From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Postcrossing Project Logo.png
Type of site
Project website
Available in English
Owner Postcrossing Lda.
Created by Paulo Magalhães
Alexa rank Positive decrease 19,753 (March 2018)[1]
Registration Yes
Launched 14 July 2005[2]

Postcrossing is an online project that allows its members to send and receive postcards from all over the world. The project's tag line is "send a postcard and receive a postcard back from a random person somewhere in the world!”[3] Its members, also known as postcrossers, send postcards to other members and receive postcards back from other random postcrossers. Where the postcards come from is always a surprise.

Postcrossing is the union of the words "postcard" and "crossing" and its origin "is loosely based on the Bookcrossing site".[4] However, the "crossing" or exchange of postcards works in a different way. A member sends a postcard to another postcrosser and receives a postcard back from a random postcrosser. Exchanges between the same two members only occur once; although direct swaps between members happen, they are not part of the official happenings on the site. The project is completely free and anyone with an address can create an account. However, the postcards themselves and postage fees to mail them are the responsibility of each user.

By February 2018 Postcrossing had more than 719,000 members in 212 different countries[5] who had registered and exchanged over 45 million postcards that have traveled over 229 billion kilometers.[6]

The highest concentration of Postcrossing members reside (in order) in Russia, Taiwan, China, the United States, Germany, the Netherlands, Poland, Belarus, Ukraine, Finland, and the Czech Republic, each with over 20,000 members.[7] Globally, most postcrossers reside in North America, Europe, and East Asia. Of particular note, Postcrossing is popular in eastern European and former-Soviet states. As of January 2012, more than a quarter of the combined total of postcards were sent from Finland, Russia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus and Ukraine.[8]



How it works[edit]

The main idea is that if a member sends a postcard he or she will receive at least one postcard back from a random postcrosser somewhere in the world.

The first step is to request to send a postcard. The website will display, and send the member an e-mail with, the address of another postcrosser and a postcard ID (e.g.: US-787). The postcard ID uniquely identifies that postcard in the system. The member then mails a postcard to that postcrosser and writes the postcard ID on it. The postcrosser receives the postcard and registers it using the postcard ID that is on the postcard. At this point, the sender is eligible to receive a postcard from a different postcrosser.[9] Each member can write a profile text which will be visible to the postcrosser who requested an address. This profile can contain personal information about the recipient, or postcard preferences.

Initially each member can have up to 5 postcards traveling at any single time. Every time one of the sent postcards is registered, that postcrosser can request another address. The number of postcards allowed to travel at any single time goes up the more postcards a member sends and stops at 100.[10]

The postcrossing system allows for the same two members to exchange postcards only once. By default, members will exchange postcards with countries other than their own; however, the users can decide to exchange postcards with other users in his or her own country. Users are allowed to untick the "send to repeated countries" option in their profile, however this does not guarantee no repetitions.

A small percentage of mailed postcards get lost during their travels; others may arrive with the postcard ID unreadable and are difficult to register. There are also members who become inactive while postcards are on the way to them. The system behind the website accounts for all these factors and compensates active members by attempting to reduce the difference between the number of sent and received postcards of each member.

Users distribution[edit]

Last updated April 3, 2018.

Countries with most users [11]
Ranking Country Users
1. Russia 91,706
2. Taiwan 84,294
3. China 66,626
4. United States 66,567
5. Germany 50,631
6. Netherlands 39,314
7. Poland 32,010
8. Belarus 28,875
9. Ukraine 25,688
10. Finland 20,937
11. Czech Republic 20,399
12. United Kingdom 15,253
13. France 14,530
14. Turkey 10,669
15. Canada 9,839
Countries with most sent postcards [11]
Ranking Country Sent postcards
1. Germany 6,594,110
2. Russia 5,518,268
3. United States 4,752,715
4. Netherlands 3,806,308
5. Finland 3,022,645
6. Taiwan 2,067,243
7. Belarus 2,020,604
8. China 2,013,271
9. Ukraine 1,382,826
10. Czech Republic 1,239,541
11. Poland 1,226,457
12. Japan 1,005,957
13. France 905,975
14. United Kingdom 898,053
15. Canada 735,717


The idea for the project was created by Paulo Magalhães, who started the site on July 14, 2005. The motivation was based on the fact that he liked to receive mail, especially postcards.[12] “The element of surprise of receiving postcards from different places in the world (many of which you’d probably never have heard of) can turn your mailbox into a box of surprises – and who wouldn’t like that?”[13]

The project started initially as a hobby for Magalhães, but its unexpected success revealed that the idea was more popular than he ever predicted. He initially hosted the project on an old computer housed in a clothes closet at his home; this setup quickly was shown to be insufficient. Based on word of mouth, the project quickly expanded over the Portuguese borders where the project was developed.

