Frequently Asked Questions

General FAQ

What is Obituary Piracy?

Obituary piracy is the act of stealing, copying, rebroadcasting or reusing obituaries for the purpose of generating profits or directing traffic to a particular website, or both. Obituaries are a valuable source of online traffic for funeral homes, which is why obituary piracy is often committed to take advantage of the data or traffic associated with a particular record. This is where search engine optimization is an important part of the comprehensive strategies that the National Obituary Registry utilizes to help funeral homes.

What is Search Engine Optimization?

Search engines, now more than ever, are the primary source for information. On a daily basis, consumers and businesses alike turn to search engines for all of their needs, whether it is looking for a gift, getting directions or doing research. Search engines like Google truly keep the world connected and are designed to provide only the most timely and relevant information for every search. As a result of this, where businesses rank for certain queries is of paramount importance. Search engine optimization (SEO) is the science of ranking on search engines and can be extremely beneficial to any business. That being said, SEO serves as an especially valuable tool for local businesses that compete over small service areas, just like funeral homes.

How do National Obituary Registry and ObitTree work together?

National Obituary Registry is an organization dedicated to uniting funeral professionals with the collective goal of taking back control of the funeral industry. ObitTree is the engine that drives that effort by providing ample opportunities for funeral homes to connect with one another and with families. In short, National Obituary Registry is a community of funeral homes and ObitTree is the consumer facing hub for all information.

How is ObitTree different from other obituary posting engines?

Current obituary posting engines work with local newspapers to create an obituary online, financially gaining from ordering flowers and more. Others copy and paste the obituaries directly from the funeral home site. In both of these scenarios, the funeral home receives nothing back and leaves their data at risk. ObitTree helps funeral homes regain this lost revenue and connect with more families, while providing a very positive message about funeral service. There is no charge to post and with a buy-in of funeral service, the traffic will quickly surpass any obituary posting website that takes funeral homes obituaries for their own self-gain.

Why were National Obituary Registry and ObitTree developed?

We are deeply concerned about the potential damage that can come from third-party obituary posting sites attempting to use funeral homes' obituaries for their own self gain. We know large corporations have invested themselves in controlling the traffic going to these sites. We are missing a tremendous opportunity to utilize obituaries for the purpose of serving families and improving the funeral industry as whole. In the wrong hands, armed with this traffic and data, the situation could spiral out of control lead to the collapse of traditional funeral homes. This situation could look much like big box stores replacing family businesses across North America. The National Obituary Registry and ObitTree are were developed to give funeral homes a fighting chance, by coming together in a collective effort to take back control of the death care industry.

ObitTree FAQ

How does ObitTee work?

ObitTree is a multi-faceted solution to a great need in the death care industry. ObitTree provides funeral homes with an online channel to drive more traffic to their obituaries, funeral home website and help regain search engine authority. Simultaneously, ObitTree serves as a consumer hub that provides families with a constant supply of funeral planning services, grief & healing resources and the latest in death care news and trends. By posting your death records to ObitTree you are not only supplying families with an enhanced online memorial experience, you will be helping them make informed funeral service decisions.

How does ObitTree help funeral homes?

ObitTree helps funeral homes, first and foremost, by connecting them with families at various crucial stages of the funeral process. Whether a family is looking to pre-plan for a funeral, raise money for death care expenses or deal with grief after losing a loved one, ObitTree helps funeral homes boost their offerings and ability to help these families. Whether direct or indirect, ObitTree drives traffic to funeral homes and maximizes their online presence. This grows funeral businesses and protects them from online threats.

Does ObitTree benefit consumers?

Absolutely. ObitTree was designed with consumers in mind. Not only does ObitTree host obituaries, it also helps families navigate the challenge of losing a loved one. Through our service, families will be able to make informed death care decisions. In addition, they will be able to understand each step of the funeral process from planning, to the service and long after funeral.

How do we know that ObitTree will not sell out to a large Corporation?

