Evite Redesign Fosters Pay-Per-Click Ads

Evite, the site where people can send invitations and manage guest lists for private parties, unveiled a beta redesign that includes a new look and a broader scope.

The updated Evite lets people promote public events to its entire community of users, create personal info pages with a photo, and browse public events. The final Evite 2.0 product is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2004.

Los Angeles, Calif.-based Evite, an operating company of InteractiveCorp , built new technology in-house, such as the ability to search for public events by zip code and radius or by browsing through pre-selected categories. A recommendation engine will give individuals personalized information, and “throttles” will let individuals and the community of users give feedback on whether listings are appropriate or interesting.

Evite was formerly completely ad-supported, with CPMs ranging from $8 to $50, and a few pay-for-performance relationships, such as a deal to send appropriate users to the Red Envelope site to buy gifts. Evite president John Foley said that the remodel opens four new revenue streams for the company. It may offer paid premium listings for public events; enable paid registration for events through a relationship with TicketWeb, another InteractiveCorp company. In the long term, when site functionality is further developed, Evite may move to a paid or subscription model; and the public events focus will allow the site to integrate pay-per-click local listings from InteractiveCorp’s CitySearch.

For example, if someone is planning a party, Evite might suggest several local restaurants or bars, some of which might be paid listings from CitySearch. Foley said that Evite already has integrated its technology with that of CitySearch, and he expects to further the integration. While CitySearch employs professional editors to enter events and destinations, Evite will let individuals expand its database. “We plan to work closely with them on sharing events, so that both of our databases are richer,” he said.

At this point, “pay-per-click is a very tiny line item for us,” Foley said. “When we suggest to you where you might want to have your event, I’d like to maintain editorial integrity and say, ‘Here are the places we think you’d like, and of these five, one is an Evite supporter.'”

Earlier this week, InteractiveCorp chairman Barry Diller promised investors that within a year, his properties would work together to create new revenue opportunities. The Evite announcement is the first step in making good on that promise. “Mr. Diller is not forcing integration where it doesn’t make sense,” Foley said. “When it does, because we are all mostly local and interactive, there are a lot of integration opportunities that are organic.”

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