Virtual greeting cards becoming more popular



    With dozens of gimmick Web sites online offering anything from pizza, to cheap plumbing parts, perhaps one of the most practical sites online for Web surfers may be virtual greeting card sites.

    Virtual greeting card sites are a hot property on the Net, with many sites averaging thousands even tens of thousands of hits a week.

    Derek Hoffman, who runs a virtual greeting card site at said the site he operates receives over 30,000 people visiting every week. 30,000 people translates into a powerful tool that can be used to grab people’s attention.

    In fact most free greeting card sites are used for just this purpose, as a means of luring people to a site or a particular product advertisement. Even paper greeting card companies, who some think might be threatened by the wave of online postcards and greeting cards are cashing in on the virtual cards popularity to do a little advertising of their own.

    “ was created as a vehicle to expand the sales

    of our paper greeting cards on,” Hoffman said.

    The virtual greeting card sites are being used to sell everything from magazines to beer on the web. Not only are the sites a source of effective advertising for many companies, but they are cheaper than many other alternatives because of the low cost of overhead.

    “Costs involved for postcard sites are in setting the site up, (and) in designing the cards…,” Hoffman said.

    An added plus also comes to this form of advertising because instead of traditional advertising, where the advertiser must pay the say amount of money regardless of how affective the site is. Virtual greeting card sites only pay more as the site receives more hits because of bandwidth charges which are a function of traffic, Hoffman said.

    The sites are not only popular with advertisers but also offer advantages to the thousands of people that use them. Because the sites operate over e-mail, they can offer several options that paper cards can not and they are also instantaneous which provides several advantages to people seeking to send greetings across country lines.

    “People from all over the world send our postcards,” Hoffman said. “What makes our site unique is the variety of styles of cards and music.”

    Because the cards arrive in minutes, it also helps out those who procrastinate sending cards.

    Multimedia cards, such as cards offering music animation and video clips are available on several sites and even some newspapers and news sites are getting in on the action by offering a different type of card than can be found on paper.

    Also, some organizations, such as envirocards, are using virtual greeting cards to promote a political stance or a cause such as the environment, animals, or even political parties.

    Another advantage users of virtual greeting cards see is the ability to customize a greeting card instead of searching for hours and hours for just the right card for someone. specializes in helping people make their own card for just the right occasion.

    Many sites also offer virtual flowers, presents, and even food and alcohol for people to send to far away friends and family.

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