The individuals behind ObitTree have deep roots in funeral service, a passion to help the funeral profession and have been providing technology to funeral homes for over 20 years. If we were ever approached by a company that shares the same passion to help our profession and has the deeper pockets than us to do this better, we certainly would talk to them in the interest of making this initiative successful. That said, we developed the National Obituary Registry and ObitTree to help funeral professionals take back control, first and foremost. If we ever failed to live up to that, then funeral professionals would still be in control.

National Obituary Registry FAQ

What is the National Obituary Registry?

National Obituary Registry, like ObitTree, is an initiative that has been developed after a thorough examination of the funeral industry. These initiatives, in tandem, will help the funeral industry prevent outside opportunists from profiting off of online obituaries and data. The National Obituary Registry provides funeral homes with the means to take back control of their obituaries, online traffic and helps them to not only protect the families they serve, but the integrity of the entire industry as well.

Why is it important to upload obituaries to the National Obituary Registry before submitting them to the newspaper?

Uploading the obituary to National Obituary Registry first allows us to take the necessary steps to help you rank higher as authority of your own death records. With hundreds of companies scraping obituaries for their own self gain, this process is critical if funeral service is going to succeed in taking back control. This is a simple two step process with your completed obituary - Copy. Paste.

How do I input my obituaries on National Obituary Registry?

Inputting obituaries into National Obituary Registry is efficient, easy and requires that information is only added once. When an obituary is added from your dashboard, it immediately gets pushed to ObitTree, where families can access all of the features including the Heartfelt Sympathies Store, A Helping Hand, and more.

If I have my own website or management system, can my obituaries be automatically loaded onto the National Obituary Registry Site?

National Obituary Registry has developed an API connector that any vendor can add to their client's system to allow the seamless push of their obituaries to the National Obituary Registry site.

Will there be a charge to keep the record online?

There is no charge to post your obituaries on the National Obituary Registry and ObitTree. For those website and management vendors who hook up the API for their clients, the ObitTree site mirrors all interaction and writes back to the funeral home website.

How do I collect my profits from the National Obituary Registry?

This is a simple process that can be done from your National Obituary Registry account dashboard. Simply navigate to your dashboard and access your OneAccount to collect the profits your funeral home has earned through participating in this initiative.

How do I download condolences messages left on National Obituary Registry?

All condolences are captured and forwarded to the funeral home. Downloading condolences messages left on National Obituary Registry simply requires that you login, access your obituary and click to export, which will provide you with all material and information pertaining to that particular obit in an easy-to-use format.

Will my technology provider automatically send my obituaries to National Obituary Registry and ObitTree?

This is an industry wide initiative and we'd love to connect with technology providers. Simply have your technology provider contact us at info@nationalobituaryregistry.com

Funeral Home FAQ

How does obituary piracy impact my funeral home?

Obituary piracy is extremely damaging to your funeral home, your online presence and the overall health of the death care industry. The act of pirating obituaries takes families away from your funeral home website, where they belong, and re-directs them to another website looking simply to capitalize on traffic and data profits. When funeral homes lose online traffic, revenue and search engine authority to opportunists, everyone suffers.

How does obituary piracy impact the families I serve?

Obituaries are a valuable source of information and comfort for families who have experienced the loss of someone they love. Obituaries are a funeral home's way of notifying the community of a death, providing service details and an avenue for which families can direct their gestures of sympathy and condolences to the family. When this information is stolen, rebroadcast or used for another profit-first purpose, families and funeral homes are the ones who get caught in the mix.

Will I be losing traffic to my funeral home website?

Your funeral home is already losing significant traffic to third-party aggregators and we are here to turn that around. Given the mandate of National Obituary Registry and ObitTree, we'll use that traffic and repurpose it to return profits to your funeral home and provide new revenue sharing opportunities that are simply unavailable with their existing website.Your funeral home will benefit greatly by your own website and the ObitTree solution, and although some of the traffic will be staying on ObitTree.com, the benefits will come straight back to your funeral home.

