Enjoying the Holiday Season! The time has come to wish our near and dear ones ‘Best Wishes and Season’s Greetings’.
I really love shopping for others and sending them Greeting Cards. As a teenager I used to spend hours at the ‘Archie’s Gallery’ searching for the best card for my friends, teachers and relatives.
There were so many cards stacked neatly and categorically tagged for each occasion – Birthday Card, Mother and Father Day Card, New Year and Christmas Cards.. I looked not only at the appearance and the design of the card but to me what was written as a message was more important to convey my thoughts within those few decorated lines.
But few years later with the coming of the internet the whole scenario of sending greetings changed. From physical greeting card came the origin of Electronic cards, Multimedia Cards, Animated Cards and Digital Cards. Now I would look for the best website where I can find wonderful e cards.
This has not only saved my time going out to shop for the greetings but also saved money as most of the e-cards are free to send. Also with e cards thousands of trees are saved as no paper is wasted and thereby helping the conservation of environment.
But do you know what does e-Card (Electronic Card) mean?
An electronic card (e-card) is a special occasion, greeting or post card created and customized within a website and sent through the Internet to the recipient. Customizations may include a wide variety of backgrounds and text fonts including some as cursive writing, graphic images, cartoon-style animations (proprietary to Adobe), video and sometimes even music.
How it all started?
According to Techopedia Virtual cards were first started by Judith Donath at MIT Media Lab in 1994 and were created by the website called The Electronic Postcard. Over the first few weeks, dozens of cards were sent out each week. The first summer resulted in up to 2,000 cards per day. In the 1995/1996 Christmas season saw days where up to 19,000 cards were sent. By late spring of 1997, a total of 1.7 million were electronically distributed.
Types of E Cards
There are seven types of e cards which you will find in almost all the e greetings websites.
Postcards and greeting cards
They are like a paper “postcards” that have visual art, static or animated images or video and provide a space for a personal note to be added. These were the first type of E-card in use. Variations range from E-cards with fixed greetings like a paper card to selectable greetings (from drop-down lists or other selection options) to changeable suggested greetings.
This type of E-card is based on two-dimensional vector animation controlled with a scripting language. The format is proprietary to Adobe; however, widespread usage of Adobe’s software allows this type of card to be easily viewed on most of today’s computers. The recipient sees an animated short usually 15–30 seconds in duration. The animation often appears to have a cartoon style due to the nature of the content, though some Flash creations can be quite sophisticated and realistic. A sound track which may contain speech or music usually accompanies the animation. Also many come in interactive format.
Flash animated cards are offered today by almost all major E-card publishers and are consequently the most common format used.
“Video E-cards” use a combination of personalized text and video to convey the message to the recipient. A number of such services exist such as Rattlebox where the user selects and customizes text on a pre recorded video, and DVCards.com where a user with a web camera actually records their own video to send.
Multimedia Messaging Service (MMS) which is basically picture SMS, became more and more popular. E-cards can now be sent to mobile devices and phones.
Mobile E-cards or ‘MCards’ as they are more commonly known are then offered by different mobile content providers and carriers. Similar to E-cards, MCards can contain multiple pictures, music and text messages. Also MCards are considered the cards sent via one or another mobile application.
One of the first companies that created MCards is a Dutch Company called Mgreetings (established in 2003). MCards can be sent from a PC in a similar way as sending E-cards. Users can go to a website online, select a card enter the recipient’s mobile number, and that card will be sent to the recipient’s mobile phone as an MMS.
Web based multi-media E-cards
The web-based card creation has been evolving becoming more creative. The user can create greeting cards online choosing backgrounds, drag and drop images, animations, similes and write text that look like handwriting. The E-card may contain videos and music as well.
Face upload E-cards
Flash 10 technologies now enables sites to develop bespoke applications which can upload photos, manipulating them and cut out the head from it. The user can then embed it onto an animation so as to achieve a much higher level of personalization.
