Be my Web valentine
February 8, 1999
by Judy Heim
(IDG) -- So you think cyberspace is ruled by heartless geeks? Ah, not so. Nowhere is Valentine's Day celebrated so playfully, so passionately as on the Web.
Where else can you send an animated Cupid's Day card for free (at Blue Mountain Arts)?
Ben & Jerry's will create custom renditions of Greek mythology for you when you and your co-workers type your names, favorite adjectives, names of office equipment and body parts into the company's Web site.
In the same vein, the Nando Times' "Cyrano" will pen love letters to coworkers with revelations like "Your elbows are my anchor in the stormy sea of life" when you provide names and favorite adjectives. Be warned that whether you select Cyrano's "co-worker (platonic)" mode or "co-worker (suggestive)" one, none of Cyrano's poetry will endear you to your employer's personnel department.
Cyrano will also write break-up letters.
You're safer at the cyberhome of scissors-maker Fiskars, where you can learn to cut elaborate Valentines from fax paper.
Are you afraid your loved one will think you're cheap? You can spend money on cards at (did you guess?) Hallmark Cards, where they cost $2.50 a pop.
You also can send animated teddy bears with names like "Fluffy Bunny Snuggles" at Virtual Hugs & Kisses.
And if you've got your very own home page, you can link it to a CyberHug Web Ring in which everyone shares pictures of roses, Paul Anka songs, and poems about pillow fights.
Pucker up for a virtual kiss
You can dole out e-mail kisses through TheKiss.com. Choose from "custom" or "pre-puckered" like the Vampire or the NetTalkLive Kiss.
At Blow a Kiss you can imbue your kisses with soundtracks that include slurps and alien grunts.
And at the Virtual Florist you can e-mail pictures of bouquets of flowers, but Virtual Florist hopes you'll spring for the real thing instead.
Little gifties galore
If you missed the Victoria's Secret live Web runway model show earlier this month, you may not be in the mood for online shopping. But there are still bargains that will light up the heart of your loved one.
At Yahoo Auctions, a search for "engagement ring" will give you listings of several hundred rings, most used, some with bids as low as $3.
A search for the words "rhinestone heart" in the online flea market eBay brings up more than five dozen items for sale, including several heart-shaped tiaras and many reproductions of things that went down on the Titanic, in the movie at least. But alas, most were without any bids whatsoever. "All my Valentine's stuff has gone begging," despairs Sandra, a regular seller of jewelry on eBay.
Vermont Teddy Bear staffers are marveling at all the men buying $70 to $300 bears, and typing in marriage proposals to be delivered with the bears. "It's amazing that people with something as important as a proposal are placing their trust in our Web site to get it right," says Cal Workman, public "elations" manager.
On the flip side, the folks at 1-800-Flowers are surprised by the number of women who are ordering flowers for men through their site. "A couple years ago our online sales was male-dominated," says Ken Young, director of communications. "Now women account for 40 percent of Web sales overall, and are placing 20 percent of our Valentine's orders." Young says sales are up 90 percent over last year.
The sexes are also reaching détente in chocolate. Women have always accounted for most online orders from Godiva Chocolates, says Adam Rockmore, director of global marketing. But Valentine's Day is bringing more men to Godiva's site--and overall Web sales have more than doubled this year.
If you compute with kids on your lap or peering over your shoulder, head to Hewlett-Packard's Cupid's Corner for instructions and downloadable art for crafting Victorian Valentines, wrapping paper, and more with your printer.
Better Homes & Gardens offers a selection of Valentine's paper craft projects for young children, including V-Day glasses and pop-up cards.
And Disney and Family Fun Magazine's Family.Com offers crafts and Valentine's games like the Cupid's Tree Scavenger Hunt, as does BillyBear4Kids.Com.
When the kids grow bored and your teeth are clenched because your spouse sent a virtual bouquet when you wanted the real thing, check out Hearst's HomeArts. The magazine publisher offers a library of Valentine's Day self-help articles, including "How Much Romance Can You Stand?"
Judy Heim is a contributing editor at PC World Online.
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