Sunday, February 14, 2010

Deutsche Post Letternet

Through the Penpalling and Letters blog which I just discovered recently, I learned of Deutsche Post's Letternet. (Deutsche Post is Germany's postal service.) I've linked the English version of the site, but the original language is, of course, German. It appears to be a pen pal service - free - for anyone in the world. Goodness knows I don't need any more pen pals, but I did sign up out of curiosity. I found it a little unsettling that I had to agree to Terms of Service that are available only in German, so I couldn't really read them, but oh well.

Letternet, which calls itself the "largest pen pal club in the world," has a weird questionnaire that involves asking questions with picture associations: four pictures for "this is what friendship feels like," "this is what stress feels like," etc. It seems geared to younger people, but of course I am supportive of any endeavor to encourage good clean letter-writing. The site is in beta form, and I suspect some things may be clearer in German than in the English translation. For example, my address is listed in my profile as "not confirmed." To confirm it, I need a confirmation code. How do I get this code? I don't know. I couldn't figure that out. I used the contact form to ask, but haven't heard back. From the post about it on the Penpalling and Letters blog, I think I might need to wait for a snail-mail envelope or package from them - fine and dandy, that seems a lovely way to confirm my address, although it would be nice to learn that from the Letternet site itself.

EDIT: Actually, I poked around a little further, and in fact the info is on the site, on the How you can participate page. There it says: "As soon as you have created your profile we check your address so that you can make pen-friends. We shall send you a letter containing your personal registration code, which you need to enter in "My Data/Confirm your Adress". You are then a full member and can search for pen-friends all over the world." OK. All good. I'll wait for the letter in the mail.]

Also, when I entered my mailing address as part of the registration process, the required fields were pretty specific to a German address format (makes sense, after all - it IS a German service), and I had to enter my own address in a weird way - I hope their fields will align with the US mail fields such that mail will reach me successfully. I'll find out, I suppose, and I'll keep you posted, but anyone who is brave that wants to try it out, go for it... the site seems very legit and is clearly part of the Deutsche Post larger website system.

I have a few German pen pals, and my experience with Deutsche Post overall is that the service is fast and reliable, and the stamps are really cool... so I joined up without hearing other reports first.

If anyone else out there who reads this blog has used or is using Letternet, I'd love to hear about your experience with it.

On another note, Happy Valentine's Day! I might do a V-Day posting later, and I might not. Truth be told, it's not a very big deal to me, but I didn't feel like I could make a post on February 14 without mentioning it.

12 comments:

  1. I saw that post too, courtesy of your links in the sidebar! I'm stupendously excited about something run by Deutsche Post, since I'm practically a Germanophile and want to live in Germany someday. And I had much better luck with Deutsche Post than with Austria Post when I was there. A friend of mine was complaining recently that there wasn't a good way out there for her to get new penpals, and I can't wait to nudge her in this direction. She'll laugh at me and call me German obsessed... ah well, I may as well be. :)

    It does irritate me that many German web sites don't allow you to put your address in the way you need to for the U.S., but then again, most U.S.-based sites also only allow you to put in your address the U.S. way. Hope it works out and the letter gets to you. Should I sign up too?!

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  2. Stephanie - glad you are excited about this! As to whether you should sign up too, that's your decision... I'll certainly report back whenever I get my address confirmation in the mail, and let you all know how the rest of the process goes.

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  3. That sounds like a neat service! Are you able to specify that you want to receive penpal letters in English?

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  4. Eliza - GREAT question! Yes, you specify the languages in which you want to write. The website is only available in German and English, but there are numerous fields for other languages you can write in. I'm embarrassed to say I'm an English-only gal myself.

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  5. Hey there ^^ I am a German penpaller and I kinda liked the idea of the Deutsche Post to have a surprise penpal that you barely have information about (except the address and name and some general interests like 'reading' and 'sports') but I find the system lacks a lot of things compared to sites like interpals and makes the use of it really complicated and somehow troublesome... You've got it right with the address confirmation, but once you have it confirmed ~ you get requests from people (it's not possible to send a message and tell about yourself, so you just have to trust strangers) and the next thing you do is handing out your address... I don't suspect that everyone on there is a serial killer that would come over here, so I accepted ~ so far I've got 7 requests and only two letters (I must say one of them was really awesome and I've made a lovely pal from Austria)... I also requested one address and got it, but that person didn't take the trouble to reply. Well, as for the 'largest club', sure, in theory there are many thousands of members, but most of them are from Germany (there are quite a few from North America and Eastern Europe, but you can forget about the rest) and the search options suck because you can't even say how old your pal should be (I'm not that picky when it comes to that, but it's annoying to have to go through profile suggestions of 13 and 16 year olds when you're close to 30)... Then, all the profiles look pretty much the same because there are not many possibilities to describe yourself ~ but that's the nice surprise effect I was looking for... The worst thing is however ~ you don't receive any notifications when you get a request or an address, so if the person you want to contact doesn't log in every day, there is hardly a chance you will hear back from him/her and if you do, it might go unnoticed as well, because you lose interest in the site pretty quickly and stop logging in yourself... To sum it up I'd say that I was really lucky with two of my pals (one from the old system when you just had to decide whether the pal should be from abroad or from Germany and then you got 1-3 addresses), the rest was rather disappointing... Even if you love Germany and want to make German pals, I'd rather recommend other sites like interpals... Cheers, tanuki =^.^=

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  6. WOW, Tanuki, thank you so much for that invaluable information! That is really, really helpful to have the details of your experience as a member.

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  7. Hi Ilona!

    I finally got a reply from Deustche Post and they told me that since Letternet has its new homepage, they have stopped producing the Letternet-magazine. :( Those aren't nice news because I loved the magazine.

    I also want to ask you about the following: when you go to "search" penpals in the database, I only can choose penpals in Germany. Does it happen to you, too?
    I would prefer we could choose from anywhere in the world, but I cannot myself. What about you? I am just wondering how it works for other people.

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  8. Yes - I too can only search in Germany, and I also find this really annoying! I can search among all the other fields, but the country field is set to Germany and I cannot change it. I presume some people - those in Germany, maybe? - are allowed to search other countries, because a few people have requested my address, and I'm clearly not in Germany.

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  9. I agree with you, only being able to search in Germany is not nice at all. My country field is also set to Germany and no possibility to change it. I have the same feeling: probably German people are able to search all over the world, but not us who are not German. I also got lots of requests, but the system is so basic that with the data provided it is difficult to know who can be an interesting penpal among all those names...

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  10. This has been an extremely informative comment thread - thanks to everyone who has tried out Letternet!

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  11. I'm a Letterettie from 2007. Thank you so much Letternet. You gave me the best pen pal ever!!!!She is Stefanie from Germany.

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