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.


Joël Núñez

Hi Lynn / Mark,

Interesting comments – I’ve actually found that the reason why people return things is because they are honest, not really for anything in return. In fact, many finders don’t want any kind of reward. The package of ImHONEST.com labels (worth $30) they receive for returning a lost item is just a gift and not the reason why people do the right thing.

The labels on devices simply provides anonymous identification,a way to report having found a lost item and convenient ways to return the lost item through the service provided by ImHONEST.

The blog I started (http://honestyblog.com) has many more examples of people being honest – simply because they are honest. Unfortunately, since the media mostly picks up on bad news, we fail to realize how many good and honest people there are. Heres a great article that illustrates this:

Associated Press wrote, in “an increasingly cynical world, there are still places where people try to do the right thing. Everyday on Internet message boards, honest folks post notes about valuables they found: cash, bank cards, diamond bracelets, engagement rings, wedding bands, digital cameras, and even a cockatoo valued at $1,200 (AP, 2006).


i dont think its $30 cash, it’s their products no?
agree not everyone would give it back, but there are honest people that do. 2 months ago i returned an ipod i found on the bus that had a returnmoi label on it. returnmoi gave me a $50 gift pack of their products (http://www.returnmoi.com)

there is also stuffback.com

Lynn Wallenstein

Is it just me or did anyone else think they could get labels for all their friends by one person buying a set for 14 dollars and having all their friends “find” their items?

Not sure if $30 dollars is incentive enough for someone to return a 500 dollar item. $30 dollars is a nice surprise for an honest person, but honest people usually would return it for free… not so honest people… doubt you will ever see your item again.

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