for 10 December 1996. Updated every TUESDAY.

BIG IDEA 1800FLOWERS.com meets Forest Lawn
Mortuaries... on the web!
25 WORDS <= Comfort the grieving - especially those
you barely know - with the customization
and promptness you expect from
intelligent agents. Death is indiscreet -
your condolences shouldn't be.
HARD SELL Tired of finding out months late that an
idol, distant relative, or reclusive
coworker has passed on? Condolences.com
uses partnerships with local papers and
hot programming ventures to make
embarrassing Sympathy Delay a thing of
the past. You are instantly notified via
email (or pager for high-end - likely
elderly - PCS subscribers) and can begin
the process of selecting an appropriate
bouquet and card - or let Condolences.com
pick them for you. Unlike established
flower delivery services, Condolences.com
quickly and proactively handles those
awkward occasions when contact with next
of kin or acquaintance with the deceased
is absent.
Baby Boomers are characterized by two
growing trends: their increasing
acceptance of the Internet and their
knowledge of people who will die soon.
Using the former to merchandise the
latter exploits the popularity of
"postcard applications" and the
much-hyped promise of the Internet to
substitute for meaningful face-to-face
contact. But unlike the cheesy crassness
or disturbing unpleasantness of the
B-grade spam currently available,
Condolences.com sends real flowers to
real people... discreetly.
A user profile guides an intelligent agent
in scanning obituaries from across the
nation. As soon as the death notice hits
the copy desk, be the deceased a rarely
seen hometown friend, old coworker, or a
celebrity the user admires, our system
begins collating relevant data and
selects a bouquet using Perl scripts
optimized for their sense of tact.
OVERHEAD P-TRAK and similar databases provide most
of the necessary data the service needs.
The user supplies as much family
information as he can; then robots and
public records do the rest. The user can,
of course, configure the system to locate
almost anyone and trail him/her to their
demise. Hires from Microsoft's Office
division will program wizards to compose
natural-sounding sympathy notes.
After establishing the brand's reputation
for finesse, 2.0 will expand to handle
one-night stands. Agents will have to be
ramped up to handle facial descriptions,
since names usually will be unavailable.

[Pitch Archive]

courtesy of
Screed Racer