Hallmark Email Cards – Are eCards a Good Idea or Evil Incarnate?

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Hallmark email cards are so convenient, aren’t they? With the holidays coming up, what could be easier than a few mouseclicks rather than addressing and licking all of those envelopes. That’s the allure of Hallmark email cards.

Oh yes, Hallmark email cards are great – for the sender. And for Hallmark.

But they are evil for the recipients.

Actually it’s unfair of us to single out Hallmark – it’s true of all online greeting cards, it’s just that Hallmark is the best known.

There are several problems with online greetings cards, some social, some technical, and some privacy related.

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First, sending an online greeting cards says, to paraphrase Hallmark’s own slogan, “I’m too lazy to send the very best.”

Second, there is the issue that you are causing to be sent to someone a large file, bloated with HTML, graphics, and, sometimes, sound files. Some of the services allow you to send just a link, which the recipient follows to retrieve the card. That alleviates some of the issues, but it doesn’t take care of the third, and perhaps most serious issue:

That you are divulging the recipient’s email address to a third-party, who has every reason to add it to their own internal marketing email lists, if not to share it with partners.

Would you like it if someone gave your email address to some random company?

No, we didn’t think so.

Remember, when you care enough to send the very best, it’s a greeting card, in an envelope. If you can’t do that, or if your greetings are already belated and you don’t want to wait for the postal service, then, well, pick up the damn phone.

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14 thoughts on “Hallmark Email Cards – Are eCards a Good Idea or Evil Incarnate?


  2. I have always enjoyed receiving an email Hallmark card because it’s such a surprise! Just cheers up my day! They are so cute and I like to send them so others can feel good and have a little surprise themselves.

  3. hallmark,
    i would like to share a get well card idea i came up with…. it is a bandaid card. a card in the shape of a bandaid that even has a paper towel to make the card more inventive. the comments are on the left and the right side of the card.hope that this is interesting enough for you. you can call me at 639-7269.

  4. Having run a simple test, I confirmed that sending someone an ecard does sign them up for spam. I got a Hallmark free account, using all default values where available. I sent a an ecard to email address I created only for this test; kslrnytlkjf398374569@[my_personal_domain].com. Within 5 hours the email address began receiving SPAM. In 24 hours it received 15 separate SPAM messages. Hallmarks privacy statement reads, “we may share the contact information of our customers with carefully picked and trustworthy third parties….” The priacvy statement goes on to say, “You can also call 1-800-HALLMARK and ask to be taken off our business partner promotions listing.” Calling that number is pointless as there is no option for opting out. The CSRs on the phone say that there is no such list and therefore you cannot be taken off it.

  5. hey wats up??? i like the page but can i ask u sumthing? is there any way i can send u my idia fr a card and if u like it sell it to u??? e mail me back thanks

  6. I like to use Google Images to find my own images and then I create a card in my email….but I like Robert’s idea of emailing himself…much more considerate.

  7. I once had an email address, nice and obscure, complex enough to avoid dictionary attacks… and then a friend sent me an e-card. The next day my very first spam message arrived through that account. Then it trickled in, then it became a torrent, then the account was ditched.

    I don’t trust any third-party senders, whether it’s an e-card or other ‘send this page to a friend’ link. My experience is that the other-party sender almost invariably adds the address to their mailing lists. Of course, when they send their spam to their newest ‘member’ they offer to unsubscribe, but the damage has already been done.

  8. Can you use a smaller font? I will no longer try to read your rants because I can not see them.

  9. What Caren said! And to boot, you even ask us to input our e-mail address. How do we know YOU aren’t going to spam us?

    I’m a blogger myself, but I’m sick and tired of bloggers publicly assuming the worst about organizations online. Do you have any evidence to suggest that Hallmark abuses e-mail addresses? Have you read its privacy policy?

    There are plenty of “bad guys” on the Internet, and pointing fingers willy-nilly at others just damages your reputation and makes it harder to focus on those who WILL abuse our e-mail addresses.

    Please be more thoughtful in the future.

    Adam, not affiliated with Hallmark in any way

  10. Although I agree that real cards are a far more appropriate way of communicating during the holiday season, I’ve been using Hallmark and some other major greeting card companies for years and have never had any of the problems you mention. I think what you say might be true of smaller, obscure companies, not Hallmark or Blue Mountain or American Greetings. And I find it very irritating that people spread paranoia like this about the activities of legitimate companies that, BTW, employ hundreds or thousands of people. Even more so because both your site and Lockergnome have this very bad habit of shoving Google ads down the readers’ throat, forcing us to scroll in order to read whatever editorial material there is to be read.

  11. I like to send and recieve e cards…especially media cards like at puppetgreetings.com. They are not the average greeting card company. They are usually pretty fuuny.

  12. Shame on you.
    You caution us about e-cards and Adsense plunks 4 ads for greeting cards right at the top of your page.

  13. I send the ecards to myself and then forward to recipients from my internal address book.
    That way Hallmark doesn’t have their email addresses, only mine and they can click on the URL of the card to receive it. I do delete the forwarding information before sendin it.

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