Using Anyvite with your Phone (and we don’t mean iPhone)

Flip PhoneUsing Anyvite with your phone is a topic which we thought most people were familiar with, but based upon recent conversations, it appears to be an aspect of Anyvite which is still relatively unknown.  Our intent with the service has always been to make it as easy and accessible as possible, which means gearing the functionality that we build towards the largest and most available audience.  We did this by building out mobile functionality using text messaging as the communication channel, so that everyone would be able to take advantage of it.

For event organizers specifically, managing invited guests on the go has always been a hassle.  There are a million and one things that could go wrong, resulting in the need to change a necessary element of the event, which a lot of times requires updating guests at the last minute.  We built in the functionality to allow the event organizer to do just that using only a single text message from their phone, so that they never had to worry about being by a computer to notify their guests of changes.

To get started using Anyvite with your phone, simply log in and navigate to the “Contact Info” section under the “Settings” tab, and add in your phone number along with your service provider (AT&T, Verizon, etc.).  Then, go to the Notifications page and customize the types of notifications that you would like to receive on your phone.  Every time you, or one of your friends, creates an invitation for an event, you’ll receive a text message with the relevant details.

Now here comes the really slick part of the service, the communication is not just a one way street so you can respond back to the text message you received with different commands for Anyvite.  If you’re an event organizer, and want to notify your guests of something from your phone (as discussed above), simply reply to the text message you received with the following command:

To send a message to all invited guests (no quotes):
msg "enter your message here without the quotes"

If you want to RSVP or comment on an invitation that you received, simply send one of these commands:

To RSVP yes:
rsvp y

To RSVP no:
rsvp n

To add a comment to the invitation (no quotes):
comment "enter your comment here without quotes"

If you forget any of these options, simply reply back to an Anyvite text message with the word “help” and we’ll send you a text message with a list of options.  It’s as simple as that!

Oh, and if you do happen to have an iPhone or web enabled phone, you can always use the Anyvite mobile site to manage your invitations too.  Try it out and let us know what you think.

Profile pictures are now optional

Picture 25

From the moment that we began building Anyvite, our thought and assumption was always that people creating and viewing invitations would want to be able to see profile pictures of other invited guests.  We’ve held strong to this idea for well over a year now, but as hard-headed as we may be, there have been enough plausible scenarios where adding in the ability to disable profile pictures made sense.  So as of today, invitation creators now have the ability to disable profile pictures from their invitations.  This ultimately turns the guest list from a “3 across” setup to a list view, as shown to the right.

This new functionality can be toggled by going to the “Edit Details” section of the invitation, and expanding the “Additional Options” at the very bottom of the page.  There is an option there for “Show Profile Pictures”.  Simply uncheck the box and save.

As always, we’d love to hear your feedback on the new functionality, and anything else we could do to improve the service.  Keep an eye out for more great updates in the near future!

Happy Earth Day from Anyvite!

Just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Earth Day!  You can do your part today by choosing to send online invitations instead of the dead-tree paper kind. :)

* Photo Courtesy of Prabhu B

There are better alternatives to Evite

It’s no secret that Evite, the online invitation site, is regarded by many as one of the worst sites on the Internet.  In 2007, Time Magazine listed them in their article about the “5 Worst Websites“, and countless other blog posts and print articles have said variations of the same thing.

A Typical Invitation from Evite

An Actual Invitation from Evite

In the past few days, the topic then of alternatives to Evite has again resurfaced and spurred discussions in many different forums, from CNET comments to Twitter posts, about what alternatives exist, as well as which one is the best.  Apart from the rather obvious fact that many people are unhappy with the current offering and are looking for something better, the most interesting aspect is that even the tech savvy “in crowd” are not aware of the multitude of offerings available to them.  For example, CNET published a post of “10 Evite Alternatives“, but failed to cover some of the main competitors, rather opting to include services which have become obsolete in the past year or two.  Other popular tech media analysts are asking their Twitter followers for help in finding an alternative, unaware of entire sites devoted to the question “what alternatives are there to Evite?”.

If headway is ever going to be made in the race to overtake the popular, but antiquated service, then something is going to have to be done to make it known to the general consumer that they aren’t constrained to a poor user experience and overwhelming number of ads.  EviteAlternatives is a good start, but a concerted effort by many will eventually be needed to help make headway in this campaign.  We’re as dedicated to this as many out there, and would love to hear your thoughts and ideas on spreading the word.

Working Towards a Better Address Book, Easier Ways to Share Invitations, and More Color Schemes

It’s been a while since we last wrote, but be rest assured that we’ve been busy. In the past couple of weeks, we’ve done a lot of backend updates to make the site faster, handle larger invitations, and fix a number of pesky bugs.

Those are some things that you may not have noticed, but one thing we’re sure that you did was the new version of the address book. The most common request that we receive is for a better way to manage invited guests. The new address book is the first step towards significantly improving the process of managing your guest list. Rather than waiting for all parts of the process to be fully complete, we decided to release the parts that were ready, and get feedback on what people like and don’t like. This is your chance to help shape a critical part of the service, so we’d love to hear your thoughts (via the feedback tab of course).

Another feature which we’re really excited about is the ability to share invitations quickly and easily on Twitter, Facebook, and a host of other services. All you have to do is set an invitation to “Open” and the options will automatically show up once you send the invitation. Try it out and let us know what you think!

Finally, we’re continuing to add additional customization features to Anyvite. In addition to new designs and categories, we’ve also been adding new color scheme options. You can find the color schemes below the invitation preview on the design page. Simply click the arrows to the left and right of the color schemes to scroll through all of the choices. Experiment with a few and let us know what you like and/or what you think is missing and should be added in.

Alright, those were a few of the updates. Look for more in the coming weeks as we continue to build out the new manage guest list functionality and add in some new features. In the meantime, start creating your “Cinco de Mayo” invitations before it’s too late!