Why is it so important to have some of the traffic remain on ObitTree?

In order to help funeral homes capture more pre-need and at-need leads, funeral funding campaigns, as well as benefit financially from the dignified advertising that will be on the site, we need that traffic to interact on ObitTree.com in order to ensure that funeral home's obituaries are ranking higher.

Can we submit our own "The Good Funeral" stories to be posted on the ObitTree site?

Absolutely. This section was built in to help drive the positive message about funeral service. We encourage all funeral homes to post the great funerals they have conducted. Our team will write it, too! Submit your stories of great funerals here.

We have our own flower shop, so can the flower orders be sent to us?

We can set your flower shop as the fulfilling florist on all orders from your site as long as your flower shop are part of the FTD, Teleflora, or Bloomnet networks. We cannot turn off the order flowers feature because it helps generate the funds that help to offset the tremendous costs in providing this aggressive online strategy to help all funeral homes.

How do I know if my obituaries are currently being used somewhere other than my website online?

The best way to find out is by putting yourself in the shoes of consumers and the families you serve. Google the name of a deceased person you have served (I.E. Mary Smith, obituary, New York City) and see where your funeral home or the online memorial tribute page ranks. Any result that comes up above your funeral home's page is potentially a third-party or corporate entity who has repurposed or used your obituary for their own benefit.

Vendor FAQ

Are there any website vendors currently running with the API?

We were fortunate to have FrontRunner not only help fund us, but they also agreed to be the first website / management software company to be completely integrated with ObitTree. We anticipate that many other vendors will want to assist their clients and hook up the API to their client's systems.

Why did you not speak to us first?

Please appreciate that an initiative of this magnitude required confidentially right up to launch. We simply could not afford to have the strategy of this in the hands of those who might chose to try and undermine the initiative. We will be getting aggressive after launch in reaching out to build partnerships to drive the success of this program, and that means you.

Is Obittree taking away traffic from our clients?

We all need to remind ourselves that the efforts of third-party opportunists result in a very high percentage of traffic being redirected away from funeral homes today, with a complete loss of online revenues to both the funeral home and the technology vendor. ObitTree is out to right a lot of wrongs. The power of building a high-traffic site to accomplish this eclipses what any single funeral home can do on their own. This model allows funeral service across the board to benefit from a single powerful strategy. We can handle the visitor traffic with obituaries, and the funeral home can focus their efforts on capturing visitor traffic to promote all the great things they do.

What does the API allow us to do?

The API will vary depending on the specific vendor. For the most part, it will allow the seamless mirroring back and forth of all condolences and transactions on the ObitTree site to instantly populate on the funeral home's site. From there, we will allow vendors to use their own online flower ordering process and sympathy store offering. However, in the case of online flower ordering, many vendors may find the built-in ObitTree flower ordering system to be far more efficient and beneficial.

Is there an opportunity for non-obit posting vendors to be involved?

We will review this on a case by case basis. It is not the intent of ObitTree to involve third-party vendors that are only looking for a conduit to sell their products. Our main focus is to support those technology vendors that currently capture their client's obituaries and provide a seamless, automated way they can publish these obituaries to the National Obituary Registry which will in turn instantly post on the ObitTree site.

We sell Tribute DVD's today through client sites. How do we still do this through ObitTree?

We have created a new system that will help engage visitors on the ObitTree site who would like to purchase a memorial DVD of the deceased. In these cases, we will look at a fair revenue split for any area where the technology vendor may be missing out on revenue important to supporting their business model.

Association FAQ

How can Associations get involved?

We need all Associations to understand that one of the main mandates of this initiative is to help provide support and material to leverage this single portal to become a channel for promoting the positive aspects of funeral service. We believe this is paramount to any Association's mission. We have also provided a financial incentive to get Associations behind getting all of their members to register and support the National Obituary Registry. Contact us to request a downloadable information package for Associations.

What is the advantage for an Association?

