“Who dies in two years and doesn’t have a Tribute on Respectance.nl, didn’t have a lot of friends”, says Respectance founder Richard Derks in a press release issued today. He sure knows how to get attention, as you simply can’t ignore a statement like this. Let me explain you the situation here.

richard derks Social network for the dead Respectance crosses the ocean
Richard Derks

Respectance.com is a social tribute network that offers people the opportunity to honor the lives of their deceased loved ones. That sounds more stylish than the no-friends argument and honestly, the site also ousts the loving family sentiment (with flowers, pictures of grandma – while she’s still alive, and clouds – a metaphor for eternity) instead of the “don’t die without friends”-one.

Anyhow, the reason Derks has sent out a press release is because he has launched a Dutch version of Respectance. It’s their first step in conquering Europe. Why Holland, you might ask – since it only has 16 million citizens. Well, it’s Derks’ home country.

Respectance’s launch in Europe is going to highlight some interesting cultural differences. Derks already told me about one when I interviewed him in November 2007:

“Even though we have no marketing activity going on outside the US, 55 percent of the visitors are foreign. Especially in Latin America and Scandinavia, Respectance is really popular. This reveals some pretty interesting cultural differences. For instance, a Norwegian web site for parents who lost their child, advised its visitors to visit Respectance. My American employees were shocked by the pictures of babies, and asked me to remove them. Naturally, I didn’t do that, since our slogan is ’share your memories’. Everybody is allowed to do so”.

respectance Social network for the dead Respectance crosses the ocean
Grandma is still alive now, but when she’s dead, I’ll make a tribute on Respectance.com