Everyone loves free stuff. I do too!

In fact, the most popular online invitation service in the US offers free options, and that, along with their seniority, is why they are widely used. But the labor, web hosting, and maintenance that goes into an online invite has to be paid for by something. And 9 times out of 10, that something is ADS.

What's wrong with ads? If they make things free for me, they're actually good, right?

When your guests view your invite, you hope that they'll do just one thing. Reply. Click yes, maybe, or no, so you know how much food to prepare or how much to pay for a venue. But the whole purpose of an ad is to grab your guest's attention and make her click on it. It can't be a small, unobtrusive, text link. It has to be loud, flashy, and noisy. (See the image of Times Square, above.)

Imagine this. You and your family are new in town. Your child's birthday is coming up and you have booked a venue, made cupcakes and bought decorations. You really hope lots of her classmates can make it. Being new, you haven't had a chance to make an impression on the other parents, maybe you haven't even met some of them. You create an online invitation, click send, cross your fingers and wait.

The mom of your first guest receives the invite. Sounds fun, she thinks. Her daughter would love to attend. As she looks for the button to RSVP she sees an ad for a pretty shade of lipstick. Ooh, that's nice! Then something else catches her eye.

Oh my gosh. Beyonce is performing downtown. Tickets are on sale, NOW!

She moves her mouse to click on it, but then she sees another ad, this time for

STAR WARS Episode VIII - in theaters, NOW!

The game is over. Instead of replying to your invite, she races off to the theater, thinking, I must know who Rey's parents are!!?

What's more, relying on ads, and providing something for free can mean that improvements in design and functionality are no longer needed. Free products can afford to be terrible, because they're free. Charging just a small amount, could lead to a lot of improvement, don't you think?

Choosing a well designed invite, with no ads, increases the chances of getting a reply. They're more functional, because they have to be. They convey the personality, thoughtfulness, and effort of the host. Plus, they're just more fun.

Image Credit: Hotel Mela