Philosateleia
Kevin Blackston
PO Box 17544
San Antonio TX 78217-0544
United States of America

Philosateleian Blog

Mystampworld: social networking for stamp collectors

It has been a while since I reviewed a website here, but I recently heard from Rod T., who asked if I would consider taking a look at a current project of his, mystampworld (not to be confused with MyStampWorld.com, a different site). “Membership is free,” Rod wrote. “Everything is free!” How could I say no to free?

Signing up

My first stop, naturally, was the signup page, where I chose a username and password and completed other required information. I was pleasantly surprised to find that you do not have to give your real name if you don’t want to—a pleasant nod for those trying to maintain a modicum of privacy. You also have the option of creating an account and using your Facebook or Google credentials to sign in if you don’t want to have to remember another username and password.

After you complete the signup process, you’re apparently supposed to receive an e-mail asking you to confirm your account creation. For some reason, that e-mail never arrived for me—not even after I used the site’s functionality to resend it. I was able to log in, but could not access the “members only” content. That presented a bit of a speed bump, but I sent a message to Rod and he was able to manually activate my account for me.

Features

At first glance, mystampword looks like a sort of Facebook for stamp collectors. When you log in, you have a news feed, notifications about new activity since the last time you visited, and so forth. There are some distinguishing features that make it more than just a Facebook clone, however.

One feature in particular really stands out: mystampworld gives you your own web store. I tested this by listing a stamp for sale, and the process itself really doesn’t seem that much different than creating fixed price listings on eBay or Delcampe. Here’s the difference: mystampworld doesn’t take a commission when you sell something. This is a big win in my book, particularly if you’re trying to sell lower value items.

(In addition to giving you the ability to list stamps individually, mystampworld offers an import tool that purportedly helps you list multiple items at once. I haven’t tried that myself, but it looks like a nice idea.)

Mystampworld offers instructions on how to set up your PayPal account so that users can pay for their stamps without any direct intervention from you, but due to how I use PayPal, I wasn’t able to test this.

Other nice features include a classifieds section (Craigslist for stamps, anyone?) and a forum where you can swap stories and tips with other members. You can also join groups, loose bands of collectors who share your philatelic interests.

Additional areas of the site include photo albums where you can share images of items in your collection, and blogs. I’m not overly impressed with either of these offerings, but then again, I have this blog and website where I can share images; I’m already sort of invested in this endeavor. If you’re just getting started, you may very well find mystampworld’s blog and photo features sufficient.

Rewards

Another interesting twist involves the concept of rewards. For each action you perform on mystampworld (logging in, replying to a forum post, uploading a picture), you receive a set number of points. Once you’ve accumulated a certain number of points, you have the opportunity to claim a reward such as stamps or a book.

These rewards obviously depend on the generosity of mystampworld’s sponsors, and I wouldn’t sign up with the sole purpose being earning points so you can get a “free” reward. You probably have better ways than chasing points to use your time. Still, it’s a nice concept, and if you get involved on the site, you may discover you’ve earned free stuff without really thinking about it.

Overall impressions

In general, I think mystampworld has a good thing going. The personalized stores, in particular, really caught my attention, and it’s nice to see an activity feed about stamps rather than Farmville updates and posts about what that person you met one time ate for breakfast this morning and so forth.

There are, of course, some areas where mystampworld has some room for improvement. There seems to be a little inconsistency in layout from one page to the next. The help section, in particular, made me ask, “Am I still on the same site?” That’s probably all but inevitable when you’re trying to do so many different things. As long as mystampworld continues to be actively developed, minor issues like that will no doubt get worked out.

In my opinion, the biggest hurdle mystampworld faces is getting more collectors signed up and actively involved in using the site. I know from personal experience that getting people involved is easier said than done, but it can happen, and I wish Rod all the best with his project.

Related: me on mystampworld

Join Philosateleian Post’s 10th anniversary celebration

It’s hard for me to believe, but Philosateleian Post will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2014! I plan on issuing a special commemorative private local post stamp to mark the occasion.

Philosateleian Post 10th Anniversary stamp
Philosateleian Post 10th Anniversary stamp

Check out the official press release for details on how you can request a free copy for your own collection.

Missing Ray Charles (and tufted puffins)

Yesterday, I received an e-mail from David W. asking why the Winter 2013 supplement for The Philosateleian U.S. Stamp Album did not include spaces for the Ray Charles stamp and the tufted puffins stamp with black year date.

In the case of Ray Charles, I knew about the stamp, but somehow neglected to include a space for it. As for the puffins, I didn’t realize there was a second variety.

Oops.

At any rate, the omissions were easily corrected. You can download and print the replacements for 2013 pages 2 and 13 at your convenience. Thanks to David for pointing out the missing items.

Scenic American Landscapes cover features all stamps from series

In my entry titled “Yosemite National Park postal card,” I mentioned that Sarah and I made a trip to California in September, and that during our time there we were able to visit Yosemite National Park. In addition to having the Yosemite National Park postal card from the Scenic American Landscapes series postmarked there, I prepared and serviced a few covers bearing all 18 of the stamps from that same series. One of those covers is pictured here.

Cover bearing all 18 stamps from the United States' Scenic American Landscapes series postmarked at Yosemite National Park
Cover bearing all 18 Scenic American Landscapes stamps postmarked at Yosemite National Park

The Scenic American Landscapes series really appealed to me, and I’m sorry that it came to an end last year. There were some truly beautiful designs, however, and although this is a totally philatelic creation, I’m happy to have the full set on a single cover.

You may have noticed the usual barcodes and sprayed-on cancellations found on modern U.S. mail are missing from my cover. Due to the high face value of the stamps I used, there was more than enough postage to pay for Priority Mail service, so I inserted each of the covers I serviced into one of the small Priority Mail window envelopes that the USPS provides for mailing #10 envelopes. This provided imperfect protection; the cover pictured here made it through to me virtually unscathed, but a couple of others were dinged up in the mail.

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