MyPunchbowl – Party Planning for Hosts

In a previous post I mentioned how I played with Socializr and wasn’t overly impressed by the early release. One of the folks at MyPunchbowl.com sent me an email asking me to take a look at their site and share my thoughts. I spent about 20 minutes playing with MyPunchbowl.com this evening and I think it is different than anything else I have seen in the event planning space.

Whereas most of the other tools I have used or tested (Evite, Renkoo, Socializr) seem to be focused on event distribution (getting a cool template, sending out email, and managing RSVPs), MyPunchbowl is much more focused on the life of the host — setting up an invite, inviting folks from your own existing contacts, and sharing content after the party.

Overall, I like MyPunchbowl. It lacks one key feature, namely a good base of templates or other pre-formatted invitation types that would make it easier to crank out events. However, it has a lot of other features that I do like and is much less pushy than the Socializr gamma that I tested. I wouldn’t describe it as revolutionary, but it is an evolutionary step in the right direction. Here are a few features I like:
Save the Date vs. Actual Invitation – I like the fact that early on the MyPunchbowl application allows me to create a save-the-date as opposed to an actual invitation. This is a nice touch.
Flickr Integration – As a Flickr user, I find the fact that MyPunchbowl makes it easier to pull in pictures from Flickr or to sent out pictures from Flickr after the fact to be a nice touch. A number of the other services force me to use photo services that I don’t care to use.
Contact Manager – MyPunchbowl makes use of the Plaxo widget to make contact import really easy. Also, it allows you to paste a list of return or comma separated email addresses in an easy manner. One of my top frustrations with Evite is that I cannot easily cut-and-paste email address I have into their system — I end up wasting a lot of time formatting information to make it Evite friendly.
Support for Video – The current incarnation of the service allows for support of uploading related videos to YouTube. How cool! Most of my party guests don’t take video, but it’s nice to know that it’s an option now.

I think MyPunchbowl has figured out a few of the little things that make life easier for the host without being too in-your-face about the viral marketing feature. It’s definitely a service worth checking out.