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Author Topic: Lenstag  (Read 3387 times)

lenstag

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 11:48:36 AM »
LT is a total bs imo.
I tried with 2 cameras (Nikon and Canon), all lens and bodies got rejected because
they couldn't verify.
It just a waste of time because people like borrowlens won't bother register all the lens they have.
And if you happened to borrow one of their lens and register it, will the lender becomes a thief now?

What about returned lens/refurbished etc.
If I bought a lens on ebay for example, I wouldn't care less where it was from as long as it is sharp/clean etc.

Sorry to hear the site wasn't working for you.  If you'd like to just email me your shots of the items' serial numbers from the account you use for Lenstag, I'd be happy to quickly manually verify them as soon as the email hits my inbox.

Also BorrowLenses was the first partner I signed up to use Lenstag:

http://www.borrowlenses.com/blog/2013/07/lenstag-discouraging-camera-and-lens-theft-one-registered-serial-at-a-time/

I'm also working with LensRentals, LensProToGo and several other providers in a few different countries.

Re: refurbished / used items, there is an internal dispute process when there is an ownership conflict but it's not something that's had to be used yet.  And for me, personally, I wouldn't want to use risk buying someone's stolen gear because:

a) It's stolen, so owning it is technically a crime in a lot of places AFAIK which means it could get recovered costing me at the minimum the value of the item.

b) It means there's a photographer out there who was at least temporarily deprived of their means to make a living (or means to practice their hobby if they're not pros).  While I'm not a photographer & really suck at taking photos anyways, I feel like people have a right to enjoy the stuff they buy.

And lastly, just generally, it's really terrible that photographer's lives get endangered just by practicing their craft.  I've had multiple users get robbed at gunpoint for their gear in the US and that's something we could all prevent with Lenstag.

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #15 on: October 06, 2013, 11:48:36 AM »

chilledXpress

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #16 on: October 06, 2013, 11:57:51 AM »
Don't understand the necessity of this site when home owners insurance (or Renter's) does the same thing and doesn't place your info in a third party database.

Renter's insurance won't help you get back images on the device if it's left somewhere, accidentally grabbed by someone or otherwise recovered.  Also, I'm also working on a great insurance benefit for photographers who use the site but I always need more users to help in negotiations, so sign up & get your friends to sign up! :)

Renter's insurance and the police department will do the same thing. What would cause someone who found a camera or lens to go to your site instead of the police department. It makes little sense, I just found a 5 thousand dollar camera... nah, not the police department, Ill go check Lenstag. Very unlikely. Unless Lenstag has a fleet of dedicated private detectives searching the country side for lost equipment this service is essentially an additional step with little benefit. You are still better off reporting a lost item to the police department with your claim from your insurance. My company even sends out someone to photograph and document all items covered. If you don't have insurance or haven't documented your own equipment, you're SOL regardless of this site.
« Last Edit: October 06, 2013, 12:06:33 PM by chilledXpress »

lenstag

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #17 on: October 06, 2013, 04:23:01 PM »
Don't understand the necessity of this site when home owners insurance (or Renter's) does the same thing and doesn't place your info in a third party database.

Renter's insurance won't help you get back images on the device if it's left somewhere, accidentally grabbed by someone or otherwise recovered.  Also, I'm also working on a great insurance benefit for photographers who use the site but I always need more users to help in negotiations, so sign up & get your friends to sign up! :)

Renter's insurance and the police department will do the same thing. What would cause someone who found a camera or lens to go to your site instead of the police department. It makes little sense, I just found a 5 thousand dollar camera... nah, not the police department, Ill go check Lenstag. Very unlikely. Unless Lenstag has a fleet of dedicated private detectives searching the country side for lost equipment this service is essentially an additional step with little benefit. You are still better off reporting a lost item to the police department with your claim from your insurance. My company even sends out someone to photograph and document all items covered. If you don't have insurance or haven't documented your own equipment, you're SOL regardless of this site.

Lenstag doesn't need to be checked, though, as whenever something is flagged as stolen a public web page is created & indexed by search engines.  Here's an example:

http://www.google.com/search?q=lenstag+3077806

This was one of the issues with existing registries that led me to create Lenstag: why should anyone have to search a dozen different sites just to tell if something is stolen?  And if someone recovers photo equipment, going to the police is exactly what they should do.  But how would the police know whom to contact about the missing camera?  What if the gear is left in a different city/county/state/country than the owner?  I ran into this problem a few years ago when my bike was stolen in California but was only registered with a police department in a small town in Oregon.  Totally useless.

The vision I'm working towards is that if gear is recovered by law enforcement, all they would have to do is search 'lenstag' and the serial number to see if it's stolen or not.  From there they can notify the site and Lenstag can put the user in touch with the recoverer.  That's it.

Cameras & lenses are basically like jewelry right now...if someone finds a 70-200 on the ground they can generally just resell it without recourse.  But cameras & lenses have unique IDs (when paired with the model name) so there's no reason why this can't be fixed & we can't have a world that's safer for photographers.

AcutancePhotography

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #18 on: October 07, 2013, 11:10:59 AM »
An interesting idea and I wish you the best of luck.

