For most people, National Pizza Party Day (coming up on May 20!) is just another mostly-irrelevant internet holiday, but on 123Greetings.com, it’s worth advertising smack dab on the front page.
“Join millions of pizza lovers across the nation and celebrate the day by inviting family and friends for a slice,” reads the site’s copy. Evict the old grouch in the back of your mind who doesn’t let you enjoy things and indulge in the uncomplicated joy that is celebrating minor holidays. Why not celebrate World Ocean Day or No Tobacco Day with a tongue-in-cheek e-card? It’s the same type of frivolous fun as Facebook pokes — a relic of a bygone era — and it’s my current online obsession.
There are e-cards for everything under the sun and it’s a brilliant, grandma-style way to show your friends and family you’re thinking about them. With customizable music and messages, obscene color combinations, and old-school layouts, 123Greetings.com has ridden the circle from cool to cringe and back.
The cards are camp in a graphic design is my passion way, an aesthetic regression complete with neon images and comic sans and blinking GIFs. It’s hardly above the retro atrocities in the Museum of Web Design’s sublime “Bad and Ugly Websites” gallery and it gives you the kitsch of 1999 (albeit with all the trackers of 2022).
Send a trite message in a dumb font with some tinny tune, and you may get some questions. For one, the email that reaches your friends looks rather suspicious, and vigilant internet users may reflexively avoid clicking odd links in their inbox. But if you’re worried your recipient will delete your heartfelt message without enjoying it, check for an email from 123Greetings alerting you when the card has been viewed.
Your ad blocker might do some heavy lifting — otherwise, you might be dodging a minefield of popups. 123Greetings is great, but I’d be lying if I said it was perfect!
Never change — The Wayback Machine reveals that the site has barely changed in two decades and Google Trends shows that searches for 123Greetings are way down from their peak periods in the mid-2000s and early 2010s. The Careers section of the website still capitalizes the “I” in internet; the media kit includes activity stats from the years 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009.
But the site’s blog is regularly updated. Last week, an official tweet wished the world “Happy Tulips Day / I love you TULIP much! Who needs to hear this?” — a delightfully disjointed and perfect message. I did need to hear that, 123Greetings. Amid the Elon Musk Twitter frenzy, 123Greetings chimed in to remind the world to send congratulations e-cards. “Dear Elon Musk, here’s us wishing you CONGRATULATIONS on buying Twitter,” an example card reads.