Eons Spins Off Obits, But Insists Company is Alive and Well as It Unveils Big Redesign
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it easier for people to search groups and find people they know, among other things.
I toured the beta site a few times over the last few days. I’m hardly an expert, but the site clearly seems more geared toward people and user groups—and interaction between people. I give Eons credit for a very clean, friendly design that is both different and familiar. Having lived through redesigns before, I’d offer a general rule of thumb: the bigger the redesign, the more desperate the company. I’d term Eons’ overhaul extensive, but not desperate.
In a separate announcement also released today, Eons noted it had secured $4.3 million in funding to establish Tributes.com as “the leading online destination for timely obituary news and lasting tributes celebrating loved ones’ lives.” Tributes says it plans to partner with funeral homes and act as a bridge between them and consumers searching for funerary services (sounds like it will sell funeral home advertisements to me). The site will also offer online community support for grieving family members, and will house an extensive obituary database stretching back to the early 1900s. The business will be, in effect, a subsidiary of the umbrella firm Eons Inc. (which is also the parent of Eons.com, the baby boomer site) and is subletting space from its parent in the Charlestown Navy Yard where Eons is based. Taylor will serve as its chairman, and former Eons product and marketing executive Elaine Haney will become its president.
What next for Eons itself? Reiterating what Taylor told me recently, Natansohn says that despite dropping its over-50 limit, Eons will not change its focus. “We are still for boomers and beyond,” she says. The redesign, she adds, “is really the full reflection of Eons’ commitment to our audience, to building a network that is appropriate to baby boomers and shaped by them through all their input over the last 18 months” since Eons’ July 2006 launch.
It’s far too soon to tell, of course, whether Eons has found the path to long life. Taylor told me that the firm, which has raised $32 million in venture funding, chiefly from Sequoia Capital and General Catalyst, has enough money for at least two years. He also told the New York Times that his previous practice of attracting visitors by spending big bucks to buy keywords was unsustainable. The Times, citing comScore Media Metrix figures, reported that Eons attracted nearly 1.2 million unique visitors last May, but that by December, its visitor numbers had declined to 285,000. Eons doesn’t reveal its numbers publicly, but Natansohn says those cited by the Times are on the low end of its internal figures.
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