Is there life after death? There is on the Internet, where your cyberself —email inboxes and online accounts— will live on after you’ve passed away.
But now Yahoo is trying to help users in Japan cope with this inevitability by introducing “Yahoo Ending” a service that will bring closure to your family — and your email accounts.
The service deactivates users’ Yahoo accounts after they die.
It can also delete personal documents, photos and videos from customers’ Yahoo Box online storage accounts. They’ll also cancel any remaining subscriptions you have linked to your Yahoo Wallet.
Users can prepare a final farewell email that Yahoo will send posthumously to up to 200 pre-selected addresses. The company will also open a “memorial space” bulletin board where people can leave condolence messages. Think “cyber-funeral.”
So how does Yahoo Japan determine that a user has died? Simple. When users register for the service they receive a booking number that they share with a trusted individual.
When the person dies, their trusted contact sends the booking number to Yahoo Ending, which handles the final cyber arrangements. As a final step, the funeral home sends the cremation permit to Yahoo, informing the company to send out the farewell emails and delete old files.
Japan is considered a place to launch this new service; more than a quarter of its population is 65 or older. So what’s the cost of killing off your cyberself?
Yahoo Ending charges $1.80 a month for the service, which could be cheap or expensive depending on how long you live — and how badly you want to scrub your files after you die.