Family anger at 'bad taste' adverts on memorial site

Users of Gonetoosoon, the popular British online memorial site that allows members of the public to post their respects to dead friends and family, are deleting their tributes after it started carrying "distasteful" ads.

The decision to link the website through Google to online ads for everything from financial services to CDs has caused a furore among regular visitors to the site.

They say some of the ads are particularly distasteful. In one case, an online memorial for a boy called Ryan featured an advert for Ryanair, a budget airline.

Another, for a woman called Sheila, linked to Sheila's Wheels car insurance. A person called Watts was linked to an ad for light bulbs. A tribute to a boy killed in a motorcycle accident carried an ad for a new motorbike while memorials for babies had promotions for nappies and prams.

There is no suggestion the companies involved knew that links to their adverts were being carried on the website.

Within hours of the company's decision to carry advertising, hundreds of users started expressing their disgust.

"The last thing I need to see on my site is an advert for Owens conveyor belts," wrote one site user.

"My darling daughter was cremated. How sick to put that there. I am horrified."

Another wrote: "Can you really trust a site which posts an advert of [the murderer] Ian Huntley's biography - not only on my beautiful friend Ian's site, but on a website that also has a memorial for [Huntley's victims] Holly Wells and Jessica Chapman?"

One woman wrote: "How sick is it that the site of poor Ellie Lawrenson who was savaged by a dog has an advert saying how to protect your family! I will never ever visit GTS again after this."

In the face of an overwhelming backlash, the site stopped carrying advertising last week.

Terry George Kernachan, a Yorkshire-based entrepreneur, said on the site that Gonetoosoon was a "labour of love" which had so far cost him £27,000 ($71,000) to set up and run.

But he said he had never expected it to be so popular and that he had to look at ways of bringing in revenue to cover mounting costs.

- Observer

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