The year was 2004 and I was 17. I was on a Boeing 747 jumbo jet headed from Houston to Amsterdam on my way to Athens. It was a rather empty flight so I had 4 seats in the middle section all to myself, and naturally I spread out my stuff a bit as I made it a makeshift bed. Unfortunately, when the flight was over I left my brand-new-at-the-time Sony Cybershot DSC-T1 on the plane. I never saw it again. That story might have had a happy ending if I was using ImHonest.com.
According to their website, ImHonest is essentially a service facilitating the whole lost and found concept:
ImHONEST.com is an identification and recovery service for items of value. ImHONEST solves the problem of lack of identification and lack of a convenient return process.
How It Works
ImHonest revolves around their custom labels which they sell for 14.99 for a pack of 6. Each label has a unique ID number and their phone number along with the text "Its RETURN will REWARD you." Each label has a 1 year subscription associated with it. However, if you would like to extend the protection period of your registered item, costs are rather trivial (3 years of coverage for 5, 2 for 3.50, 1 for 1.95).
After your labels arrive, you just need to stick them on the gadgets and such you want to protect, create an account online and register those items. When you create an account, ImHonest gets your typical information including 2 of your email addresses and physical address, ensuring you can always be reached.
Registering the item requires handing over the unique ID on the label as well as the serial number of the device and a short description.
The last thing asked for is your shipping preference. An interesting question but for a great purpose. Should someone find your lost item and see the label, they will be assisted to the nearest UPS store (or arrange a pickup with a courier service) to return your item and shipping will be paid by you according to your shipping preference.
View of registered items. Note "expires" text, which refers to the included 1 year of coverage for each label.
The Next Step
So you enjoyed a great night at Club Opera (they've got some slick CO2 blasters) in midtown Atlanta, snapped a ton of pics of you and your friends.. including a few your friends will instantly detag themselves from when you put them on Facebook. Nice. But then you woke up in a strange bed and can't find your socks let alone your camera. Crap!
Fortunately someone at the Waffle House you apparently visited at 3am found the camera. They quickly spotted the bright blue ImHonest label that mentioned something about a reward.
All that person had to do was visit ImHonest.com, click on "report found item" and fill out this information:
The next step is actually getting the camera to you. ImHonest has a parternship with UPS, so the finder just needs to find their nearest UPS location (ImHonest will help them do that), stop by and tell them it's for the ImHonest.com corporate account.
Meanwhile ImHonest contacts the owner to ask them to verify that their device has actually been lost.
Through some sort of magic, UPS will know where to send the found item and will package it as well. The owner will happily have the camera back in their possesion shortly. As for that reward the finder was promised? It's a set of ImHonest labels.
ImHonest.com is a simple service aimed at taking care of an everyday problem faced by everyone at some point in their lives. Their solution combines a reward incentive with a convenient return process, not to mention a way of finding the owner. If I had any feedback, it would be that the finder should have a bit more assistance. I found it somewhat confusing that the return process provided a UPS address and little else. Perhaps something like saying how the UPS person will know where to send it and will package it for free.
Overall, I'm loving how powerful these tiny labels can be and I love how every lost-found cycle gets the finder a set of labels for themselves.. that's a nice user acquisition strategy.
I give ImHonest 9 out of 10 Stammys.
Disclosure: ImHonest.com is an Atlanta startup created by Joël Núñez, whom I have met a number of times at various local tech events.
What gadgets have you lost? Did you ever get them back? Do you have any precautions in place so you don't lose your gadgets forever?