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Evite's Inertia

While I was trying out the iPhone, I made a pleasant discovery: I could finally use Evite outside my home and office. The popular event-planning site does not come in a mobile version readable on cell phones, but the iPhone's Safari browser could display the full-sized version.

Then, though, I had to ask: Why isn't there a mobile edition of Evite? When does the company plan to remedy that obvious oversight? (For that matter, why can't you subscribe to a feed of your upcoming events in your RSS reader? Where's the webcal feed for your calendar program?)

Evite's answers boil down to "we're working on it."

"We have a couple of exciting developments on the mobile front that we've been working on for a while," wrote marketing/public-relations vice president Lariayn Payne in an e-mail last week. The first one will be a "send to phone" feature that will zap the details of an event to your cell phone via SMS, starting sometime in late August. A phone-compatible version of the site--along with a downloadable application for some unspecified smartphones--will follow sometime in the fall.

Those sound like good and worthy upgrades to the site--but they should have been deployed a year or two ago.

Usually, when a site takes a nap on the train tracks like this, a company like Google promptly runs it over. (Look at what happened to AOL's MapQuest.) But Evite doesn't seem to have any serious rivals. Google may have an excellent online calendar and Web-mail service, but it has yet to combine the two. And smaller startups like Socializr, Planypus, MyPunchbowl, Zvents and Eventful have yet to gain much traction--a huge problem in a market where success depends so heavily on getting enough people to use your site. (Many of these would-be rivals also fail to provide mobile versions of themselves.)

Maybe I'm missing something here. Are you still content with Evite, or have you moved on to another site? If so, which one did you pick and why?

By Rob Pegoraro  |  August 6, 2007; 10:10 AM ET
Categories:  Gripes  
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