Archive for March, 2008

The Tax Rebate, One for the Road

Thursday, March 27th, 2008

There are many ways to spend that upcoming tax rebate check; groceries, bills, kids college fund or some new clothes. You may want to make it a little more memorable since this doesn’t happen very often; it is free money! So go out treat yourself to something special, it has been a difficult year for the economy, so do your part and blow it. Spend it on something you will remember more than a week later.


So exactly what are some suggestions? I must have some since I brought up the topic in the first place. Get a group of friends together where everyone puts in a few hundred dollars and see what you can do. Some suggestions are:


  • A special night out with dinner at a 5 start restaurant; the one you go to only once every 10 years.
  • Get tickets to some event; a professional sports game, the theater, a concert. Get the good seats, treat yourself.
  • Take a quick trip to Las Vegas for an evening dinner or a show or both using the short notice cheap airline airfares. No need for any room accommodations.
  • Rent a banquet room at some local hotel for the group. Maybe even hire some entertainment if your group is large enough. Party in style.
  • High stakes poker night with the winners paying the food and bar bill.


Let us know your ideas! Keep them somewhat clean and legal, please.

Evite and Pingg Online Invitations

Monday, March 10th, 2008

The online eCard and invitation market is large with many different players. Many of these players are well financed and many are companies that have been producing greeting cards for decades. There are two companies that I want to compare. The first is Evite, a heavyweight that has been around for a few years. The second is Pingg, a new site with some promising ideas. My goal here is not to provide an in-depth analysis of each but to provide a brief high level comparison that is hopefully informative. If you need more information, please visit their site.

According to their web site; has “more than 15 million registered users and is the top online destination for invitations. A free service, estimates it saves party planners millions of dollars in paper invitations and postage each month. With party-planning tools and content, the site helps hosts be more successful while saving even more money and time.”


Evite tries to be a lot more then just a place to send eCards. It has several party planning tools like checklist, budget estimator, drink calculator (not sure how well this one works) and a notebook to keep your ideas and lists documented.


Evite also provides many different eCard templates based upon different occasions. One new feature is the photo center to save your party photographs.


Evite was launched in 1998 as part of Interactive Corp, an American media company with 60 different brands. Other parts of the company are USA Networks,,, LendingTree, Hotwire,, GetSmart, Ticketmaster, Expedia, TripAdvisor, ServiceMagic, and; just to name a few.


Evite has long been established as a primary online invitation site. But as with the internet, nothing stays the same very long.

Pingg is in the same market as Evite but on the other end of the spectrum. was launched in early 2008 and plans to bring online invitations up-to-date with today’s technology or Web 2.0 in geek speak. The big differentiator is that “pingg has No Advertising cluttering up our website or your invitations.” Pingg makes their money on optional services like print and mail invitations, additional original invitation designs, gift registries, mobile communication and ticket services.


Pingg has focused more on the appearance of the invitation then many of their competitors. From their official press release; “For style conscious hosts everywhere… No more juvenile clip art. No more intrusive and inappropriate banner ads surrounding dinner party invitations. Fully customizable event web pages that include photos, video, collect money functionality, gift registries, etc.. You choose — it’s your personal event webpage.”


Pingg is one to keep watching over the next few months; maybe they have closed the gap between cheap looking email invitations and rich looking snail mail invitations. I have nothing against email or internet services, I would actually prefer to receive mail, notifications and many other types of communication via the internet; as long as the correspondence gives the right amount of information with appropriate atmosphere and no ads on my invitations.