Over time the project received attention from the media which contributed to its growth and popularity. Postcrossing reached its first million exchanged postcards on April 11, 2008 and has since grown even more rapidly.[14] It reached the second million on February 26, 2009, with a postcard that traveled from Germany to Norway.[15] The third million was reached on September 24, 2009 with a postcard traveling from Finland to Slovenia.[16] The fourth million was reached on March 28, 2010 with a postcard traveling from the Czech Republic to the Netherlands.[17] The popularity of the site has led to the academic community exploring what makes postcrossing so successful and what other digital communication technologies can learn from that success.[18] celebrated its five-year anniversary on July 14, 2010 with a photography contest for its members.[19] Shortly after celebrating their fifth birthday, reached 5,000,000 postcards received on August 24, 2010 with a postcard traveling from Isle of Man (registered under an Italian member) to Thailand.[20] The 7,000,000th postcard was sent on April 4, 2011 from China and received on April 19, 2011 in the Netherlands.[21] The 10,000,000th postcard travelled from Japan to Germany and was registered on January 27, 2012;[22] the 15,000,000th postcard travelled from Germany to Italy and was registered on December 31, 2012.[23] At the moment, 1,000,000 postcards are registered in about 2 months. In January 2017 the number of postcards passed 39 million.

Date Time (UTC) Million postcards From To
April 11, 2008 4:00 p.m. 1 Turkey Romania
February 26, 2009 6:30 a.m. 2 Germany Norway
September 24, 2009 4:10 p.m. 3 Finland Slovenia
March 28, 2010 11:20 a.m. 4 Czech Republic Netherlands
August 24, 2010 8:00 p.m. 5 Italy Norway
December 30, 2010 12:00 p.m. 6 Spain Germany
April 19, 2011 7:00 p.m. 7 China Netherlands
August 2, 2011 11:30 a.m. 8 Finland Japan
November 3, 2011 7:00 a.m. 9 China Russia
January 27, 2012 4:50 p.m. 10 Japan Germany
April 3, 2012 9:10 p.m. 11 United States Iceland
June 12, 2012 7:30 p.m. 12 United States Netherlands
August 22, 2012 6:10 a.m. 13 Hong Kong Russia
October 25, 2012 9:50 p.m. 14 Netherlands Honduras
December 31, 2012 1:46 p.m. 15 Germany Italy
March 4, 2013 8:21 a.m. 16 Ukraine Russia
May 1, 2013 0:21 a.m. 17 Russia Australia
July 3, 2013 5:53 a.m. 18 Finland Taiwan
September 2, 2013 3:08 a.m. 19 Ukraine Germany
October 28, 2013 10:50 p.m. 20 United States Taiwan
December 23, 2013   21 Netherlands Italy
February 17, 2014   22 Netherlands Poland
March 29, 2014   23 Germany Australia[24][25]
May 31, 2014   24 Latvia Japan[26][27]
August 10, 2014 11:02 a.m. 25 Netherlands Germany[28][29]
October 10, 2014   26[30]    
June 2, 2015   30[31] Germany Portugal[32]
February 13, 2017 6:39 a.m. 40 Taiwan France[33]

Postcrossing-themed stamps[edit]

I ❤ postcrossing. Russian Post, 2015
Belarusian postcrossing-themed stamp

On October 11, 2011, PostNL released the first set of Dutch Postcrossing-themed stamps at the philatelic exhibition Postex in Apeldoorn.[34] The sheet of 10 stamps was designed by communication agency The Stone Twins, and depicted different types of postcards seemingly strewn about (as if scattered on a doormat).[35]

Finland was the second country to follow suit, with Itella launching their own stamps in honor of Postcrossing on September 9, 2013. Designed by Kokoro & Moi, the set includes 4 different first-class stamps.[36]

On January 2, 2014, Belposhta also launched their own Postcrossing-themed stamps in Belarus. The stamp was designed by Inga Turlo and features the words "Happy Postcrossing" in both English and Belarusian.[37]

On May 28, 2014, Guernsey Post launched a stamp designed by their marketing team, featuring the words Happy Postcrossing depicted over an outline of Guernsey with a smiley face, giving the "thumbs-up" to the hobby of Postcrossing.[38]

