Receiving more cards than you send

This is certainly not a complaint. I’m fairly new to Postcrossing and I always assumed you send a card, the recipient registers it and your name is then given to another member, who writes to you. Therefore for each card you post, you get one back.

My sent/received figures were balanced at 24/24 but yesterday a whopping SIX cards arrived simultaneously. I have now received 30 but only 24 registered as sent. Quite an imbalance.

Does the algorithm sometimes permit you to receive “extra” cards? Perhaps there has been an influx of new members and they need addresses to write to? If so, I would have assumed any slack would have been spread throughout the membership.

But like I said - I ain’t complaining.


It fluctuates with me, currently I have about 3 more sent than received, but I also often have more received than sent. I don’t know why tho, but like you, I’m not complaining haha


This is from Postcrossing FAQ
Why have I received more postcards than I have sent?

The algorithm for selecting addresses is complex and there are instances when your address will be selected a bit more often than you expect. Count it as an early bonus — your sent/received numbers will even out in the long run

So, yes, it happens, but the numbers catch up soon :wink:


As far as I’ve understood, there’s some reasons why we get extra postcards:

  1. Lack of addresses in the pool to maintain send-1-receive-1. Then someone has to get extra postcards to avoid the message “sorry, you can’t send more postcards because there’s no available addresses”.
  2. Postcrossing tries to give a diversity of countries to everyone (if repeated countries isn’t selected). If someone has many cards travelling to the most common countries, they will get an address in a less common country.

If one is lucky enough to live in a country that isn’t among the top most active countries, one is likely to get too many cards sometimes.


I also find that whenever I send a lot of cards and for some reason don’t receive any for a while (this happened most of this year due to a long strike of the mailmen), when I finally get them, there comes a lot. I suppose this is because the cards sent to me had expired, and when that happens my address go back to the address pool. But eventually I receive all the cards and it stops, so I need to send all those “extra cards” to receive again.


It is totally okay! I have the difference between sent and received too :slightly_smiling_face:


I do believe at one time I’d received 8 more postcards than I’d sent, which was slightly ridiculous lol.


It always goes in waves for me. Each card of mine registered generates even 8-10 cards to me (I am not joking, I once counted how many times my address was given on the same day) so I get a deluge of cards for a week or two, and then it takes me 4-5 weeks to catch up again, especially now with slower travel times for my sent cards, or when I used to get Russia a lot which always takes 30+ days.

I last received on 18 November (a card that travelled 46 days so a bit of a late one, not part of the deluge), at which point I had, I think, 5 received more than sent so 6 of mine should be registered before I receive again. I now have only 1 less sent so 2 more before I get more sent than rec. - which might happen I guess in the next week or so. So okay, it’s only taking a couple of weeks to catch up but I am sending quite a lot more than I used to.


I have the opposite occurrence, in which my number of cards sent (33) is much higher than my cards received (15). I think I might take a little break from sending in order to have the number of cards received catch up.


To be honest, at times the algorithm really seems broken. Once my address was given out over 20 times after just 3 of my sent cards were registered. This seemed to happen every time. I would get a big dump of cards and then nothing until my numbers evened out again, at which point one sent card registered would trigger another big dump of cards. I really don’t like this pattern so I ended up putting my account on inactive for a long time and only reactivating when I was blocked from sending.


I wonder whether the algorithm adjusts if you have a lot of long distance cards travelling, it seems that when I had cards sent to China USA and Russian, my recieved cards went up where I was 5 or more cards better off than I had sent.


Has anybody, who has been a postcrosser in different countries, noticed any differences between the sent - received balance? I used to be a postcrosser in Finland when Finland was the most sending country and now I am sending from “smaller” country. Thought there might be differences on the sent-received balance, but so far I haven’t noticed anything clearly different.


Looking at your profile, I don’t think it has much to do with the algorithm. Sending to the USA has been slow and results erratic in the last few months, so there is probably a lot of slow-travelling stuff on its way to you. Also, I saw a lot of the cards you sent were registered in late Novemnber, it is simply not enough time for them to arrive to you, especially nowadays with the pandemic and the US system having troubles.


But doesn’t it just mean that you get an even bigger deluge once you reactivate? When I was inactive for 4 months (due to moving) I then received so many cards in a short space of time that it became a lot less fun than it should be (first world postcrosser problems ahahah).

No difference (UK to Singapore) but I wasn’t expecting one. It is said that maybe a really active country like Germany or Russia would make a difference, but if even members in the USA (like fire_maggie just above) experience it, then I don’t know…

My original plan was to reactivate for very short periods of time - like a few hours - then go inactive again, to control how often my address was given out. I didn’t end up following through with it because I kept forgetting to toggle it on and off. So yes, I did get tons of postcards, but since it was just catching me, not putting me in the hole, I didn’t mind.

1 Like

I see! I just put myself inactive because I don’t want to be due cards in the next couple of weeks when everybody wants to send Christmas stuff - so I’ll reactivate in January and see how it goes. My sent are sooo slooooww so I won’t really be due that many, even if I keep sending.

Yes I actually have more postcards received now than I have sent. I think it’s owing to the fact that I was inactive for a few years too, when my address was still circulated in the algorithm pool for Postcrossers to pick.

I always seem to catch up in terms of my sent cards, and then when I open my mailbox, it tilts in favour of received cards again.

Not that I’m complaining either :grin:


If you are inactive, your address is not circulated :slight_smile: It would be unfair that people get your address but you are not available to register. Once you return to active, you get any postcards you are due (if you are due any).


I think this is because others like to send cards to more countries than just the top three or so. When not enough of these addreses are available some are given out more often to guaranty this variety.
That’s why I started sending to repeated countries. I don’t mind sending to the same countries over and over again to help keep the balance.

Being from the most active country I have the opposite effect. I have almost 50 cards more sent than received.


Ahh I see… Well, I’m not really sure how this entire algorithm works but thanks for explaining :grin:


Before COVID, I generally would have received about five more than I had sent. Now I’m running behind from five to ten cards (sent vs received).