’s School of Information and Library Science. He can be contacted by emailing or via Twitter @evancarroll.  Evan's personal site is www.evancarroll.net.

    One Response to Yahoo Ending: More Than A Digital Afterlife Service

    1. vin July 30, 2014 at 4:56 am #

      Heavenote.com does the same, in Japan and the rest of world and it’s free !

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