Lost and Found the Web 2.0 Way

There’s one big downside to dragging all your web-worker gear from venue to venue, Starbucks to client site: you lose things. A mini iPod here, a cell phone there – besides the trauma, drama and cost, you just know you’re never going to see that physical bit of your nomadic persona again. Even if you’re old trusty cell phone isn’t worth fencing – few people want to bother with the hassle or deal with a stranger under these awkward circumstances.

The people at ImHONEST think they’ve come up with a solution – a Web 2.0 version of Lost and Found that makes it easy and rewarding for strangers to reunite you with your stuff, but still protects your identity. The process starts with small stickers uniquely numbered ($14.95 per six) you affix to the stuff you haul around – from laptops to handheld scanners, MP3 players to portable hard drives.

If (when) someone finds your 120MB drive on the seat you vacated 30 minutes ago, they can call an 800 number, log on to ImHONEST.com and the company makes the arrangements to get your gear to the nearest UPS pickup location or have UPS come out to their door with a prepaid mailer or box. ImHONEST rewards them once you get your item back with $30 worth of personalized ID labels.

ImHONEST takes it a step further if you’re particularly concerned about your cell phone. Software on certain models can do a remote locking and auto-destruct of your personalized data if the foundee turns out to be less than honest.

By taking all the hassle out of the process for the honest person who found your property, and by depersonalizing what might turn out to be a sticky situation, ImHONEST might just reunite you with your metallic loved ones after an involuntary separation – or at least that’s what I’m hoping as I order up a starter kit of these tags.