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postcrossing.com

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5 Reviews

A project that invites everyone to send and receive postcards from random places in the world.

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      13.01.2012 14:23
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      A fabulous hobby!

      Dear Dooyoo community, today I want to tell you about a hobby of mine - Postcrossing!

      *What's Postcrossing?*
      Postcrossing is a project made for exchanging postcards all over the world!
      While it may sound like a project for avid stamp collectors at first, it is so much more - though it's certainly helpful if you are fond of foreign stamps!
      Postcrossing makes it possible to recieve postcards from all over the world, which is very exciting - it's so much nicer to check your mailbox and await more than just bills and adverts.


      *How does it work?*
      When you sign up and want to start sending cards, you are given addresses from all over the world, one at a time. Then you send a postcard to this individual. Every time you get ready to send a postcard, you get a code with the address you are going to send your card to. You have to write that code on your postcard, too. The recipient will use it to register your postcard on the website so it is documented that you have really sent it. As soon as the postcard is registered by the recipient, your own address is unlocked and will be given to another random user who wants to send a postcard. That person can be from all over the world, so you never know where you will get a postcard from next! So when you send a postcard to the Netherlands, the one you might recieve next might well be from China - you never know!


      *Getting started*
      To sign up, you simply go to www.postcrossing.com and give your information. Of course, you have to give state your real name and address so the postcards will arrive correctly. But don't worry - your address is not displayed openly and will only be given out when someone wants to send a postcard and you are the one chosen by the system!
      You also get to fill out a profile. You don't have to write anything in there, but it's much nicer for the person who is sending you a postcard to know something about you. You can write whatever you like. Usually, people write something about themselves. You can also state what postcards you would like to recieve best - for example, city views, animals or cartoon cards. A lot of people use their profile to tell their sender what they would like best.


      *Postcard heaven!*
      Once you're all set up, you can start sendinga postcard. In the beginning, you can demand up to five addresses to send postcards, too. Then you simply write your postcard to the given recipient, write the code you were given on it so the recipient can register it when it has arrived and wait. As soon as your first postcard arrives, your address will be given to another random user who sends you a card with a code as well. Then you do the same your last recipient has done with your card - you register it with the code on the card to notify the sender that it has arrived!


      *As time goes by...*
      It didn't take long for my first postcards to arrive! My first ones went to China, Finland and the USA. Of course, the further a country is from your home, the longer it takes. But after two weeks I already recieved my first postcards! I was very excited and liked how some senders had taken my postcard wishes seriously. I got really nice cartoon cards, vintage pictures and even a really wicked postcard of the band Kiss!
      Every time you reach a certain amount of registered sent cards, your maximum of travelling postcards gets higher. When you start, you can send up to five cards at the same time and then have to wait until some have arrived and are registered. I think that is a good way of making sure people don't claim twenty addressed at the same time and never get around sending the cards off. As you reach certain numbers, you can send even more. I have sent 41 cards so far and am now allowed to send nine cards at the same time!


      *At your own speed*
      You alone decide how many postcards you send! You only get an address of a recipient if you requested it - so when you don't feel like it or don't have the time to send a card, you can just leave it. You only recieve a card after you have sent one, so there is no guilt involved when you're too busy to postcross!


      *Your wall of postcards*
      Postcrossing also allows you to create a wall of postcards by taking pictures of cards after you have recieved them. Your wall is a section of your profile. There you can see your sent postcards as well as the ones sent to you. I love taking pictures of mine as soon as they arrive so I can keep a record of them.
      Taking a picture of the card can be done by both the sender and the recipient. If you want to make sure your sent postcard will be displayed as well, make sure to take a picture and upload it before you send it - some people forget or simply don't have the devices to take pictures. Your postcard will only be displayed to the recipient when he or she has recieved it, so it won't spoil the fun!


      *What to write, what to write...!*
      On my postcards I usually tell the person something about myself or pick up a topic they have started on their profile. When they have mentioned their pets, I tell them about mine. If the recipient seems to be fond of music, I tell them what music I enjoy and what concerts I have attented and liked! It's really up to you! Some people don't write anything but "Greetings from [country]!", but I am always the happiest about cards telling me something about the sender and their life! But really, it's up to you.


      *Does it always work?*
      As it is with mail, sometimes postcards get lost - but out of 41 times, it has only happened to me once so far. In the beginning, I was very worried this would happen a lot when I was about to get started, but Postcrossing members are surprisingly reliable!
      The postcard not arriving doesn't have any negative consequences for you - after all it's not your fault when it disappears on the way.


