A Better Approach

  The Facts

Every year, more than 10,000,000 pets go missing across North America - and that's just lost reports! Even with modern technology and a social attitude that's increasingly caring towards our critter friends, it's truly sad that less than 25% of them make it back home.

There are many sites and services available for critters around the world. Some are very general, while others are focused on specific services, cater to certain species, or entirely dedicated to even a single species breed. In the case of lost & found services, there are many options that serve specific geographic areas and are delivered through online posting forums. These include social platforms like Facebook, general online classified sites like Craigslist and Kijiji, and others sprinkled across the Internet in various forms. The fact that so many options are attempting to fill the same space is an issue in itself because of the need to duplicate effort and ongoing monitoring for matching reports - some can be difficult to search and sort through, making it a very time-consuming exercise that's repeated constantly. While we certainly support these options and encourage our users to consider them as well, even as popular as some have become, there remains several of these challenges that are crucial for pet location. Critter Lookout has been designed and developed to specifically address such issues ... and more!

It should be all about the critter!

  The Critter Lookout Advantage

Critter Lookout's goal is to become THE SITE for locating pets. With more than two years and thousands of hours invested into its custom development, Critter Lookout was created with the sole purpose of specialization to overcome the challenges that hinder the effectiveness of the options available today. The only hurdle remaining is to forever get the word out and let people see for themselves the benefits over all other choices.

  • Free and Paid Services - there are certainly operational costs associated with this type of service and we hope folks will support our efforts with memberships and donations. But our priority is the safety of the critters who need us - and getting them home. Our free services allows for postings that remain active for 3 months and provides you with all the advantages of structured information. However, we're offering a full month of paid membership services (including smart notifications to your e-mail) to let people realize the full power of the service and prove the superiority of our specialized features. If we can make a difference to save you time and help a pet, we hope you might consider helping us out in return...
  • Information Integrity - all details that a poster enters is guaranteed to be accurate, controlled, and consistent. With pre-defined list selections and a point-and-click process for creating listings, this ensures that issues with spelling, missing information, and all other inconsistencies are no longer a concern whatsoever.
  • Location - the task of location is based on a geographical coordinates - not user addresses or deciphering boundaries between suburbs and regions. Critter Lookout avoids this issue by employing a point-and-click map interface for specifying a posting's origination point (i.e. where a critter is found, was last seen, etc.) and uses standard geographic coordinates for 'sweep searching' within an equal radius around that point.
  • Privacy & Security - your posting information is completely private and secured via SSL encryption on every page. Because Critter Lookout uses a map coordinate approach, personal information is never revealed (excluding Calendar Event listings, where it is critical). The minium requirement for postings is a first name and e-mail address to contact for smart alerts and user enquiries. For further protection, Critter Lookout uses a blind e-mail model for enquiries; we take the enquirer's information and e-mail address and send it to you on their behalf (you see their e-mail to respond directly, if you wish).
Read on to understand the critical differences that specialization offers...

  The Challenges

Social media sites are designed for anyone to talk about anything - somewhat uncontrolled, noisy, and unstructured. Classified sites are generally the same - a catch-all for many topics. The fact that these sites simply are not designed for the specialized data associated with pets, leaves it up to the user to navigate, type, search, browse, read... over and over, every day. The best they can offer is broad, generalized categories, but it still requires constant manual searching and monitoring of all new postings.

  • So Many Options - unlike online retailers, who compete to sell the same products, pet location is based on a matching scheme and is not a 'selling' competition; it is in the best interest of the pets and people to have a single service that everyone uses to ensure the best chance of matching the lost and found pets. Otherwise, it requires you to duplicate effort across many different services for posting creation (and ongoing monitoring). More importantly, the person that you need to match with (e.g. finder of your lost pet) may not be aware of the same sites or only place a posting on one. It's up to you to manually search them all, with the hope of hitting that one posting buried within many sites.
  • Information Accuracy - the vast majority of these sites are based on free-form information typed in by the user. The dependency on someone to provide all the critical details used for searching is prone to incompleteness and errors. And of course, spelling can always be an issue for keyword searching... some sites are even letter-case sensitive, so 'dog' would not make a match with a posting if it had been entered as 'Dog'.
  • Location Specification - area names and their spelling are always candidates for interpretation. Depending on the poster, the location name used in the posting for location may vary, be misspelled, or overlooked completely.

  The Options

We sincerely applaud the effort of anyone who puts effort into the genuine best-interests of our critter friends, but after using all of these services on multiple occasions without much success, it was obvious that there are inherent obstacles and inefficiencies that could not be overcome. The simple fact is that these sites are all based on generalized services and not designed for specific purposes, such as lost and found pet information. In comparison, think of the information completeness and relevance in a dating or employment site vs. the detail and consistency (or lack of) in a general classified or social media posting... and more importantly, realize which is more efficient for controlling, organizing, and ultimately searching the critical information.

In the cases of a 'match up' type of advantage for connecting pets to their lost owners, the choice for a well-known single, specialized service gives you and your critter the best chances - and existing, similar services in other industries have already proven this to be the case...

We want to be that choice - the one your critter would make with their paw on that mouse!