How it all started
The Postcrossing project was started by Paulo Magalhães from Portugal as a side project while he was a student. Paulo loves to receive mail and postcards in particular; from friends, family or from anywhere in the globe. The more random the place and person, the better. He knew more people shared the same interest, but there was no good way yet to connect them across the planet.
And that's how he got the initial idea of creating an online platform to support this offline hobby. The goal: to connect people across the world through postcards, independent of their location, age, gender, race or beliefs.
After playing with the idea for a while, Paulo started to create the website in his free time. Friends helped testing, Ana Campos designed the first logo and after much indecision about the name, on July 14th, 2005 the Postcrossing Project website was open to the public.
In a matter of days many users started to sign up from countries all over the world, overcoming Paulo's best expectations for the website. At this time, Postcrossing was still hosted in an old home computer tucked away in a storage room in Paulo's home. But soon it became apparent that what started as a pet project was quickly turning into a great success.
Since then, Postcrossing has been in the media spotlight around the world, from the widely known BBC (News, H2G2) to national/regional newspapers, magazines and blogs in languages and alphabets that Paulo can't even grasp.
Postcrossing has brought together many people, making the world a smaller place - there are countless reports of new friendships made, new languages learned, and numerous cultural facts about other countries and people learned through the project.
During the first years, Postcrossing grew steadily and in February 2008, the project received a facelift referred to by many as Postcrossing 2 which brought a new design, new functionalities and room for more improvements.
Parallel to the website, the members started to organize Postcrossing meetups all over the world where they got together with other Postcrossers to share, write, sign and send their postcards.
On the 11th of April 2008, Postcrossing reached it's first million of exchanged postcards, surpassing all the best initial expectations.
These were the dates of every million so far:
- 31st million
- 5 Aug, 2015
- 32nd million
- 6 Oct, 2015
- 33rd million
- 5 Dec, 2015
- 34th million
- 4 Feb, 2016
- 35th million
- 31 Mar, 2016
- 36th million
- 31 May, 2016
- In 2011, the Dutch postal services (PostNL) have created a Postcrossing stamp. On 17th of November, the new stamp was launched at Postex 2011 where the first stamp sheetlet was handed to Paulo. Many other stamps followed.
Today, the Postcrossing Project is directed by its founder with the precious help of a small team who help run the website and the forum. The members also play an important role with keeping the website running by helping support the project and giving feedback and suggestions about where to go next.
For the future, the Postcrossing goals are simple: to connect the world into a smaller place and to bring smiles to as many different people and countries as possible. Happy Postcrossing!