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%%CLICK_URL_UNESC%% Gives New Meaning to 'Search Service'

By Mary Hillebrand
Aug 27, 1999 12:00 AM PT

In an attempt to make Internet users redefine their conception of a 'search service,' has launched an online lost and found for items misplaced in the wide, wide real world. Gives New Meaning to 'Search Service' teams the power of the Internet with FedEx's delivery network. Items registered with the service are outfitted with an ID tag that provides a tracking number, toll-free return hotline and ReturnMe's URL. After the finder contacts the company, FedEx will -- at no cost to the anonymous Good Samaritan -- retrieve the item and ship it back to the owner, who will be notified by e-mail or phone that the item has been located.

A Second Chance

" is ideal for mobile professionals," the company says, noting the tags can be used on more than just electronic devices. Commonly misplaced or dropped items such as appointment books, sunglass cases, cameras, luggage and keys could also benefit from the service. A starter set of stickers and tags sells for $9.95 at the company's Web site. When an item is returned, the owner is charged an additional $14.95 plus the FedEx shipping charge. has already won an endorsement from 3Com's Palm Computing, Inc., which called the service "a new solution for an old problem which has been a long time coming." can help owners offer rewards for high value items and track the return process online. The Web site also provides links to other lost and found sites on the Web -- a missing pet site, the Association of Lost and Found Officials and, ironically, an online shopping site featuring items that have been found but never returned. resells items found in luggage that has not been returned to the owner after 90 days in an airline's tracking system.

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I plan to do my holiday shopping…
Online only -- I like the convenience and comfort.
Online only -- I'd shop in stores if their stock weren't so limited.
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Online and in stores -- I want the best of both worlds.
I'm not planning on doing any holiday shopping.