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Stray Thoughts


Our Pet Listing Shortcodes Explained

February 7th, 2011

What Are They?

You can think of the pet listing shortcode assigned when you post a lost or found pet listing on the site as the reference number for that free ad.  Each is a 6 character, alphanumeric code uniquely identifying your listing.  You should note that the case of the code is important; for example, the shortcode n83bji does not refer to the same listing as N83bji.

For Contacting Us

If you need to contact us regarding your listing you should always quote the shortcode associated with it which is available on your listing page and is also sent to you when your listing is originally approved.  This way we can be sure we are dealing with that particular listing.

For Sharing

Every listing has a standard URL or web address – http://www.lostandfoundpets.ie/shortcode or http://lostandfoundpets.ie/shortcode so you can use these to link to and share your listing from other sites.  The latter form of the URL can be particularly handy for use in situations where you don’t have many characters to spare, such as in SMS messages or in tweets.

New Site Feature

If you want to view a particular listing you can type or paste the corresponding shortcode into the shortcode field in our search section at the top left-hand-side of every site page and we will automatically take you straight to that listing – no need to click any buttons or press any further keys.

What’s the Story? Lost and Found Pet Listing Outcomes

February 4th, 2011

Several times during the life of this site so far, one question has come up again and again; what happens all the lost and found dogs and cats and other pets listed on the site? Up until now unless those posting took a proactive approach and contacted me to inform me of the outcome of their listing there was no way to answer that question for many of the pets that are listed here.

When I started the site, the focus was on getting the maximum exposure for listings possible.  This involved making the process of posting a listing as easy as possible, building out the mechanisms for posting the listings to the third party social networking sites we connect to and working to build up communities of active and involved followers and fans there, optimising the listings for accurate and efficient indexing by the search engines and putting tools in place for site visitors to easily share listings both off and online.  With all that to do, outcomes had to take a bit of a back seat.

But not anymore.  Now when a listing is removed manually, the user is presented with a form which they can complete to let myself and the community know the outcome of their listing – good or bad.  I’m hoping that presenting the form as an integrated part of the removal process will encourage people to let us know how things worked out in their particular case – happy ending or other outcome, we want to know.  However, in line with our ethos of not obliging users to engage with the site any more than strictly necessary to publish a listing, completion of this form is totally optional.

In addition, listings that expire automatically after the 30 day active period will now be flagged with that particular outcome.

Over the next couple of weeks I will be working on mechanisms to automate the communication of these outcomes back to the community which, in additon to keeping you all much more informed, should free up some time for me to start work on building out the next phase of the site.

The Poster Child for Social Petworking – Literally!

January 30th, 2011

A preview of our offline promo posterI know, I know, the post titles are getting worse but bear with me because this one is to let you all know that following a conversations over on the Facebook page, I have just uploaded a poster which you can download and print for distribution in your local area to help us promote our service in the ‘real’ world.

The poster is in Adobe Acrobat PDF format and will produce an A4 sized poster when printed.  In the unlikely event you don’t already have Adobe Acrobat already installed on your computer, you can download a copy for free from here.

Possible venues for you to get the poster displayed in would be your local vets, groomers, butchers, convenience stores, hairdressers and any other community noticeboards you know of.

Let us all know where you put yours via the comments facility below.

Twitter Hash Tags for Irish Lost and Found Pets

January 13th, 2011

Update

Having had positive feedback on both Twitter and Facebook to this idea I have since started adding these tags to the listing tweets.  I hope others will do the same.

Undoubtedly one of the big problems for people trying to locate their lost pet or trying to find the owner of a pet they have found in Ireland is the scattered nature of listings online. A listing may appear on one site but not another and so it is easy for one to be overlooked or missed.

One of the ways I had hoped to get around this scattering problem was by sharing the listings from Lost and Found Pets Ireland but for various reasons which I won’t linger on here, this is proving challenging.  On Twitter we now could be facing into a similar problem, unless you are following the right account, listing tweets can slip through the cracks.

This is where hashtags come in. For those of you who don’t tweet, a hashtag is a simple label you can include with a tweet to associate it with a particular subject, event etc. They take the form of a pound sign followed by a short combination of characters. These hash tags are searchable so if there was a hash tag associated with a particular event for example, I could locate all tweets relating to that event by searching on the hash tag and would see tweets regardless of whether I was following any of  the people who tweeted about that event or not.  To see the idea in action, here is a link to a search using the found Irish pet listing tag #fpie and a search for the lost Irish pet listing tag #lfpie.

Today, I’m proposing that we do the same thing with Irish lost and found pet listings as they now seem to be coming from several different accounts. My suggested hash tags are as follows:

#fpie for found pets
#lpie for lost pets

The thinking behind these is to let people get a complete overview of the listing tweets with the ability to filter them by lost or found status (thanks to @tehkittehkat for that suggestion) while keeping the hash tags short so to reserve the maximum characters for listing details.

If this idea makes sense to you or you have any further thoughts or ideas on this I would love to hear them either in the comments area below or on Twitter – @lostfoundpets.

I hope all parties posting listings can reach some agreement on this to make the lives of those dealing with lost and found pets a little easier.

Irish Web Awards Finalists 2010

October 9th, 2010

So the little site that could has been shortlisted for the Best Facebook Page for a Business or Organisation category of the Irish Web Awards 2010 sponsored by Realex.  I am thrilled with this though the competition is certainly stiff.

No doubt it will be a fun night and I wish all who are up for awards the best of luck – except the others in our category, well damnit, I want to win!!!