Some E-cards include interactive games. The games usually contain animation and music much like other animated E-cards and have the same functionality allowing the sender to add a personal message.
How much does an American spend on Greeting Cards?
Don’t be surprised if you find that 9 out of 10 American households purchase greeting cards. Also the annual purchase is of $6.5 billion according to a survey of 2014 by E card mint.
Where still many of us think that sending physical greeting has more sentiments attached to the card it is but a sheer waste of paper and money. Worldwide it is found that people use more of e-cards these days and about 500 million e-cards are sent each year.
The popularity of sending e greetings is more in demand now whether it is send through your email, face book, mobile or any other device.
Here are the 15 best e card websites where you can send free greetings to your loved ones in seconds of time this holiday season.
At Punchbowl you will find wide variety of e cards that look and feel like paper cards. You can send free e-cards choosing from various designs. Also you can personalize with custom greetings and accents such as envelope liners, custom postage, and rubber stamps. Or you can also attach a gift to your e-cards.
This is most popular e greeting site. You can create and send free e card or select from the 3000 categories among 20,000 cards. 123Greetings.com allows you like other sites to customize the e card with your personal messages using an advanced text editor. Once done you can either send your e-cards immediately or scheduled up to 60 days in the future. You can send your e-cards to as many as 100 recipients.
For more additional benefits and features you can register with 123Greetings connect service for free where you can get reminders for birthdays, upcoming events, and holidays, import, store, and access an unlimited number of contacts in an online address book, track, edit, and delete e-cards you have sent in the last 30 days, and keep track of e-cards you have received in the last 30 days.
Care2 boosts of more than 25000 free e-cards for you to choose from. You will also find the care they show by donating 5 percent of advertising revenues in cash and services to leading non-profit organizations. You visit their site create and send your holiday e-cards and help generate funds for global environmental programs. Choose from a large selection of e-cards for many different occasions, and even add your own photo to some.
Somee-cards.com allows you to choose by filtering the e cards from some cards to user e-cards. They have further categorised the cards like popular, classics and newest e-cards. These cards have famous sayings and quotes from popular and legendary people among them are funny e cards too. All these cards are free to send and you can subscribe to their newsletter to get updates on new cards, categories, site features, and upcoming holidays.
Rattlebox is the best site that allows you to create free “video e-cards that don’t suck” for many different occasions. The site homepage has some funny videos to explore. They offer over 1,000 fully customizable free online, video e-cards. You can send Rattlebox cards easily via email or IM, post them on blogs, or circulate them on social networking sites. Also you can add an iCard/Gift card to your e card to make it more attractive and sensational.
Imaginary e-cards offers over 900 free e-cards divided into 16 categories for you to choose from. They have some nature-inspired designs. You just have to select cards from any of the categories available, and have your e-cards ready to send in just a few minutes. You can also choose from the Most Popular designs or display a Random E-cards, bookmark or share with your friend.
Hallmark is really Hallmark and one of my best e-cards website that features both free and paid e-cards. Initially you can send free e-cards from this site for a month. After that they offer many premium services to choose from. And if you just wish to use their free offer then after a month trial pack you have to cancel the further automatic subscription services.
Choose your e-cards from the category listed on the left and select any of the e-cards that say “FREE” underneath them. The unique thing is that this site features e cards from your favourite classic characters like Peanuts, Maxine, Hoops and Yo Yo. The sponsored e-cards are sponsored by companies such as Campbell’s Soup or Bissell.
Doozy cards allow you to create and send e-cards free for a trail period. When you sign up for premium membership you will get benefits, such as helpful birthday reminders and free tech support. Additionally, a portion of the proceeds from the premier membership goes to St. Vincent Meals on Wheels, the largest privately funded meals program in the US.
