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An e-postcard is an electronic greeting card that can be designed or personalized for a recipient. There are e-postcards for every occasion from birthdays to anniversaries, holidays to get-well cards, or just to say hello. Once an e-card has been created, an announcement is automatically generated by the website hosting the service. The announcement includes the sender’s identity, and is emailed to the recipient, informing him or her that a greeting card is waiting at an included hyperlink. Clicking on the link will take the recipient to his or her e-postcard.
Most e-postcard services are free of charge, though some require membership and a monthly fee. All services provide an easy point-and-click interface for customers to scroll through available cards organized by category. E-cards generally include eye-catching graphics, animation and sound, and allow the sender to type a personalized message that appears on the e-card. Paid services might offer more advanced types of e-postcards, such as allowing the sender to write dialog for a talking character who appears in the card.
To send an e-postcard, the sender supplies personal information to the website hosting the service. This includes name and a valid email address, plus the email address of the recipient. Generally this information is sent in plain text (unencrypted) and should not be considered private. Before supplying the email address of a friend, family member or associate, be sure the person does not mind you compromising his or her address by giving it to a website. Some people use “throw-away” or free, Web-based email addresses for the Internet.
Phishing schemes have used the cloak of popular e-card services to trick people into clicking on an email link that actually installs malicious software or has another nefarious purpose. If you receive email notification that an e-postcard is waiting for you, look for the identity of the sender (giver) in the email and be sure you recognize this person before clicking the link.
An e-postcard can be a great way to drop a little cheer into someone’s day, whether it’s a special occasion or just an opportunity to let someone know you’re thinking of him or her. The vast array of available e-cards is greater than you’ll find in any brick and mortar shop, and inventories grow daily. Even if you don’t have anyone in mind, perusing e-card services can be a lot of fun.
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