The custom of sending greetings cards has been around for quite some time. Of course, we all know that this tradition can be traced back to ancient Chinese culture in celebration of New Year…
And obviously, we’re all familiar that it was early Egyptians who send their greetings on papyrus…
But what about ecards? Where did they come from? It’s not hard to deduce that the concept was derived from the traditional paper card but who created the first email greetings cards and why? These are the questions that, without the answer, have the potential to leave you sleepless.
So sit tight, because today Ecard Mint is taking you back to school and teaching you all about the origin of the humble e card. Or should we say Electric Postcard…
1994 – Judith Donath of the MIT Media Lab creates the world’s first postcard site: The Electric Postcard.
1995 – After building steadily over the last couple of years, the Christmas season sees over 19,000 cards being sent a day in the run-up to the holiday season.
1995 – November brings the introduction of Awesome Cyber Cards which begins to develop the ecard offering a suggested greeting along with the image.
1996 – By Spring 1996, Over 1.7 million electric postcards have been sent.
1996 – Later in the year, new capabilities introduced with the Netscape 3.0 browser allow ecards to be mailed direct from the sender, rather than merely sending an announcement from the company to the recipient with a link to the card’s location.
1997 – Paper greetings card companies such as Blue Mountain begin to add ecards to its site, capitalising on the popularity of this new method of communication.
1999 – The dotcom boom sees the ecard industry expand. Blue Mountain Arts is sold for a noteworthy $780 million.
So there you have it, a complete (and quite concise) history of the inception of the e-card.
Granted it’s neither very long nor complicated, of course there are no ancient Egyptians involved… BUT it is interesting to note how the industry took off in such a short amount of time.
Writing in the mid 90s for her thesis, ‘Inhabiting the Virtual City’, Judith Donath might just have the answer as to why her invention was embraced so quickly:
“The most significant function of the postcard, and the reason, I believe, for the great popularity of The Electric Postcard, is that they allow people to keep in touch without having to actually say anything.”
Need an ecard for an occasion in your organisation? You name it, we’ve got it: