Loren O'Keefe with her missing brother Dan.

Loren O'Keefe with her missing brother Dan.

A world-first missing-persons campaign will be launched in Australia on Monday using corporate websites to publicise 50 long-term cases.

The campaign, Help Find Me, will run for a week but organisers hope it will become an annual event, roping in a widening group of participating companies.

Under the new project, the movement of a cursor on the search box of a company website triggers a drop-box showing photograph and details of a missing person. An email connection is included, allowing the user to report possible sightings. 

The Singapore-based multi-national advertising company Grey approached Melbourne's Missing Persons Advocacy Network with the proposal last July as part of its social-responsibilty program.

Network founder Loren O'Keeffe said Help Find Me had the potential to reach a huge audience.

"And it costs nothing," she said. "Companies just paste a simple code into the back end of their websites."

Ms O'Keeffe, whose brother Dan went missing in 2011, said: "Twenty years ago a national newspaper ran faces of 20 missing persons on the front page during Missing Persons Week and more than half were found."

So far eight companies have signed up for the new campaign - BankSA, Bank of Melbourne, Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal, IGA Supermarkets, Mitre10, St. George, True Value Hardware and Mind Australia.

Missing Persons Advocacy Network, founded 18 months ago, wants to push the idea further using public platforms, including bank ATMs and supermarket check-outs.

About 38,000 Australians go missing each year. The vast majority are found within 48 hours but many remain missing for months or years.