Spoiler alert. Nothing in life is free. Unless you are new to the internet, by now you should know that submitting your email to any online form can open up the floodgates to spam. That’s just for a verified email. Now add additional contact information such as your physical address or the fact that you have a dog (or cat) and now your personal data is valuable to those that want to target you for anything from pet food, toys, and bark box, to flea and tick medication.
Bottomline, a microchip has no value unless its scanned and registered in a database that is actively searched.
When considering a database to register your pet's microchip there are list of questions that serve as red flags to consider. The first is whether or not it's free to register your pet's microchip or not.
Free Microchip Registries are simply vehicles to collect pet owner data that is sold to online retailers.
These are not legitimate companies. They are not registered companies. There are no privacy policies or terms of services to agree to, they are not known registries, they have no system of checks and balances in place to not be potentially aiding and abetting in pet theft.
Most importantly, free pet registries are not actively searched.
That being said, they have absolutely no value unless you like being solicited with an endless number of advertisements… “I hope this message finds you well.”
Other questions to consider:
Do they sell microchips?
If they don’t sell microchips, why would they otherwise have a registry? If they don’t sell microchips how could any shelter, veterinary practice, or rescue organization think to check them let alone even know about them?
Does the registry have a search option?
Anyone can simply create a website and an online form to collect signatures, but do they have a capability to search through the data that is collected? This requires programming.
If so, is there any mention of marketing and how they use your data? Better yet, do they explicitly mention that they WILL NOT use your data for any other purpose other than to contact you in the event your pet is found after going missing?
Do they have a toll free number?
If you call the number does someone answer or at least call you back in no less than one hour at any time of day?
Is there a section on their site with found pet stories?
Is there any mention of them in the news? have they done anything to have any legitamacy? Is it an actual news outlet?
Do they have social media pages with real followers and engagement on their posts?
Anyone can set up a social media page and pay for boosted likes, follow, and youtube views, How is their engagement? Do they have 75,000 youtube vies and less than 100 upvotes? They are paying to manipulate.
Free microchip registries have no value and actually add to the multiple registry problem. Anyone can register a pet microchip with their free registry that like all other free microchip registries lacks a system of checks and balances or protocols of any sort to show proof of pet ownership when registering a microchip with their registry. Fortunately they are not searched.