      *The website*
      The website looks really nice and is very easy to handle. Registering is done quickly and is not complicated at all. When you are logged in, all the things you can do on the website and with your profile are listed on the left and it is very easy to navigate. The website is also fast and reliable. I've been registered for almost four months now and it has never been out of order so far. Uploading pictures to your wall of postcards is also quick and easy. I've never had any trouble navigating!


      *Why I like it so much*
      I think Postcrossing is a beautiful way of connecting internationally. It actually gives you a possibility to lear something about countries and people from all over the world. I have recieved cards of Asian temples and people have written to me about their culture, which is really interesting! I like cultural exchange so much and I almost feel like the project is making an anti-war statement, à la "Don't make war, send postcards!" and it feels incredible to be part of something like that.
      I also think it's great that Postcrossing keeps you writing! Nowadays we do so much on the computer and often don't write for days! I like writing so much and am glad to do it with such a nice purpose.
      A great aspect, as I mentioned before, is the pleasant surprise of finding something nice in your mailbox! I love finding a new postcard in my mailbox and sitting down to read it. Some are so nice that I plan to put them on my wall! I've gotten all kinds by now - Asian temples, musicians, cartoons from all over the world, pictures of little dogs (which I requested in my profile!) and so many more.


      *It's free*
      Postcrossing is absolutely free in regards of using the website. Of course you have to pay for your stamps and cards, but since you can choose if and when to send a card, there is no trouble.
      However, you can make a donation to the project which I plan to do as soon as I can. How much you want to donate is up to you, but I really want to do it because the creators of the project have to pay for the webspace!


      *Conclusion*
      Postcrossing has become a great hobby of mine! I love showing my cards to my friends and family. My parents always ask me if I've gotten a new one and my father is a stamp collector and loves checking out the interesting stamps on my cards!
      The project is so much fun and I can never wait until my cards arrive. As soon as the recipient have registered my card, I send a new one. Sending them is just as much fun as recieving them!
      I really recommend Postcrossing! I am amazed by how well it works and how much fun it is. So if you love writing and cultural exchange, start giving some happiness to mailboxes all over the world!

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        19.02.2010 15:39
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        An interesting hobby to spice up your postal deliveries!

        I've recently got a bit of a random hobby which is brightening up my days one delivery of mail at a time. I'm one of those people who will run excitedly to the doormat upon hearing the postman, sure that even though I'm expecting nothing exciting, there will be something anyway. Alas no, and I sulk for a few seconds, most days.

        I stumbled across Postcrossing randomly whilst surfing the web and thinking it sounded fun signed up and sent out my first few postcards. The concept is pretty simple. You sign up, providing your name and address. You then request addresses (initially up to five at one time, for anti-spam purposes, but increases by one each 20 cards sent) to send a postcard to, writing a unique code on each so that when it arrives, the recipient will sign onto the site and log it. In return, your address will go to the top of the list, and you will receive a postcard from a completely different, random user, out of the thousands upon thousands of registered Postcrossers.

        After signing up I decided to try get the ball rolling and requested the full five addresses, sending postcards to Finland, Taiwan, China, Lithuania and Belarus. Each user has a profile on which they can let you know a bit about them, which you can view upon receiving their address. You then wait for them to log it, and soon your postcards should start rolling in.

        I only signed up 12 days ago, and despite drawing countries which take forever to receive mail, I've already received two postcards. However, I think this was due to a fluke, as my second card was only logged yesterday and the one I got this morning was postmarked six days ago from Portugal! I can only think the two senders clicked at just the same time when requesting an address. Lucky me though!

        Of course, the random nature of the system you can be very lucky in always receiving cards from interesting folk, or get ugly pictures of car parks with just the words "Happy Postcrossing" on the back. Personally, I write random things such as what I ate for breakfast, words I find funny, anything like that. I also like when the member is from a country where I can speak the language, as I get to practise.

        Also pot luck is the user whose address you end up with. Some members are total postcard Nazis and, despite the site explaining you can say which types of card you like but not demand specifics, make outlandish requests, some even asking that the card be sent unwritten in an envelope. I'm sorry, but how is that fun? Although I've been lucky enough to get normal people so far, or those with no info at all, I'm not at all going to follow their demands! In fact, if I draw one of the notorious crazy cat ladies (who demand pictures of cats, always), I will send a dog!!

