10 Evite alternatives: The good and the bad

If you're planning on planning a party, Evite might be your first choice. But we've compiled a list of 10 alternatives that could make your invite just a little better.

I recently used Evite to send invitations for a party at my house. Overall, I was pleased with the experience. The selection of invitation styles was huge. The invitee tracking tool was informative. But the site's user interface made it too complicated to send an invitation. Worse, Evite hasn't really embraced the social networking space--there's no Evite app on Facebook nor Twitter integration. And the closest it comes to going mobile is sending SMS invites and offering a mobile site.

So I set out to find some alternatives to Evite to see if they could provide a better service.

Crusher
Crusher provides a ton of options. Don Reisinger/CNET

CircleUp Though it's not specifically designed to provide invitations and tracking, CircleUp does let you invite others to an event and track their attendance. The page detailing whether or not invitees will be attending the event is especially good. But CircleUp simply isn't as useful as Evite, nor as convenient.

Crusher I like Crusher. It's simple and clean. Creating invitations can take less than a minute. But if you're the type who wants to tweak an invitation to fit your needs, the site also has a CSS editor. You can add video, chat, photos, and much more. It's great for the Web geek and the Web novice alike. And it's better than Evite.

Enclude Unlike Evite, Enclude lets you send e-cards. But its invitation creation tool doesn't provide as many planning options as Evite's. And if you really care about the design of the invite, you'll find fewer cards on Enclude. I also wasn't impressed with its invitee tracking tool. Simply put, it's no Evite.

Facebook Most of the people who I would invite to a party are my friends on Facebook anyway, so creating an event and sending out an invitation through the social network is quite convenient. Creating an invitation in Facebook takes less than a minute. Everyone can see who will be attending the party. Attendance tallies are updated as soon as the invitee responds. If you don't need to invite too many people outside of your Facebook friends list, Facebook is a fine invitation tool. It's much simpler than Evite.

Invitastic Invitastic is ugly, too simple, and unable to compete on any level with Evite. That said, it might come in handy when you want to quickly send out an invite to a couple friends and you don't want all the extras Evite provides. But even in those circumstances, I'm hard-pressed to find a reason to use Invitastic instead of other simple services, like Zoji.

MyPunchbowl Though it's not as popular as Evite, MyPunchbowl is better. It lets you create an invitation and give your invitees the option to let you know what times might be better for them. So if 7 p.m. doesn't work for most of your invitees, you can change the party's starting time to, say, 8 p.m. to make it fit into their schedules. You can also set some attendees as VIPs, so their scheduling needs are met before everyone else. And unlike Evite, MyPunchbowl is connected to the social network space--you can sign up with Facebook Connect. I highly recommend it.

Pingg
Pingg puts it all on one page. Don Reisinger/CNET

Pingg Unlike most invitation services, Pingg puts all the steps in building an invitation onto one page. That makes it much easier to get through the process. But Pingg really shows its value when you use its tools to share invitations on social networks, like Twitter and Facebook. Plus, its invitee tracker is outstanding. I like it a lot.

Renkoo Renkoo's social planner is unique in the space because it helps you invite friends through SMS, IM, or email. But it's that focus on immediate communication that turns me off to Renkoo. If I want to invite friends to go somewhere, I can use SMS or IM without Renkoo's help. Granted, its invite tool will help me do that more efficiently, but I don't like Renkoo as much as Evite.

Socializr Creating invitations and sifting through designs was more difficult than it should have been on Socializr. Though I liked that I could add videos, photos, or even chat with friends in my invite, once I did send out the invitation, my tracking options were limited. Socializr might want to best Evite, but so far, it doesn't.

Zoji Zoji is designed to be simple. After you get to the site, you can pick an invitation design, input the information about your event, add attendees, and you're done. Sending out invites took me just a few minutes. It was much simpler than Evite and its tracking was just as good. I'd use Zoji over Evite.

The Top 3

To recap: Evite is toast! Many of the services covered here do a better job. Here are my top three picks. Use one of these, you won't go wrong:

1. Pingg

2. Crusher

3. MyPunchbowl

 

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