Recently ordered print postcards from 3 iphone apps: @postagram, Postcard Star, @POSTCARDing - here’s a quick comparison of what I got:
Postagram (top) - slick app with easy hooks to your photos Instagram & Facebook. The photo format is square, and can be resized and moved within the app. Maximum 140 characters of text for personal message and optional thumbnail picture of sender. You can send to multiple recipients, with direct credit card payment (vs. apple app store) of $.99 each. Delivery was three business days. The card is glossy black, front and back, with a pop-out square image and the personal message on both sides.
While the service and end product are high quality, this was not my favorite. It seems tailored specifically to Instagram (with matched square format - and similar name) and looks and feels less like a traditional postcard than I, personally, was hoping. Also not a fan of the black background and limit of 140 characters (I understand the constraint for Twitter, but why not allow the physical postcard to determine character count??). Overall score: B
Postcard Star (middle) - this app was the least intuitive of the bunch, and feels amateur by comparison. You can take a photo, or choose from your library (no hooks to social photos), and can choose horizontal or vertical orientation. As far as I can tell, there is a white border automatically formatted with the card. Text limit of 330 characters is a good approximation of what will fit on the printed card. You can enter recipient address, or select from contacts. The price is $1.00, but fulfillment is complicated because, aside from the automatic credit (for one postcard) when you purchase the app, you need to buy credits in advance (through paypal or credit card) and then use credits to purchase card. Not a particularly user-friendly experience. The postcard looked decent, glossy on both sides, though the colors were over-saturated (which could have been due to my original). Delivery was in three business days.
The service was difficult to use, and the end product was the least satisfying of the bunch. The color saturation was unfortunate, and the white border was unnecessary (at least make it an option). Kudos for the longer character count, but my overal score is B-.
Postcard on the Run (or @POSTCARDing, bottom) - simple, engaging app with a number of thoughtful features, PCOTR showed a lot of promise - but almost blew it. The social hooks are there (you can select photos from Facebook), formatting is easy (drag to position in rectangular frame), ten font choices available for the message (though limited to 200 characters), you can sign your name at the end of the message (VERY nice touch), and it can even auto-request address info for the recipient(s) (just provide email). You can also insert a GPS map above the recipient address (though we can reasonably hope the mailman already knows how to get there). Enter credit card info and you’re done ($1.49). Overall, the flow is intuitive, engaging, and drop-dead easy.
HOWEVER, I clicked ‘Send your postcard’ but the postcard never came. After 11 days, I emailed PCOTR, and the founder, Josh Brooks said that according to the system, the card printed and mailed, but he was happy to send another. But again - no card. So after 3+ weeks I wrote again to say the card still hadn’t come. Josh apologized and said he’d look into it. They he wrote back to said there was a bug, and they would fix it. Three days later, my card, finally, arrived.
And it was worth it: a classic looking postcard with rich color and nice finish. You might say the late delivery requires a downgrade, but I see the outcome as good customer service (and having worked in startups, I appreciate the attention from the founder). My only complaint with Postcard on the Run? Text constraint. Increase it from the 200 character limit, and I’d be willing to offer a perfect score. As it is now, PCOTR gets a respectable A-, and designation as my favorite iPhone postcard app.