        Although I find it very tempting to request a new address as soon as my cards reach their destinations, sending postcards is not as cheap as it would seem. Fortunately you are under no obligation to send more cards, so you can stop whenever you want and you'll receive a return for each you send, then no more. I ended up buying a pack of 100 cards online for £6, which is WAY cheapear than buying individually (postcards are a rip off!), and cross my fingers a bit that I'll get a member in Europe now and again so the stamp's cheaper!

        So far, I'm really enjoying Postcrossing. I'm very curious and crazy about travelling so while I'm broke it's a nice way to learn a bit about the rest of the world. I also have a few penpals, and it can be a good way to make new friends worldwide because when logging a card, you can include a message to the sender, which can prompt further correspondence. Once my cards start getting received, though, it'll make me look really popular at post time!

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          17.11.2009 22:27
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          PostCrossing.com is a website which facilitates the exchanging of lettermail with other users at random. It was first launched in 2005 and has steadily grown in popularity. Alexa Traffic Research currently ranks the website as being the 40126th most accessed website in the world. It sees most of its success in Finland where it is the 4029th most accessed site. Here in the United Kingdom, its ranking is 41297.

          I first stumbled across PostCrossing.com by pure chance. I was surfing another website which featured a discussion regarding postage stamp and postcard exchange, and the group leader had included a link to PostCrossing. I decided to check it out and immediately found myself registering. The registration process requires the user to input typical details including a username, password and e-mail address. It is also required of the user to input his or her postal address for later exchanging with others. The privacy policy states that postal information will not be disclosed to third parties and is only provided during the exchange process to another user. After the registration process, I was directed to a page which allowed me to fill in other public profile information including my mail interests and my general location which is shown to other users upon request.

          To begin the PostCrossing.com experience one must first initiate contact with others. Newly registered accounts may only request up to five postal addresses which are eligible to receive mail. This seems mainly to prevent malicious users from accessing the database to harvest information or simply wreak havoc on the project by removing addresses from the sender's pool. To receive an address, a user must click on "send a postcard" and agree to basic terms and conditions which effectively state you must send an item of mail to the pending address. After this agreement is made then an address is displayed along with the user's profile details to gain further insight on what he or she may like to receive. The accepted norm is to send a postcard but letters are also acceptable. The site allows 60 days for mail to be received at the destination before being deemed undelivered and I find this should allow plenty of time even in the current Christmas rush and industrial action conditions. Each address also includes an identification number which must be included with the correspondence. Upon being delivered, the receiver would then input this number into the "register a postcard" section which tells the database a certain item has been received from a certain user. This immediately allows the sender to become eligible to receive mail and inserts his or her address into the pool. When another user clicks "send a postcard" then it is likely that he or she will receive the original sender's address. The project effectively creates an endless cycle of sending and receiving provided each sender actually does send and the receiver is able to register the ID number given.

          I sent out my first batch of five postcards about seven days ago and one has been received thus far. Each received postcard generates an automatic e-mail to the address used when registering which states the postcard has been received, and any personal message which the recipient may have included. In this instance I received a short thank you message. Now, I'm eligible to receive at least one item of mail in return for successfully sending one. When all cards have been received successfully, my address will have been entered into the sending pool a total of five times which would allow me to receive five pieces of mail. Needless to say I'm quite excited for what could be coming. At the moment there is no ability to select a specific country to send to inside the official exchange system. The system lists the most recent senders in order of the recipient's registration and new senders access the addresses in this way. I enjoy this sort of randomness as I now await mail which could be coming from half way down the street or half way around the world. The website states that 304 addresses have been accessed in the past hour so I'm confident someone in the world now has my postal details.

          The website is easy to navigate as each menu button is clearly labeled in white text offset by a light blue background. The content text is the standard black font on white background. I don't find either aspect to be particularly hard on the eyes. The server response times are fast and I'm never waiting too long to receive content from the website. Independent testing suggests that the "send a postcard" page takes 5.6 seconds to load when using a broadband connection. I personally don't find this to be too much of a wait as I could address one postcard while requesting a second address.

          PostCrossing's main fault is its forum community. I find the layout to be extremely poor in that it requires the user many clicks to reach a certain area of the forum. This is slightly compensated by the availability of the "sub forums" topics underneath each main heading but unless one is familiar with where he or she is going it could become a confusing hassle to try and find certain discussions. I also find the forum community itself to be quite cold. There seems to be little vibrancy and each message comes across as slightly robotic. While this doesn't affect the actual PostCrossing exchange, it does make me wonder if the mail I send is truly appreciated or if it is just being gathered to enhance a collection of some sort. It should also be noted that all postage costs and card prices are the responsibility of the user and PostCrossing does not offer any financial assistance in these matters.

