Ex-MySpace VP Takes On Postagram With Postcard On The Run

Look out, Postagram: there’s another player embarking on the quest to turn everyone’s smart phone photos into real-world postcards.

This morning, Josh Brooks (previously the VP of Programming and Music at Myspace and Head of Content at Project Playlist) is launching the endeavor he’s spent the last year working on: Postcard On The Run. It’s a quick, easy, and relatively cheap way to free your photos from the digital cage that is your iPhone’s photo library and get them into the mailboxes of your friends and family. They’re also launching as a platform to allow other developers to add photo printing/mailing to their own apps.

I’ll be honest: I didn’t really get the concept at first. Having spent the last many years of my life living too many hours a day online, the idea of printing out a physical photo just to add a few lines of text and ship it across the country seemed a bit… wasteful.

But then I actually gave the app a spin… and within about 30 minutes of creating my first postcard, I’d created another ten. In the age of the digital camera and Facebook, photos have become filler — trivial tidbits that we blindly click through in an effort to be everywhere at once. There’s something kind of magical about taking a digital encapsulation of an experience, making it real and tangible, and sending it to directly someone’s real inbox instead of their virtual equivalent — as if to say “I genuinely, honestly wish you were here.”

The application is about as simple as can be: pick a photo, crop it as desired, add some text to the back, and send it off into meatspace (beginning at 99 cents a pop.) There’s no reason to complicate the process here, and they don’t.

Now, how does Postcard On The Run differ from Postagram and other such services? At its core, it’s a very similar idea — and that’s very much okay. In a service space like this, competition is good for everyone: the companies will be pressured to innovate faster and battle to keep costs low, with the added perk that multiple companies can spread and market a concept considerably quicker than one can alone.

With that said, Postcard On The Run does have a few cool tricks up its sleeve:

  • GPS Stamping: Want to rub in the fact that you’re relaxing on the beach in Hawaii? You can add a small map graphic to the back of your postcard showing the location it was sent from, confirming that the toes in the water on the postcard are in fact your toes in the water.
  • Postal Gopher: Seeing as no one really sends each other mail anymore, it’s probably pretty unlikely that you actually have all of your buddies addresses. POTR built a feature they call “Postal Gopher”, which can automatically e-mail or SMS the selected postcard recipient and request their address in your honor. Once it receives a reply, Postal Gopher automatically adds the address to your address book for safe keeping, slaps the details onto the back of your queued up postcard, and sends the card on its way.
  • Coming Soon, they say: Scratch and Sniff (seriously!)

Postcard On The Run is also launching as a B2B service, with an SDK that allows third-party developers to integrate photo printing/shipping services as a means of optimization. They’re currently working out SDK partnerships on a case-by-case basis (even the revenue split is case-by-case; for some partners it’s 70/30, others it’s 50/50), but interested developers can get more information here.

You can find the free Postcard On The Run app for iOS here. Postcards start at 99c each.