Glitch turns Evite into wet blanket

Two out of three customers are blocked from using the online party invitation service because of a glitch on the company's Web site.

Evite.com has gone from party planner to party pooper.

Problems that had affected the San Francisco-based company's Web site, which prevented many customers from accessing it since last Wednesday, were corrected Tuesday afternoon chief executive Josh Silverman said.

However, several Evite customers said Tuesday evening that the site was still malfunctioning.

Prior to Tuesday, customers who tried to navigate the Evite site were met with a posted message that said engineers were "feverishly looking for the cause," and "we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience that this temporary interruption might be causing."

Some party-throwing Evite customers complained this week that they couldn't send the popular electronic invitations, and for those who already had, their guests were blocked from checking to see where or when the festivities were scheduled.

"We've sent out 120 invitations, and a bunch of our guests have told us they haven't received them yet," said Erin Stuart, who is throwing a Christmas party next month.

There has been little to toast at privately held Evite of late. Three weeks ago, the company shed about 60 percent of its work force and acknowledged that it is looking for a buyer. According to Silverman, executives decided that Evite was "not a standalone business."

Evite is in discussions with potential buyers, he said.

The dot-com shakeout has cast a pall over online party-planning sites. Earlier this month, Mambo.com announced it was shutting down its invitation business.

In June, eParties laid off most of its staff before selling the majority of its assets to online toy merchant eToys for $1.6 million.

News.com's Melissa Parker contributed to this report.

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