          PostCrossing.com offers a relatively inexpensive hobby which I'm finding fun to participate in. At the moment, three postcards traveling to the "rest of the world" Royal Mail airmail price tariff and two postcards traveling to the "European countries" airmail tariff set me back £2.98. I would happily recommend the website who enjoy receiving social mail and don't mind spending a little in return.

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          17.11.2009 18:04
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          Addictive and wonderful!

          I'm addictet to this site!
          In our times writting postcards and letters became not so popular. Now a lot of people prefer text somebody or just write e-mail. Few clicks and done.

          Postcrossing - here you can send and receive postcards from all around the world! Learn new cultures, meet interesting people from other countries.

          First time when I heard about postcrossing I was so excited! I wanted to register immidiately. I choose 5 people and runed to post office to buy some postcards. When I put them to mailbox my heart started to beat faster. 3 days later I got e-mail that postcard sent by me just arrived to Finland. Then in next few days I received my first postcard. Guess from which country? Yes! It was Finland ;) Beautiful Moomin's Daddy! I love Moomins by the way ;)

          After few days, weeks rest of my postcards arrived carefully to their destination places.
          Nowadays I've got quite a lot pictures from all around the world and my collection still grow in fast tempo!

          Recommended for everyone in every age. Nice and funny and above all - cheap ;)
          I can't look forward to receive postcard from you! ;)

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            11.12.2006 17:12
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            send and receive proper postcards from people across the world

            I grew up at a time when people still wrote proper letters to each other, when email and SMS and instant messaging was never heard of (not by 'normal' people anyway, computer geeks must have known already). It was the time when a lot of younger as well as older people had pen friends where you regularly sat down and put pen to paper and wrote a letter to your friend either in the same country or some exotic place abroad letting them know what's been going on. You then got on with your life while you waited for a reply.

            Nowadays we use mobile phones to call and send texts or when we have access to the computer we send a quick email. If we want a chat with someone from the other side of the earth we use instant messenger programmes that allow us to type the conversation. Letter writing is a dying art and hardly anyone does it.

            But there is a website on the internet that combines modern technology with old fashioned letter writing - or rather the shorter version of a postcard, or viewcard if you want to be fussy. The website is called postcrossing.com has been in existence for just over 18 months. I can't remember seeing it advertised much so most people probably hear about it by word of mouth. At least that was how I found out about it.

            When I signed up to postcrossing.com the website was only 4 months old and had about 3000 members and in total about 35.000 postcards had been sent across the world. Now, after 18 months there are almost 18.000 members from 133 countries and the amount of postcards that have been received is well over 330.000 with another 30.000 currently in the worldwide postal system awaiting delivery. It's amazing how this little idea has taken off. And to think that the person who started it all doesn't even get paid and you can, if you want help the site you can donate via paypal.


            *** www.postcrossing.com ***

            Once you arrive on the homepage of postcrossing you will notice how simple the design is, no loud colours, all information contained on the first page with easy access to any other part of the site. The pages load very fast with a couple of exceptions but that's mainly due to the amount of data that has to be retrieved before it opens. The pages you will use on a day-to-day basis are very quick to load. There are virtually no adverts, no pop-ups or banner ads. The only one is a tiny google ad link at the top.

            I'm not going to go through every link on the page explaining what each of them does, if you're interested all you need to do is go to the site and try out for yourself. In most cases you do not need to be logged in to open them, and you can read around the site before you decide whether you want to participate or not.


            BECOMING A MEMBER:

            Becoming a member is simple. You click on the 'Register' link and it will take you through the process.

            You will start with a page where they determine where you live (a rough map will show your town on a map) Next to my public profile there's a map of Western Europe with a red dot indicating roughly where my town is. A new addition to the site is a link to google maps and it will zoom into the closer area of where you live so it's possible to zoom close to the area and find out roughly where you live - in the country, city or similar. After that you enter a username, your password and email address*.

            The next entry will be your address details and a box where you can tell the people around the world a little about you. You can also specify what kind of card you like to receive. There are members out there who prefer specific types of cards like animals, landscapes, art, etc. It helps to click on the member's username and find out if they like specific cards when you get given their address to send a card to (not that I pay particular attention as I don't always go out and search cards.)

            After that you are a registered member, your welcome email will be sent to the email address you left, as will all future emails. You can change email addresses as well as your home address at any time when you log into your profile page.

            If you are worried that anyone can look up your address when they click on your profile and find out your address. There's no need to worry, only your personal description is available online, your address is not there, it will only be given to the who's to send his or her card to you.

