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New service will scan the web for your stolen bike

Posted by on June 6th, 2006 at 8:55 am

michael jones

[Michael Jones]

When thieves steal bikes, they often turn to the Internet to sell them and make a quick buck. Savvy theft victims will spend the few weeks after their bike is stolen scanning sites like Craiglist and Ebay in hopes of finding their beloved steed.

This process, if done at all, can be tedious and time-consuming and most people give up after a few days.

Local cyclist and web programmer Michael Jones has created an exciting new tool (no name yet) that will automate this entire process.

This web-based tool uses some slick technology to automatically scan Craiglist and Ebay for your stolen bike by performing automated keyword searches of your bike’s description. It will then notify you via email or cell phone text message when a potential match has been found.

He has been testing out the system using the BikePortland.org Stolen Bike Listings and the initial results are very exciting.

At this point, the service isn’t quite ready to launch. Michael needs a few volunteer testers in order to get feedback and make final improvements before going live.

If you or someone you know has had a bike stolen recently, please get in touch with Michael Jones at mjfreshnspamfree@gmail.com.

He could also use some help coming up with a name. Any ideas?

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

18 Comments
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    Austin June 6, 2006 at 9:23 am

    Call it the Stumptown! OK, bad idea.

    What about something a little more web 2.0: How about Findr (beta).

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    Jonathan Maus June 6, 2006 at 9:25 am

    I’m with you Austin. My suggestion was Skanr. I’m sure Michael will chime in with what he’s been thinking so far.

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    c June 6, 2006 at 10:28 am

    how about
    “dude, where’s my bike?”

    o.k., not funny. ah well.

    this sounds nice though.

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    MJ June 6, 2006 at 10:47 am

    Yeah I do like Findr and Skanr. But is it bad to try to play off some other products name?

    I liked ‘fine tooth cog’ (you know search it with a ‘fine tooth comb’) but I didn’t think many folks would get that?

    I also thought of ‘skandawg’ but maybe that’s a lil too redneck?

    So in the end I think I’ve spent more time trying to find a name than I have coding.

    For those geeks out there this application is written in Ruby on Rails and it uses Ferret for the search algorithms. After more testing I’ll be releasing it to the general public to use for FREE.

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    Jonathan Maus June 6, 2006 at 10:51 am

    Yeah, you’re right Findr and Skanr are too close to Flickr. It’d be lame to be so unoriginal.

    Michael, don’t worry about the name…just keep working on the code. When you’re ready to launch I can have a contest to come up with the name.

    The winner would get a Kryptonite gift pack!

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    Russell June 6, 2006 at 10:53 am

    I like Fine Tooth Cog.

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    no one in particular June 6, 2006 at 11:55 am

    Fine Tooth Cog is totally awesome! Go with that!

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    Austin June 6, 2006 at 12:10 pm

    OK. If it’s a no go for the web 2.0 route, how about something a little more industrial. How about “The Bicycle Recovery Project” or “The Portland Stolen Bike Initiative”?

    Or maybe something a little more late ’70s easy listening – Reunited (and it feels so good!)

    Sorry about that last one. That was way out of line.

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    Paolo June 6, 2006 at 3:47 pm

    You all should know that even if you find your bike but did not report it to the police and have a matching serial number you have no rights to try to get your bike back, or so they say!
    Good luck.
    Ciao
    Paolo

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    Scout June 6, 2006 at 10:59 pm

    fine tooth cog makes me happy.

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    etta-tron June 7, 2006 at 1:48 pm

    how ’bout something like BikeBack or CycleBack? simple, and descriptive.

    it’s so exciting to hear about people doing stuff like this!

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    lianagan June 7, 2006 at 9:39 pm

    Hooray! This isn’t just the best bike city, but it’s the best bike-geek city.

    How about “Cycscan”?

    Let’s do a poll, Jonathan, will you host?

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    jasonyc June 7, 2006 at 10:26 pm

    bycycle.org finds routes mycycle.net finds bikes

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    james June 11, 2006 at 8:02 pm

    Call it the
    “Online Stolen Bicycle Detective Automatic Search Beast”
    and may it find my stolen 2005 Specialized Epic Comp Disc Large. A beautiful bike I can’t afford to replace right now and was stolen in Freemont, CA June 2, 2006. I have the serial num, and original sales receipt, and police report. stock bike but put riser bars on it.

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  • […] In a later post I’ll cover more about who started the service, what it is written in and how it will generate revenue. But for now I want do a little comparision between Finetoothcog and National Bike Registry. […]

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    Julie May 2, 2007 at 1:20 am

    How about spokin’

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  • Learn Something New From W+K « Agency Spy November 1, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    […] included: Michael Jones, a programmer, on as the wheel turns: Learning to Unicycle; Keith Gerr: Brand is behavior; graphic […]

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    Jeff April 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

    WheelyWatchDog.com Just an idea

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