With current tech trends, your inbox may be full of them right now. E-cards, carrying messages of “Happy Holidays,” “Happy Birthday,” “I’m Sorry,” and various stages of romance flood e-mail accounts with cute, fuzzy, make-your-insides-warm images and songs. And, truth be told, they’re usually deleted after the minute it takes to watch them.

I’m guilty of it just the same.

“Mainstream (e)-cards tend to be sappy and maudlin. In a word, they suck,” said Nancy Gomez, who decided to try to change all that by starting Rattlebox.com. It’s a new e-card website that prides itself on a new kind of card. “They have attitude,” says Gomez.

Rattlebox e-cards try to keep from “sucking” by using footage from over 40,000 hours of popular television show. The site is also open to visitor-submitted videos, and users can make money by submitting popular videos for others to use.

What I found most appealing about Rattlebox is the amount of power a user has over the card they send. A unique feature of the video content is the fact that the clips are totally customizable.

In the majority of E-cards on the internet, the greeting and/or closing is the only thing that a sender gets to customize. However, this restriction does not affect the Rattlebox cards. Every message is presented with a default script, but every line in the card can be changed, giving senders the opportunity to customize the card specifically for any recipient.

It’s almost as if you’re the producer of each card you choose to send. “We’re very excited about this unique feature, since it gives people the opportunity to really interact with the media, personalize it in a whole new way, and communicate and connect,” Gomez said.

This amount of editing power users have, plus the opportunity to submit their own material for cards, is what founders hope will attract visitors to the site. “People are drawn to social networking sites (like MySpace and Facebook) because they want to express themselves on their own terms. Rattlebox lets them do that,” Gomez points out.

Rattlebox continues with this approach with the option for users to send their cards through Instant Message or post them in blogs and networking sites for their own visitors to see.

Like other e-card sites, Rattlebox offers cards for a wide selection of occasions, such as birthdays and holidays. Although, unlike the majority of competitive sites, Rattlebox offers cards that they sort into categories like “Insults” and “Provocative”. Quite a few of these cards are preempted with a cautionary message, warning that the following videos are “probably (most likely) offensive. If you are easily offended, you should go. We understand.” Try finding a message like that on a Hallmark e-card.

So the next time you want to send someone an e-card that’s not going to get deleted- say a nice “Happy New Year” card- check out Rattlebox.com. You may actually get a thank you card in return this time.

About The Author

Jocelyn Carleton is a journalism student at Quinnipiac University

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