            * If you are using your hotmail account you have to make sure you enter the email address into your safe list otherwise all emails from postcrossing go straight into the junk folder. Just make sure you check there, too if you feel you don't get emails from the site.


            HOW TO SEND AND RECEIVE CARDS:

            So, you're a member of postcrossing and you will see the postcards flooding in. Wrong. It works a little on a tit-for-tat basis. For you to receive cards you have to send some first. This is how it's done.

            If you want to send a card to a random member of the site then all you need to do is click on the 'send a postcard' link, read the terms and conditions and click the box to accept them, then hit the 'request address' button. A new page will open and the username will appear as well as the address to which the card has to be sent. To make sure the card can be successfully logged in when it arrives you are given a unique ID number that you MUST write onto the card in a prominent place. All cards from the UK have the prefix GB- and then a number.

            When I first started the ID number was just over 1000, the last address I requested had a reference number in the high 15900. It shows the amount of cards that were sent from the UK in just one year. At the same time this information is sent to you via email so you can safely close the page if you don't want to copy the address at a later stage.

            Once I'm done with writing the card I take them to the post office to get the latest special stamps, I like to send them with colourful stamps, not just the boring everyday ones you get in books of 10.

            You can send up to 5 postcards at any one time. After that you have to wait for your cards to be logged in by the recipient before it allows you to request another address. It's a safety measure to ensure that you don't download the whole database at once and use it for things other than it was set up for.

            The system prevents you from requesting another address until one of your postcards arrived and was logged in by the person you sent it to. Only then will the system allow you to request another address. The only other time you are allowed to request a new address is when your card is classed as expired (possibly lost in the mail). You have to wait 60 days before the card is officially classes as expired but it doesn't mean you can't log it in if it still turns up. Two of my cards were logged in after 137 and 167 days and I received cards that were stuck in the post for 87 and 69 days.

            You can keep track of all cards sent and received via the website, showing you how long they've been travelling, now many kilometres (the guy who set it up is from Portugal and doesn't work in miles)

            When your cards arrive they get logged in (via 'I received a postcard' link) and you will get an email telling you it's arrived. In most cases the person you sent it to will write a few lines thanking you. All correspondence goes via the website (clicking on the username and chosing 'send a messge to'), email addresses are not given to other members unless you do so yourself.

            So, now that the cards start arriving with the people you sent them to. Two things will now happen:

            You are allowed to request another address (but you don't have to, you can always work to your own time table).

            And most importantly, now that one or more of your cards have arrived your address will go into the queue to receive a card, each card that arrives get their own entry into the queue. Before long your address will have been given to someone somewhere in the world and you will receive a card. Once it arrives you simply log it in and it will show on your profile as a received card.

            I don't participate that regularly, my interest comes and goes in stages. I didn't send any cards over summer and only just started again a few weeks ago. If you don't log onto the site for three months you will receive an email in your inbox alerting you to the fact that you've not been there and that your account will be closed unless you do something about it.

            If you want to find out what kind of postcard you can expect to receive, just click on Gallery. It will link you directly to hundreds and thousands of cards where the recipient has taken the time to upload a scan onto a site that hosts the images. Depending on how many cards you load at the time it can take a moment or two to load properly.


            HOW TO in bulletpoints:
            · Register with postcrossing.com
            · Leave your address details
            · Request addresses to send cards to (up to 5)
            · Send cards - don't forget to include unique ID number
            · Receive email confirmation cards arrived
            · Wait for postcards to drop into your postbox
            · Log received cards onto the website and send little thank you note
            · Start sending cards again (possible once your cards arrive)


            · Postcrossing.com is for you if

            · You collect postcards from around the world
            · you are interested in sending and receiving short messages the old fashioned way.
            · you like finding out about places from around the world and see what it looks like compared to where you live.
            · You collect stamps from around the world


            I can recommend this site for a little innocent fun. You will find that most participants are younger people, mainly girls and if you look at the statistics on the site, most members seem to come from Finland of all places so don't be surprised when you get given at least one address there (or receive a card from there). You do not need to take part on a regular basis but it's nice to send the odd couple every few months. It's just a bit of fun.

            Of course if you feel you want to contact members on a more regular basis you can become a member of the postcrossing forum, something I have not actually sign up to, just not enough time to become a member of yet another forum. But it might be interesting if you are really into this and not take it as a bit of fun.

            So, if you want to spread a little happiness around the world for just the price of a postcard and stamp, you can't go wrong when you become a member of this site.

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