I have to say that, being someone who routinely has a 150-200+mi round trip tag run in NoVA, a mascot is the only way to go.
It's extremely nice to be able to Grab a Tag and then Drop off the new tag sometimes 100mi from home all in one fail swoop, w/o worrying about getting bruced. I think it should be about the ride, not the iPhone.
We usually go with the 1st mascot-free bruced photo gets to place the new tag if the mascot doesn't show in 12hrs or if there's any funny business (ie: cage-related shenanigans).
I think mascot-less tag discourages long-distance tag attempts. Just my 2c.
1962 R60/2, 1972 R75/5, 1973.5 R75/5 Toaster LWB, 1970-74 CB/CL 350/360's, 1988 R100GS, 1989 Transalp, 2002 DRZ250