But... Its always great to read someone complementing you and then following it up with a "but".   ;D

But it does sound a little like a solution looking for a problem.

If a camera/lens is found by a non-photographer (let's face it, most people fall into that category), they won't know to even access the lenstag website, unless there is a sticker on the camera "if found, go to lenstag".  They will turn it in to the police or keep it, negating any benefit of lenstag. The police, unfortunately, do not have the time nor budget to actively try to find the owner of lost property; but wait for the owner to contact them. I doubt that any police department will contact lenstag, even if they knew of its existence.

If someone is interested in buying a lens cheap through a private buyer (craigslist), it does them no good to check with lenstag after the sale.  So they would have to check with lenstag before the sale.  This presumes that the craiglist type buyer 1) cares if the lens is stolen 2) knows about lenstag, 3) is able to get the serial number prior to the sale from the criminal seller. 

Let's suppose this thing works out.  I am a lenstag customer.  I report one of my lens as being lost/stolen.  A potential buyer, somehow, checks with lenstag and discovers that the lens is reported lost/stolen.  Lets assume that this buyer does not just leave but reports it to lenstag.  What happens next? 

I assume that lenstag sends me an E-mail (since that is all that lenstag records) and tells me exactly what?

That some guy reported that some other guy is trying to sell my lens?  Even if the seller's identification is given to me, am I supposed to go all OJ Simpson and try to recover my lost property?

Or am I supposed to call the police and tell them that I got an E-mail from some website that says that some guy knows some other guy who is trying to sell my lens.  And the police do what?  This is a fourth hand tip. 

Does lenstag record the potential buyer's name and address (assuming that the buyer even left his or her name)? 

Your website allows anonymous tips.  How valuable would that be when there is no way to follow up with questions or to allow the police to talk to the person making the tip?  Have you considered how this could be misused/abused.  Its the Internets Tubes after all.

Assuming that it is a very very slow day at the police department and they send an officer out to talk to the seller.  The criminal seller tells the police that, yes, they sold "a" lens, but they can't remember the serial number (there is no requirement for anyone to record serial numbers of camera equipment when privately sold); nor is a private seller obligated to keep or show any record of the sale to the police.

Pawnshops might be interested in this, but they also get lists from the police.  I am not sure how many stolen photographic equipment is sold to pawn shops, so it might be a good customer base. The problem will be getting pawnshops to 1) know about lenstag and 2) voluntarily use it.  Both of those are completely out of your control.

I think your idea of lenstag has a good premise, but I think you need to think about the details of what really your service can and can't do.  From what I read on your website, a lot of things completely out of your control have to work just right in order to have any success.  Your system would work, if enough people voluntarily participates in it. 

One of the advantages of your service is that you don't charge for it...yet.  Which leads to the usual types of questions about "free" "stuff" on the internet. Are you selling (or allowing access to) E-mail addresses to marketing companies?  I am sure they will pay well for my e-mail and a list of what types of expensive photographic equipment I have.   My advance apologizes for my paranoia, but I have stopped trusting people on the Internets Tubes a long time ago. Often, when the product is free, it is the customer's data that's the product. Perhaps you are the exception.

I think a better solution is for the owner to have insurance; have the owner keep records of serial numbers and pictures of the equipment; and then contact the local police stations if their equipment is lost; and if it is stolen file a police report.

Good luck with it, but I think you have some more work to do.
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lenstag

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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2013, 01:28:29 AM »
An interesting idea and I wish you the best of luck.

But... Its always great to read someone complementing you and then following it up with a "but".   ;D

But it does sound a little like a solution looking for a problem.

Thanks for writing & I appreciate your candor.  Sorry for the delay.  I had to wait until I was done with my day job before replying.

Quote
If a camera/lens is found by a non-photographer (let's face it, most people fall into that category), they won't know to even access the lenstag website, unless there is a sticker on the camera "if found, go to lenstag".  They will turn it in to the police or keep it, negating any benefit of lenstag. The police, unfortunately, do not have the time nor budget to actively try to find the owner of lost property; but wait for the owner to contact them. I doubt that any police department will contact lenstag, even if they knew of its existence.

The LEOs that have found Lenstag support it and have committed to using it should they recover gear.  Recovery stories are also great PR & human interest stories so the message should get out to non-photographers once some gear is recovered.  I'm not sure where you're based, but in the US there are thousands of different police departments so I find generalizing a bit of a stretch & besides, most/all states typically run found property databases with staff reunite folks with their lost items.

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If someone is interested in buying a lens cheap through a private buyer (craigslist), it does them no good to check with lenstag after the sale.  So they would have to check with lenstag before the sale.  This presumes that the craiglist type buyer 1) cares if the lens is stolen 2) knows about lenstag, 3) is able to get the serial number prior to the sale from the criminal seller. 

There is support for this situation with the 'verified gear links' feature of Lenstag:

http://petapixel.com/2013/07/24/lenstag-now-has-disposable-verification-links-for-used-camera-gear-sales/

That said, this is one of those chicken/egg problems that is going to take some time to fix.  Lenstag has only been around since July & I'm still working on getting all the software finished & out, so I have little time to work on this issue until that phase is complete.
 
