37. Sending your greetings
By Mark Alberstat
The greeting card industry has, no doubt, taken a hit over the past few
years with a veritable explosion of Internet sites offering a wide variety
of electronic cards for all occasions.
The advantages of electronic cards over traditional ones are many. The
electronic option can add more individuality with your own detailed
greetings, music, a wide variety of colours, images and combinations.
There is also the green factor: no cardboard or paper waste with these
nicely assembled collection of bits and bytes. With electronic cards, you
don't have to settle for a particular card if you like the image but are
not fond of the sentiment inside.
Card sites have changed over the years. Today cards are slicker and with
embedded animation, Flash and sound, are bigger and more complicated than
When you send a card, your friend or relative receives e-mail notification
of it. In that e-mail there will be a link either directly to the card or
to the site and a claim or ticket number that identifies you and your card
to the remote system. Most sites also provide you with notification when
the card is received.
One of the most popular greeting card sites is
BlueMountain. For years
this site was free to use. Unfortunately, many of BlueMountain's best and
personalized services are now for hire only under a variety of membership
types. There are some freebies here but not a lot.
MSN Greeting Cards is
another popular site that has become commercial.
Here you will find hundreds of potential cards, and a few freebies for
For a fully free site, with links to other card sites and, unfortunately,
a lot of pop-up ads, try the appropriately named
The site does have a lot of free cards but not nearly the quantity of some
of its bigger, more professional competitors.
All of the sites allow you to view the cards. If you find an image or
animation you must have, or send, but don't want to join the site or buy a
membership, you can click on the image and save it to your hard drive. You
can then attach this image to an e-mail, write your own kind words and
send it out. It may lack the professional look of a card produced by the
site, but it is a free option.
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Originally published 27 June 2004