[size=18px]MyDeathSpace.com memorializes youths[/size]
By Paul Sand, The News Tribune (Tacoma, Washington)
In a MySpace spinoff, a San Francisco man’s Web site honors the deceased through their MySpace pages. He gets a lot of hate mail. Think your MySpace profile will fade away after you die? Think again.
A new Web site, www.mydeathspace.com, collects the MySpace profiles of dead people and links them to news stories, obituaries or blog posts that detail their lives and deaths. Friends, family and those wishing to pay their respects can leave a note in a comments area.
“Only three things are certain in life,” the site’s homepage reads, “MySpace, Taxes, and Death. If you have a MySpace account, and you die, this is where you will end up.”
Profiles of 14-year-old Melissa Moore of Milton and three others who were fatally shot March 25 at a party in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood are featured among about 100 others on the site. A 30-year-old Renton woman who died of pneumonia last fall also is listed.
Mike Patterson, 25, of San Francisco, launched the site in December as “a cross between a news site and an online memorial to those who have died,” he wrote in an e-mail interview.
Patterson said he started the site, in part, “to show that teens aren’t invincible and that the consequences for not using their heads don’t just affect themselves, but friends and family members” as well.
He hatched the idea in a Web site’s forum, but made the switch to a dedicated site after moderators forced him to delete the photos and last names of the dead people he had spotlighted, he said.
In recent weeks, MyDeathSpace.com has logged between 7,000 and 15,000 unique hits a day, and has been featured on several high-profile Web sites. People send Patterson about 10 to 15 e-mails every day of deceased MySpace users, who he’ll eventually add to the site, he said.
Patterson said he hasn’t heard from MySpace about his site, but that they’ve twice removed his profile, which featured the Web site’s name.
A spokeswoman for MySpace did not return phone calls for comment.
Reader reaction to the Web site has been somewhat hostile, Patterson said. One profile of a dead MySpace user drew more than 100 “hate e-mails,” he said.
“I’ve received numerous threats,” Patterson said. “Some come in the form of curses, others say I have no soul, and others tell me (in graphic detail) how they will kill me and put me on my own Web site.”
Since the site contains advertising, some family members of the deceased have accused Patterson of profiting off the demise of others.
He said he’s made no money from running the site and that any advertising profits are put back into it. Still, some appreciate the Web site. Like “Gus,” who in a March 31 e-mail to Patterson wrote: “I have to say this is a very good tribute site. (I)t’s saddening to look through it but nice to see people actually care enough to leave comments for people and their families.”
“I don’t update the Web site to anger people,” Patterson said. “I update it to show how teens are passing away. I hope others can learn from it.” Mydeathspace.com
What it is: A Web site where you can read the MySpace profiles of dead people, plus news stories, obituaries or blog postings that provide insight into how they died. There’s also a section for comments.
Who’s on it: About 100 people, including 14-year-old Melissa Moore of Milton and three others who were killed March 25 in a shooting at a Seattle party.