Quote
Let's suppose this thing works out.  I am a lenstag customer.  I report one of my lens as being lost/stolen.  A potential buyer, somehow, checks with lenstag and discovers that the lens is reported lost/stolen.  Lets assume that this buyer does not just leave but reports it to lenstag.  What happens next? 

I assume that lenstag sends me an E-mail (since that is all that lenstag records) and tells me exactly what?

That some guy reported that some other guy is trying to sell my lens?  Even if the seller's identification is given to me, am I supposed to go all OJ Simpson and try to recover my lost property?

Or am I supposed to call the police and tell them that I got an E-mail from some website that says that some guy knows some other guy who is trying to sell my lens.  And the police do what?  This is a fourth hand tip. 

Does lenstag record the potential buyer's name and address (assuming that the buyer even left his or her name)? 

Your website allows anonymous tips.  How valuable would that be when there is no way to follow up with questions or to allow the police to talk to the person making the tip?  Have you considered how this could be misused/abused.  Its the Internets Tubes after all.

Person-to-person transactions in stolen property are (obviously) more difficult to prevent, but once knowledge of Lenstag is more generalized, the thinking goes that photographers would hesitate to buy a stolen camera or lens because they'll have a much harder time reselling it.  And then that would start to make it uneconomical (risk/benefit) for people to steal gear since they wouldn't be able to fence them as easily.

I'm much more interested in working with dealers in secondhand goods (specifically pawn shops) as I already know they take in a lot of stolen equipment that they don't necessarily know is stolen & working on a solution with them scales faster than trying to get the word out to individuals.

And yes, I've considered that the anonymous tip system can be abused but it takes a non-trivial amount of work to craft  a fake tip that seems actionable as well as  commit to some back-and-forth with me acting as a proxy between the owner (so i don't waste their time on a fake tip).

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Assuming that it is a very very slow day at the police department and they send an officer out to talk to the seller.  The criminal seller tells the police that, yes, they sold "a" lens, but they can't remember the serial number (there is no requirement for anyone to record serial numbers of camera equipment when privately sold); nor is a private seller obligated to keep or show any record of the sale to the police.

The big idea as mentioned earlier is that no one will buy the item because it's so obviously stolen & this will lead to a reduction in gear theft.  And there will always be some number of successful transactions in stolen gear just like there are with stolen cars.   

It's not something the site can prevent (nor should it be expected to), but I think Lenstag can definitely reduce the incidence of theft & perhaps make it a more uncommon occurrence.

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Pawnshops might be interested in this, but they also get lists from the police.  I am not sure how many stolen photographic equipment is sold to pawn shops, so it might be a good customer base. The problem will be getting pawnshops to 1) know about lenstag and 2) voluntarily use it.  Both of those are completely out of your control.

There is a pretty powerful economic incentive for pawn shops to not buy stolen gear because they'll be out money if someone determines it's stolen which would give them a good reason to use Lenstag.  In the US, there are industry groups that could quickly get the word out & make it a de facto standard, but I'm not going to bother those folks until I've finished making it as easy as possible to look up stolen gear.

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I think your idea of lenstag has a good premise, but I think you need to think about the details of what really your service can and can't do.  From what I read on your website, a lot of things completely out of your control have to work just right in order to have any success.  Your system would work, if enough people voluntarily participates in it. 

A lot of people use it & Lenstag has users in something like 140 countries.  I haven't revealed numbers yet, but I'm planning to when I get the next feature completed & I can assure you for a site that's only been around a couple months without any real marketing, the numbers are certainly respectable.

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One of the advantages of your service is that you don't charge for it...yet.  Which leads to the usual types of questions about "free" "stuff" on the internet. Are you selling (or allowing access to) E-mail addresses to marketing companies?  I am sure they will pay well for my e-mail and a list of what types of expensive photographic equipment I have.   My advance apologizes for my paranoia, but I have stopped trusting people on the Internets Tubes a long time ago. Often, when the product is free, it is the customer's data that's the product. Perhaps you are the exception.

I'm not looking to ruin this project I've spent an awful lot of time (and increasingly money) on & piss off the many, many photographers that trust it just to make a negligible amount of money.  It would also tarnish my professional reputation and reflect very poorly on me.  And I hate spam, too.

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I think a better solution is for the owner to have insurance; have the owner keep records of serial numbers and pictures of the equipment; and then contact the local police stations if their equipment is lost; and if it is stolen file a police report.

So, assuming you're based out of the US, by that thinking we should get rid of the DMV?  Just have car insurance and dispense with a publicly-accessible database that lists whether or not a car is stolen?  And continue to live in a world where photographers have a non-trivial chance of being mugged or worse for their gear?

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Good luck with it, but I think you have some more work to do.

Thanks, I appreciate the sanity check & the effort you put into your response, but I remain unconvinced that doing nothing is a better plan than using Lenstag.


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Re: Lenstag
« Reply #19 on: October 08, 2013, 01:28:29 AM »