From an Associated Press piece today:
BOSTON -- Maureen Silliman felt her empty pocket and gulped: Her new $300 iPod must have bounced out as she ran to catch a train. While she sobbed, her boyfriend suggested a message on the lost-and-found section of Craigslist, an online bazaar of classified ads.
"No," the 24-year-old Silliman said. "Nobody would ever turn in an iPod."
Her boyfriend posted the message anyway. Within 24 hours, Silliman's iPod was back.
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.
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Last Fourth of July, scuba diver Stephen Klink found a solid platinum men's wedding band buried in sand beneath 30 feet of water off Cape Cod. Klink, 36, recently posted a note on the Boston-area Craigslist.
"It's a long shot, but I figured it's worth a try," Klink said from his home in Hillsdale, New Jersey. "Some married guy somewhere is getting whopped on because he lost his wedding ring."
Read it all. The more that people in a given city use the local Craigslist as a lost-and-found clearinghouse, the more other people will also use it, and thus the more useful it will be. (Many readers will recognize this as an example of a network effect.)