Sent/received disbalance

How often you have more received postcards than sent on your profile?

I know that usually users from rare countries have a lot of received postcards, because many people who send have box “several postcards traveling to the same country at the same time” ticked off and system needs to pick different countries for them. So there is allowed overflow, but even then it’s limited because even with box ticked off you get two Germany or USA from time to time.

Otherwise I’ve always thought that users who have more received than sent are not sending in a “proper way” (with regularity): stopped sending for a while and then all expired postcard reached them or started again after being in-active, which system encourages by giving you a credit of postcards.

But after two periods of being in-active (because of moving twice/having a child) brought my profiles on the constant brink of having imbalanced amount of sent/received postcards. I send regularly, but if there is any postal troubles on the way - profile overflows and I need to send more cards not to receive more but just to compensate already received ones. For me it creates a little bit unhealthy statistics, and I worry a bit that people who saw my profile think I send irregularly (I know that most common way to spot a good swapper - it’s a person who has 10-15 more postcards in sent - now I have 1-5 more in received, sometimes the difference gets up to 15).

Does anyone else from ‘common’ countries have this problem? I am clueless of which characteristics of postcrossing algorithm caused it, and why this disbalance doesn’t go away for me in 3 years already…

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I don’t keep track, but it changes; once I had received over 10 more than sent, then only few days it was even, then I had sent more. I wouldn’t notice anything, unless I looked at the numbers.
But, I don’t make any assumptions based on that. Also, for me it’s not a problem.



It’s not a problem for me too, and I never heard that:

Anyway if you wish more balance, you can set your account into inactive status for a while. So your address will not be selected to receive cards, but you can still send cards to balance account.

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Probably I look too much at numbers indeed. It feels that the algorithm becomes more and more complicated, and the simple feeling of how proportion of sent/received should look like which was in action 5 or more years ago is not valid anymore

I’m doing postcrossing for 10 years, I read the FAQ back and forth. My problem is not about that it happens sometimes, but almost all the time, and I’m asking about how other users feel or notice the disproportions. For me catching up for received cards on official site is much less pleasant as sending something unobliged and received reward after. Cause and causation feels broken for my profile


I have to say, this is the first time I hear this. I wouldn’t think you were a bad swapper, at least when you have more received, it shows mail sent to you arrived, and you register cards :slight_smile: :+1:


@S_Tuulia and @ana_karp
Thank you for reassurance! Maybe I overthink the problem
I think this ‘swapper’ thing was more my assumption when I started doing direct swaps years ago, and just picked users from official website, now there are so many ways to check whether to rely on people.
Nevertheless, I encountered couple of users recently, who were not okay with direct swaps anymore just because of bad experiences of not received cards.

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You have to think it in a logical way
Assumption one: If you count all postcards of all users all sent postcards equals all received postcard. Because, all sent are received (traveling are not counting).
Therefore: If someone has more sent than received postcards, some other must have more received than sent.
It’s just simple.

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:joy: I think I’m being a bit immature about that and asking ‘why me?’, I’ve always preferred to be in the other category of more sent, well, as I said above that catching up takes some joy out of postcrossing for me, I wish I could put like coefficient to my profile to keep the difference.

and @ana_karp about in-active - when I did that, once I’m active it seems my address immediately is drawn by amount users equal to the difference of received/sent, I think my problem, that I’d prefer my address being drawn like once a day or something, so the cards won’t arrive in stacks but were more evenly distributed day to day

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I have that problem constantly: every time one of my cards is registered, I get like 10 cards, but my cards are registered slowly (I never stopped sending completely but they are just slow and I don’t send that much). So I receive a lot for a few weeks and then spend the next few weeks catching up. My address was given out in October and then by the time I had more sent it was mid-December and I put myself inactive to avoid receiving Christmas stuff, which is the only reason why I still have quite a few more sent than received.

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Yeah, in the US it would go back and forth a bit. Here, every time one of my postcards gets registered I seem to get 5 in return.

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Oh, location-wise, I had the same in the UK and in Singapore. Possibly a bit worse in Singapore (i.e. I get even more cards back). But also my sent have been slower from here.

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@elikoa, @saintursula oh, I’m not alone! that’s a relief
I don’t think I get really that much cards, but it surely feels like receiving 5 for each one I send. And then again, my sent postcards reach all their recipients in, say, Germany, on the same day, and my address is immediately given to that amount of people - and the loop continues

That’s genius! why I haven’t thought about it. This year I received so many Christmas-themed postcards, it will take another 10 years to write about them in my blog on the appropriate dates xD

It’s not very often that I have more received than sent. Usually for me, it’s the other way around. But in any case, I don’t really pay attention to other people’s ratios. It could be due to a number of reasons, many of which are out of the control of most Postcrossing members. And I’m sure the folks who are behind the algorithm that matches people are constantly tweaking it–but even they cannot control the rate of signups or leaving, how efficient the postal systems are in each country, postal prices (which would constrain how many postcards people can send) or random worldwide things like COVID-19.

Anyways, I think trying to have “perfect” statistics is an exercise in futility. This is the real world and not a theoretical simulation. And things are just going to happen that will cause sent vs. received to not quite match up.


My stats say I have sent 148 postcards, and have received 152 postcards. I currently have 6 postcards travelling (which aren’t accounted for in these stats). But when those 6 travelling postcards arrive to their new homes, the stats will still be unbalanced. It’s been unbalanced for a while but I can’t remember when or how it happened…

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This is my main problem with the imbalance. I currently have 13 more postcards received than sent, so I need to send 13 cards before my address is “released” again. I receive lots of cards all within a few days, then I’ll get nothing at all for a while!

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Yes, I have same, 10 imbalance, 30 travelling (most to Germany and USA)
I really need to send postcards immediately after getting opportunity for new address, otherwise there will be a ‘dry spell’ period when my postbox is empty.

Another thing is when my address “released” again - first you get a pack of generic city views with printed text on the back, because people who don’t make any effort to choose nice one and write a message, send faster - so also I go through “nobody reads my profile” – “how amazing all these cards are” rollercoaster

Pandemic sort of made receiving interesting in a sense that you can say - oh yesterday a cargo plane from India arrived)) and today a plane from Poland (next plane will be in a month)

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:rofl: I was finally catching up from my +10 received but it was mid-december, I hate Christmas and I saw on a Facebook group people complaining because they wanted to send Christmas stuff and getting addresses of people who didn’t want them, so I thought let’s just solve everybody’s problem with keeping inactive for 2 weeks. In the meantime, more of my cards arrived so I’ll probably receive loads this month and then spend other two months catching up.

I swear I once counted that my address was given out 10 times on the same day (or couple of days) - and it all related to the same postcard of mine that was registered.

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Postcrossing ways are mysterious xD I also noticed that it can be all users from the same country, like I have 4 users from India drew my address on 15th October (cards then delivered with more than 2 months difference!). And I now see many users who have two profiles - sending cards to two of my profiles simultaneously (or receiving, on pandemic postcrossing got less crowdy)

I really don’t like putting an anti-wish to a profile, I think it can come up as rude, so using your tip is like contraception instead of having the consequences of many Christmas stuff received (and you need to care about them, and find them a place in your received boxes). Even though it would probably mean to go in-active for whole December