Free or inexpensive invite services are improving
by By Tom IslerApril 1, 2009
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Following the lead of Evite.com, which launched in 1998, online invitation websites like Pingg.com and Sendomatic.com are helping corporate planners stay on budget by offering free or low-cost services for all kinds of meetings and events.
Pingg, which launched last year, announced enhancements this past January to its comprehensive invitation offerings, most of which are available for free. Planners can custom design their own invitations or use a variety of stock images and templates, send them via e-mail, and track and manage RSVPs on a custom website for the event. Reminder e-mails also are free. To generate revenue, Pingg sells advertising on each event website, but planners can turn off the ads for $5.
Pingg's integrated invitation services also allow planners to push the word out through a number of different channels: text messages (for a fee of $1.50 per 20 texts); Facebook and Twitter; or printed invites (for a fee), which can be sent to the entire guest list or a select few individuals.
Sendomatic offers similar services, and, while not free, the company claims its online solutions can save planners anywhere from 70 percent to 95 percent compared with traditional printed, faxed and direct-mail invitations. Sendomatic's invitations are ad-free and come with the typical tracking and RSVP services. Among Sendomatic's special features: the ability to send invites to mobile devices via text or voice messages, and ways to synchronize the data with Microsoft Outlook, iCal, Yahoo! and Google calendars. Sendomatic's past clients include Forbes, Hyatt, Kraft, Mercedes Benz and Samsung.