On January 27, 2015 the Russian Post issued a stamp designed by Olga Shushlebina. The stamp features the words “Я ❤ посткроссинг” (Russian: “I ❤ postcrossing”) and schematic pictures of world sights.[39]

On March 25, 2016 the Russian Post again issued a stamp featuring the same words designed by I. Sidenko.[40]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ " Site Info". Alexa Internet. Retrieved 2014-04-01.
  2. ^ "Postcrossing. History". 2005-07-14. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  3. ^ Magalhães, Paulo. "Postcrossing". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  4. ^ 129860, Sho (2006-05-08). "Postcrossing - The Postcard Crossing Project". BBC H2G2. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  5. ^ "Users Stats". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  6. ^ "Postcards Stats". Retrieved 2018-02-25.
  7. ^ Postcrossing statistics page
  8. ^ Magalhães, Paulo (2010-03-28). "Postcrossing Stats". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  9. ^ Crews, Barbara (2007-07-01). "Random Postcards from Around the World: Postcrossing!". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  10. ^ Magalhães, Paulo. "Postcrossing - Help - How many postcards can I send?". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  11. ^ a b "Countries in Postcrossing". Postcrossing. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018.
  12. ^ Faxon, Hilary (2008-07-17). "Interview: Paulo Magalhães, Founder of". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  13. ^ Widmer, Laurent (2008). "Where is your postcard?" (PDF). Union Postale. Retrieved 2009-01-01. [dead link]
  14. ^ (2008-04-11). "Postcrossing Hits 1 Million Exchanged Cards". Retrieved 2009-01-01.
  15. ^ (2009-02-26). "2 million received postcards! YAY! Can you believe it?". Retrieved 2009-03-02.
  16. ^ (2009-09-25). "One, two, three! 3 million postcrossing postcards!". Retrieved 2009-09-26.
  17. ^ (2010-03-28). "4 000 000 postcards!! :D". Retrieved 2010-03-28.
  18. ^ Kelly, Ryan; Gooch, Daniel (2012-01-01). "Understanding Participation and Opportunities for Design from an Online Postcard Sending Community". Proceedings of the Designing Interactive Systems Conference. DIS '12. New York, NY, USA: ACM: 568–571. doi:10.1145/2317956.2318041. ISBN 978-1-4503-1210-3.
  19. ^ (2010-07-14). "5 years and counting". Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  20. ^ (2010-08-24). "5000000 postcards received!". Retrieved 2010-08-24.
  21. ^ Postcrossing post 7,000,000th card Archived May 2, 2011, at the Wayback Machine.
  22. ^ "10,000,000 registered postcards!". 2012-01-27. Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  23. ^ "15,000,000 postcards registered!". Retrieved 2013-01-23.
  24. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-04-10). "Postcard DE-3043747 (Germany)". Retrieved 2014-04-11.
  25. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 April 2014). "Here's the lucky postcard #23,000,000:" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  26. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-05-31). "Postcard LV-150063 (Latvia)". Retrieved 2014-06-17.
  27. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 June 2014). "Here it is, lucky postcard number 24 million, which traveled 8,084 km from Latvia to Japan in 8 days! :D" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  28. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-08-10). "Postcard NL-2612179 (Netherlands)". Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  29. ^ Postcrossing Project (2014-08-10). "25 million postcards!". Retrieved 2014-08-10.
  30. ^ Postcrossing Project [@postcrossing] (10 October 2014). "We just reached 26 million postcards! Congratulations everyone! It's still #WorldPostDay in many places: what a nice way to celebrate it! :)" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  31. ^ Ana (meiadaleite) (2015-06-02). "30 Million Postcards!". Postcrossing blog. Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  32. ^ Postcrossing Project (2015-06-02). "Postcard DE-4221494 (Germany)". Retrieved 2015-06-02.
  33. ^ Postcrossing Project (2017-02-13). "40 Million Postcards!". Retrieved 2017-04-04.
  34. ^ "Postcrossing stamp launch".
  35. ^ "The Postcrossing stamp launch".
  36. ^ "New Postcrossing stamps... from Finland!".
  37. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp, from Belarus!".
  38. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp... from Guernsey!".
  39. ^ "A new Postcrossing stamp... from Russia".
  40. ^ "March 25, a postage stamp dedicated to postcrossing have been issue". Marka. Retrieved 13 May 2018.

External links[edit]