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Martha Stewart's company picks Pingg for invites

None of the many small invitation start-ups have been able to make much of a dent in behemoth Evite's market share, so this could be a good sign for one of them.

InterActiveCorp's Evite might still be the biggest name in online invitations, but Martha Stewart has made her endorsement elsewhere.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia has partnered with and made an undisclosed investment in Pingg, a much smaller competitor.

The chief executive of New York-based Pingg, Lorien Gabel, spoke to CNET News a few months ago to make the case for his company as a more refined alternative to the clip art-friendly Evite, saying he hoped Pingg would be appropriate for "a whole segment of event types that people just (do) not want to use electronic invitations for," like graduation parties and bar mitzvahs.

Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia said in a release that its investment in Pingg was designed to improve its digital presence. Through the partnership, Pingg will be promoted and have its tools worked into the Martha Stewart Web site; Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia will sell ads on Pingg, and some of its content will appear on the invitation start-up's site. Joseph Holland, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia's vice president of strategy and development, will join Pingg's board of directors.

This certainly gives Pingg an advantage, as it has plenty of other competitors attempting to eat into Evite's market share: MyPunchbowl, Socializr, and Renkoo are just a few of them.

Our request for a catfight between Stewart and IAC czar Barry Diller went unanswered.