You can send as many thoughtful e-cards, holiday e-cards. Their e-cards also feature a special cast of characters that you and your loved ones will come to love, including the Doozy Birds, a four-legged Mariachi band and the Caribbean Hippos. Treat your friends and family to one of a heart warming e-cards from The Dionne Warwick collection, starring Grammy-winning singer Dionne Warwick in a huge selection of e-cards recorded exclusively for Doozy. Or come up with your own greetings and have one of their talking e-cards speak your message aloud.
Regards.com offers a free service that allows you to create e-cards for any occasion. Your created e card is stored on their system as a unique and private web page with its own address that can only be accessed by you and the recipient of your e-cards. No long downloads or email attachments required. Your recipient receives a short email notification directing them to the private web page where they can view the e-cards.
Regards.com offers another e-cards service, called RegardsBox, that provides funny e-cards that are different and a “little insane.” RegardsBox also allows you to pass around e-cards, for several people to sign, before it’s sent to the recipient.
At E-Cards.com you will love its light green color design loaded with e cards. It allows you to send online greetings and gifts to friends and family that also support wildlife and the environment. Every card you send using E-Cards.com helps generate a donation for wildlife and nature.
If you want access to additional e-cards and features, sign up for My E-Cards for $12 per year. This will allow you to access more cards, save cards, upload your own images, add effects to cards, use a birthday reminder calendar and an email address book, schedule cards to be sent on future dates, an avoid advertisements, as well as many other features.
One of my favourite website with beautiful wildlife photos on e-cards that you can personalize and send. This site gives you a chance to show a kind gesture towards wildlife and supporting the conservation cause of our planet by sending free e-cards to your friends and family from the World Wildlife Fund.
As the name suggests it is to conserve nature what their e-cards speak of. If you love your nature and want to give something back to nature then use this site and send free e-cards from The Nature Conservancy. You will love the awesome photos of the nature and our planet and choose the one to send it to your friends and family.
If you wish to add fun and laughter to your e-cards then JibJab is the best site. You can share some funny stuff with your loved ones and make them laugh. From political to offbeat Sendables e-cards and personalized Starring You videos, will make people happy. To send the e-cards either join and register or log in with your facebook account and browse more than 1500 e-cards and enjoy sending them with your personal messages.
14. Blue Mountain
Blue Mountain has its own history to tell. It offers several categories of e-cards, including ones on friendship, love, holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, thank you cards, and more. They even have talking e-cards.
Talking e-cards say exactly you type onto the card. You can write as much as you want in your e-cards. In order to send a talking card or any other e-card from BlueMountain.com, you are required to purchase a membership.
But don’t worry they have an affiliate of website called E-greetings which is a free e-card site You will find here several categories of cards to choose cards based on love, friendship, anniversaries, babies, sympathy, religious, and other common topics. After selecting the e-cards you personalize the card and send. Only drawback in this is that because it is free to use there are advertisements that show up once you browse the website.
American Greetings is reputed website for e-cards. You can send free online greeting cards with your no-risk trial and send free beautiful animated e-cards for 7 days. You can then start with a low premium member ship that starts with $3.99 for a month and for a year the subscription rate is $19.99 (which is $1.67 a month) and for two years you have $29.99 (which is $1.25 a month).
Also you can find American Greetings App at iTunes for free and send e-cards with your smartphone or iPhone devices. There is a Live Greetings App for members also where you will find digital interactive cards to share and pin at social media sites.
There are many other sites like myfuncards.com, crosscards.com, all4love.net where you can send e-cards. All these virtual card recipients are often sent an email with a link to a website where the card was created. Then the card may be viewed, played, copied, printed, etc.
Some websites use virtual cards to market and draw attention to their other products and services, which may be their main product or service like e-cardsica.
One thing here is important to inform that though e cards are popular and quick way to send greetings you should always check the sender’s email and name when you receive an e card as many times they are spam mails. The legitimacy of the sender and the website is important too.
In addition to websites allowing you to create and send e-cards, you can also create and print your own cards using Microsoft Word or animate it by Microsoft PowerPoint.
Now Get- Set- Go to e-cards!
Any other websites for sending e-cards… Do share!