Associations at the national, state, provincial and regional level will all benefit from the National Obituary Registry and ObitTree Initiative. At the forefront, these Associations will benefit through a comprehensive and sustained positive message about funeral service that will show their members in the best light. In addition, this initiative will help funeral homes use newfound revenue opportunities to pay for membership dues as opposed to cancelling them due to declining revenues, which in turn helps the profession as a whole.

What happens if our member is also a member of other Associations?

It is not uncommon for funeral homes to belong to their national Association, their state or provincial associations and their regional associations. Our process will allow the funeral home to select one from each category, whether they are an existing member or not. We believe the more we support associations, the more they will be able to help the profession as a whole.

How do you recommend we reach out to our members?

Most, if not all Associations have a monthly newsletter they send out, in addition to emails that they can broadcast to all firms. We have created a marketing kit that any Association can use in an effort to rally all funeral homes to come together to help make this initiative a success and put funeral service back in control of our profession. Please contact us to have an information kit sent out to you.

What are the revenue streams you spoke of?

We wanted to avoid having to add another layer of revenue share from ObitTree, as these revenues are critical to helping funeral professionals invest in their businesses. As such, we have developed a revenue sharing program using profits from Honoring a Life, a worldwide Memorial Tree Planting initiative, to help fund Associations and their ongoing efforts to provide educational programs and foster professionalism within funeral service.

Newspaper FAQ

Will there be an opportunity for Newspapers to be involved?

Yes. We have developed a very advanced system that Newspapers can plug into.

What is the cost to uses this newspaper partnership program?

In an effort to help realign local funeral home with local newspapers, we are providing this software at no-charge. The National Obituary Registry and ObitTree will work with the Newspaper's technology division and collaborate on everything needed for the set-up and training.

If we are under a contract with another obituary posting service, can we still be a part of this?

Unfortunately many third-parties have introduced contracts in an effort to hinder the newspaper's ability to do anything different. You will need to consult your legal team to ascertain what your options are. We anticipate that many newspapers will simply add the ObitTree posting widget to their site until such a time that their contract is up.

We are a newspaper who has our own obituary posting engine, can we still be involved?

Yes. We believe that spending few minutes on the phone with our team will help open your eyes to the tremendous benefits that our model provides over what you currently have today. Notwithstanding the inherent benefits of working under a model that respects the relationship between the local funeral homes and the local newspaper, this comprehensive initiative can help solve the plight of any newspaper's future.

What if we set a policy that we will only accept notices from families?

We have heard of some newspapers suggesting this. Unfortunately, it only shows how disconnected they are from understanding the role of the funeral home and the importance of the timing of those notices for the support to the family. In our opinion, this is a highly misguided approach to something that has been designed to protect the best interests of the funeral home and the newspaper. By working together, we can achieve more than working against each other.

What changes with the Community Support Network if we sign onboard?

One of the biggest advantages to working with the local funeral home through their National Obituary and ObitTree initiative is the advent of the Community Support Network whereby an ObitTree widget will be available to every business within the community to post on their local website. This single feature allows local businesses to show their support to their customers and their families during a time of loss. These local businesses all rely on the local newspaper to help promote their businesses as well. If the local newspaper signs up to the National Obituary Registry and ObitTree initiative with the new Newspaper listing software, all of the obituary links contained on all business sites will be redirected to the newspaper listing, providing an unprecedented level of new traffic and new opportunities that come with it. The newspaper and the local funeral homes will share in this together providing a win for everyone involved, as it should have from the beginning.

Will funeral homes have the ability to post life stories on ObitTree without the newspaper?

We believe that the future of the newspaper will continue to move to an online digital version. We will work closely with the partnered newspaper to develop a "digital posting" only option for funeral homes and their families.

What other advantages will we have as the Partnered Newspaper?

Under the partnered newspaper model, the biggest advantage we see is the opportunity for the newspaper to not only rebuild the relationship with the local funeral homes and businesses, but look to provide new online services to their communities in the new digital world.We are trying to put the community back in the community newspaper.

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