BSE listed online greeting cards company 123Greetings.com has launched ‘Connect‘, a feature which allows users to stay connected and send e-cards, schedule e-cards, receive birthday reminders etc. Users can schedule cards, and track, edit or delete sent cards that haven’t been seen yet. This is an instance of the greetings cards site to become more social, also allowing users to view their friends’ activity feeds. The plan is to, later, expand this to include event reminders for Friendship Day, Mothers Day, Positive Thinking Day (I think I’ll get one of those from 123Greetings after they read this post) etc. This requires that users import their address book from email service providers like Yahoo Mail, Gmail, Hotmail, as well as Outlook Express.
The premise here is quite obvious, quite old, and unfortunately overdone – users signing up for Connect will help 123Greetings expand their database of email addresses, helps increase signups, and with reminders, encourage repeat usage, and hence pageviews for a site dependent largely on online advertising.
123Greetings also faces a massive threat of more evolved users preferring to send greetings and cards via Facebook and Orkut, which also have birthday reminders and cards services integrated. As the user base of social networks grows, their need to use external sites for cards is likely to reduce, making sites like 123Greetings.com all the more irrelevant. That’s a massive problem facing their business, and Connect appears to be one way of trying to address this issue.
The other, and possibly better, way of doing this is to sign up for Facebook and Orkut, and power greetings for users using their platform.
As a user, my overarching fear of signing up for 123Greetings would be whether they’ll start spamming everyone on my list to update 123greetings with their birthday or contact information. A gazillion sites do that already, and it’s painful to receive such updates, and embarrassing their sent in your name.
But does 123Greetings really invite contacts from a users Address Book to sign up? From their Frequently Asked Questions:
How do I invite someone to join me on 123Greetings Connect?
You simply have to add a contact to your Address Book, and we will send an invitation to your contact to join you on 123Greetings Connect. To find out how to add contacts, click here.
What is 123Greetings.com’s practice regarding Newsletters & Special Offers Mailings from Advertisers & Business Partners ?
When you send one of our ecards, the information you provide to us is used by 123Greetings.com to send offers & promotions from us & our partners. This information resides with 123Greetings.com and is not disclosed to third parties.
All offers & promotions are sent directly by 123Greetings.com, either for 123Greetings.com itself or for its partners. We share information with our partners on aggregate demographic, geographic, preference, and other personally non identifiable information we have gathered about you. This will help them in directing to you offers that are more likely to be of interest.
You have the option of unsubscribing from these offers. You can do so by visiting the 123Greetings.com Newsletter Area and following the instructions there to unsubscribe your e-mail address.
If you do not want to receive such offers & promotions, please either unsubscribe yourself at the address given above or do not enter your e-mail address & other information while creating one of our ecards.