Life as a Geocacher

Caching and Reviewing

This is made up of stories from my caching and my reviewing.  It is a collection of those along with comments and thoughts.  Photos, and maps of some adventures and lists of some of the oldest caches.

Filtering by Tag: Garmin

Geocaching, Opencaching, other sites and the future.

So we are apparently moving towards the arrival of a new site.  I had a few ideas about the site.

I only believe there is room for one site that you pay for.  Would I drop geocaching.com for another?  No.  Would I pay for another site?  No.  It would have to be substantially better then the geocaching site and I don't see that happening.   I also have invested a lot into this site, and the phone apps that work with it.

The battle of the free sites.   I have not seen much in the free arena for a while.  Navicaching, and Terracaching seem to be languishing.  At least here in Utah.  I counted 40 caches for Terracaching and 100 for Navicaching.  Many are listed on all three sites, and many are in hard to reach locations.    Because I tend to geoaching alone these are out of the question.   My wife would kill me if I died in the back country geocaching.  I am serious she would hunt down my ghost and kill it again and again, and say "I told you to never go alone." 

Opencaching.us is the newest kid on the block, and is another novelty at the moment.  Yet also seems slow out of the gate.  Well at the same rate as geocaching was at first.  In a few months they have garnered about 350 caches.  Slow going but still to early to know if they can be as successful as the other two.

I actually think there are three ways that a website can survive, and thrive.   In today's market you need money.  So your site either needs to make money off of advertising, ask you to pay, or dump money into it. 

Paid memberships.. Geocaching and Terracaching

Advertising - the original Opencaching and Navicaching

The money dump - Garmins opencaching.com

So I dont see a contest between Geocaching and Terracaching. There is not enough caches to realy make me work at terracaching.

Advertising and selling products (t-shirts, hats, etc) is a hard haul.  If you are not the big boy on the block your advertising income is pretty low.

Dumping money.  Apparently this is free. I saw no hint of how they intend to make money off the product.  Advertising could be there.  Would Garmin allow Delorme and Magellan to advertise?  Would they even want to?  My guess is no, unless there was no other game in town.  They may want to use it to pimp their own products. 

The hard part is that it costs money to run a site.  Programming, so it looks professional and up to date; bandwidth; product development; advertisements; all of them start to add up. Some strike an equilibrium.  Many of the sites listed above do not have a full time staff, or even a part time staff.  It is all volunteers working on their own time.  They try to find that balance where the costs and the income meet.  Updates are put off because of lack of time or money, upgrades consist of new cache types, or maps, and advertising is zero because the money is not there.

If a company is not making money?  Why is it around?  How many advertising campaigns last five years?  One or two years is unusual now days.   That is my concern with the opencaching.com.  If Garmin is dumping money to keep it up to date, how long will that last.  If there is no income it will fade.  Eventually a change in corporate leadership and someone says.  "Why are we dumping a half million dollars into this again?"

Advertising?  I know many geocachers that have said they may be nearing a point to look for a new gps unit. The other (non-Garmin) units are getting better, and are made for geocaching.  If Garmin stabs us in the back why stay with them?  Only time can tell. Hopefully their customer service for the website is better than the service for their products or they are in trouble.

Are there benefits? Of course.  There are those that will have another outlet.  Some are never happy with the way things go and like to have other options.  Competition means more innovation, and faster changes in the market.  New ideas will pop up and people will move them into the market faster.   Customer service becomes more important.

Do I worry about the future, no.   I do not think it is in the cards for opencaching to take down geocaching.  If it is free and intends to be a free service, I do not think they can make money in a corporate environment that will keep it alive for 10+ years.   If they become a paid site, what is the advantage over the existing service? 

My prediction with only having had a cursory look of the site:  It will be the most successful of the non Geocaching.com sites.   I see many that are disgruntled going over there, and people that want to protect their cache sites cross listing their caches.  I do not see a group where caching is a side venture to sell gps being more successful than a group thats living depends on success.  

Just my 2 cents from the porch.



Opencaching and Garmin

I have been following the development of the opencaching site that is owned by Garmin.  There are many people that have posted thoughts about the site, and trying to get information about the site.  I was lucky enough a week ago to check the site as everything came online.  Hopefully it was for a test, because the site was a mess.  Most the links would not work, dead ends were everywhere. I played for about an hour and later in the day it was down.

Why?  That is the big question.  I read some of a report on garmin finances and it appears that Garmin is hemorrhaging money.  Mostly in the hand held and auto division?  Their site says that the geocaching site is free, but the purpose behind the site is unknown. They even gave up on their phone, scrapping the plan for more.

My initial thoughts are that the website idea is dumb. 

1st  Where a few years ago the best geocaching option was Garmin.  Now it is not as clear cut.  Magellen and Delorme have developed hand helds with the cacher in mind, and arguably are giving Garmin a run for the money.

2nd Are they turning their back on the group that supported them for years?  Who knows.  This can only create a rift in the organization.

3rd Do we need another site?  Other sites are niche sites.  Each drawing their own crowd.  Navicache, Terracache, opencaching.  I do not fully see the reason for jumping to another site.  Multiple caches in the same area could cause many issues.  How will they deal with publishing caches?  Paid people in other countries?

The idea that it is not commercial is a joke.  The site is owned and developed by Garmin.  Big businesses do not do things for free.  Won't Magellen, Delorme jump more on board and form their own groups or throw more support behind GC.com if Garmin tries their own?

How will things play out?  In some ways I see it as a good thing.  It will push geocaching.com to react a little faster, or react when needed.  It is funny that some decried the corporate Groundspeak against the little boys (open, terra, and nava).  Now we have The giant corporation, head to head against the smaller funded GC.com, and the others.

How will opencachin.us take it?  Seems like a slap in the face.  They are taking advantage of people typing opencaching.com instead of opencaching.us, .uk, etc.  I would be really annoyed.

What are your thoughts?  what position do you take on the growing battle?

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