NATURE OF ECARDS ON THE WEB...

Ecards bring beauty and smiles to thousands of people worldwide but what folks need to be aware of is that some of these cute ecards carry malware with them ranging from simple spam, while some will install nasty spyware and on rare ocasions even viruses!

As a result many people have decided to ignore them completely, however there are many really Beautiful cards, you just need to know where to look for them.

We`ll take a look at some decent sites and software for ecards that i`ve collected on the net that are tested as malware negative and fun positive.

There are many ways to send your chosen ecards, and you can easily create your own piece of art, while in my opinion the easiest and maybe the best way to send an ecard is by using email greeting cards....
EMAIL GREETINGS

SEND AN ECARD DIRECTLY TO EMAIL
They allow you to send an ecard directly to the recipients email box, he/she doesent need to go online to see your card, they can see your card instantly in Outlook or in a similar email program, that`s very convenient sometimes.

One of my favourites for this type of ecards, and well known among people passionate for ecards is definetely Apple's iCard service.

It enables you to choose from a range of different cards for various occassions, you can enter some accompanying text and then choose from four different fonts for the text. The picture and text are then turned into a graphic and sent to your chosen recipient, your recipient does not need to go through the process of accessing a web site to "collect" their card.
Check out the iCard site here: http://www.mac.com/WebObjects/iCards.woa

Ze-Card is another fine site that enables you to send ecards directly to the recipient's inbox. You'll find paintings by great artists, flower photos, music and textures for your greeting cards. You can also decorate your cards with a border and fully customize the fonts of your greeting. Web-based mails are supported.

USE OUTLOOK / EMAIL STATIONERY AS A CARD

Another useful way to send an ecard is email stationery.
A stationery is a reusable email template that you can use to send your messages.

The procedure is rather simple: download an Outlook Express background, then create a normal email message with Outlook Express using this background. The "card" arrives as a normal email message with music, animated background and any message you want.
If you dont use email program like Outlook Express you could upload backgrounds into your webmail account.

Three sites I found that have a good selection of backgrounds are:
http://www.annettesstationery.com/index.htmand http://outlookexpressstationery.com/.
http://www.fortunecity.com/bally/minogues/88/collctn.html
http://images.google.com ("outlook stationery")
This article describes how to create a stationery in Outlook Express.

You could also try Hotbar's email templates: It also has some neat email smileys.
http://www.hotbar.com

If you think creating your own virtual card is better, here are some freeware programs that can do the job.

FREEWARE FOR GREETING CARDS ...
FreeCard

This program lets you create electronic cards with graphics or video, text, music and sound to send with e-mail or on media.

Greeting cards are made into Windows executable files and they expand, play, and clean up automatically on target PCs. A
Watermarking utility is included for embedding identifying and linking information to your graphics and video materials.

Download it from here:
ftp://ftp.simtel.net/pub/simtelnet/win95/mmedia/frc201.zip

Features:
Takes standard Windows bitmap (.BMP), video (.AVI), MIDI music
(.MID), WAVE sound (.WAV) material files and creates
multimedia e-cards. Each created e-card is a self-contained,
standalone Windows executable (.EXE) file. It runs and cleans
up automatically on target PCs.

Lets you record a sound and saves it into WAVE files.
Created ecards are very compact (starts at 70 KB) -- which is convenient for sending electronically by e-mail or from Web sites.

For future use when looking for material like obscure midis, i recommend usenet newsgroups:
comp.music.midi or alt.music.midi and if you need video clips use yahoo`s new video search engine.

CardMaker

Another good one is Cardmaker, it allows you to create your own ecards easily, you need to register at their site but there`s a little shortcut: go to this url. Once you are on the site: Click on the download, when it takes you to the next page click on "register", when it takes you to the registration page then fill in the info and make up anything you would like on the righthand side for the member name and password. That would NOT be your real name, just something made up. Your real name goes on the left side. Just fill out the parts with the red *. What you are doing is just registering at the PCMag website so you can access the download. You could probably use something like bush100 or whatever it will accept. Once it accepts you, it should take you to the download page so you can get the cardmaker, Enjoy it.

Belltech Greeting Cards Designer 2.0ECARDS

This one is my first choiceof the pack, this program is more professional as you can see, it designs personalized cards for Birthdays, Wedding, and other ocasions easily.
The program comes with card templates, clip art, background pictures to get you started. For fast out, you just choose a template, personalize the messages and print. You can use shapes like heart, call-out, moon, sun etc.
http://www.belltechsystems.com/greeting-card-software/default.asp

PrintMaster Express

An easy to use software, allows you to create create Greeting Cards, Note and Business Cards, Banners, Calendars and other kinds of Photo Projects.

It has features like "Add Sentiment", it allows you to choose from different patterns of text for every ocasion. The lines are very funny and will certainly come handy if you are struggling with your creativity.

Printmaster download

You can import projects that other people made in Printmaster, they are located at the printmaster server.

ONLINE GREETING CARDS ...

While usually considered risky because of dumb*** who created spyware/virus sites, these are clean and as you will see they have something to offer ...

Hallmark Cards
http://www.hallmark.com/webapp

Http://www.care2.com
On this site every card sent helps the environment. They are currently running a(non-obligatory) petition to try and stop oil drilling in the Arctic which is killing polar bears and whales. I doubt the US Senate will listen, they have a poor record on such issues, but it's worth a throw, better than doing nothing.

Another similar site http://www.thisiscool.org/ecards/index.htm promotes rights of animals with pretty ecards.

My Postcards
A very old and established site
http://mypostcards.com/top20.shtml
Besides a collection of ecards It also allows you to set up your own postcard site http://mypostcards.com/bas

Tatty Teddy Ecards
Very popular amongst fans of teddy bears....

BIRTHDAY ECARDS
Is there an important birthday comming up?
In that case here are some worthy sites with birthday cards:

http://www.birthdaycards.com

http://wickedmoon.com/birthday/index.php

http://www.free-greetingcards.co.uk/birthdaycards.htm

http://www.freewebcards.com/cards/birthday/index.shtml

http://www.yahoo.americangreetings.com

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/browse/

WHAT TO WRITE??? ECARD WRITER BLOCK.....

If you are like me and not very creative when it comes to original text to put in a card/stationery. Here are a few sites I use for inspiration:
Birthday quotes: http://www.birthdaycelebrations.net/shortquotes.htm
Birthday verses: http://www.njaol.com/cards/Verses/birthday.html
Birthday quotes: http://home.att.net/~quotations/birthday.html

And if you do a search on Google or whatever search engine you like, you will find a lot more quotes/sayings for almost every occasion.

Conclusion

In this article, I have tried to give you a lot of good information about where to find quality ecards. I hope you found it useful. If you need more info I suggest this site: http://dmoz.org/E-greetings/

About the Author

Webmaster of http://www.smart-info-guide.com

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