Real mail friends
This website was launched back in 1998 as a place for people to find penpals from other countries to practice their English. It was a different time then. The Interent was in its infancy. Not everyone had permanent internet access and even an email address. Smartphones had to wait another full decade to become mainstream. That is why the first ads (profiles in today's language) featured real mailing addresses, not electronic ones. You had to wait for weeks to receive a reply from your penpal. That is if your letter or a postcard wasn't lost by the post service of your or your correspondent's country. Not to mention that to have your ad on the website you had to ask me and wait until I have the time to manually update the page to add your information. Fun times!
But seriously, that was fun to receive a long awaited letter in your physical mailbox. A postcard from a stranger was also a nice surprise.
There were several reincarnations of the website. At some point it was in fully automatic mode when visitors could create an account and post their ads without my intervention. You could get in touch with another member via email and get a reply within minutes. But the fun of the physical letter exchange was lost in the process. Besides there was an endless struggle with spammers that was not always visible for users, but took a lot of my time. I had to constantly review all the ads and remove lots of them because they were obviously spam/scam (Sorry Nigerian princess!). But the website was functionning, many new friendships were established with the help of PenpalsFinder. All went well untill an update on our web hosting servers broke the script that powered the website.
A couple of years ago I restored the database and I wrote the script that displays the ads. But I never had the time to finish the work - write registration steps and add access to contact detains for registered members. Yep, I am a lazy bastard. Just kidding. I am a very hardworking person that builds cool things all the time for fun and/or for money. But in the case of PenpalsFinder I feel the lack of motivation for some reason. Probably because now that Internet is omnipresent and that everyone has several email addresses and messaging apps. We are drowning in information and in the countless communication exchanges that we have every day, something important was lost.
That is why I decided that for now I am not going to automate the website. But I am going to bring it back in a different old school format. If you are looking for traditional snail mail penpals, you will need to send me a postcard to the following address:
15, rue René Arnaud
I will scan both sides and add it to the website. You can write anything about yourself, try to interest people and make them write to you. Keep in mind that your postcard will be published on this website and everyone will be able to see and read it, so don't share any information that you wouldn't want to be public. The Internet is full of weidos and anyone could see your postcard. So think twice before you share your mailing address with the world.
I would also like to say that:
- I will not publish postcards that have email adresses or any other internet adresses.
- I will not publish postcards that I will find hateful / insulting / inappropriate.
One last advice - try to be creative, fun and make it personal, try to show people why they should get in touch with YOU.