Going Premium Member Only

Well, I did it. After nine years of caching, I set all of my hides to ‘Premium Member Only’ earlier today. I didn’t really want to. It just seems friendlier to place caches that are available to everyone. But . . .

You see, over the last several months I’ve been getting more and more logs that are wildly inappropriate. Today I got one saying the finder moved the cache to keep it dry! Sigh.

Now I do understand that everyone was new at some point and we all make mistakes. However, I suspect this new influx is coming from folks who download the app and probably have never visited gc.com. I also suspect they’re not seeking any education about caching through the local community.

This is by no means a rant about smartphone cachers – trust me I’m currently using my phone to cache more than my GPSr! I just wonder how we can bring along these new players when the cost of entry is now so low there’s little incentive to do more than create a user name and hit the trail (or drive to the nearest Wal-Mart parking lot).

So, how can we educate new players so they understand the etiquette and are warmly welcomed to the community rather than become the subject of a story that begins, ‘you won’t believe it, but . . .’ My suggestion is for Geocaching HQ update both the free and full apps to include popup tips each time the app is opened. Yes, it will get repetitious but maybe there could be an option to turn it off after X number of finds or X number of times the app is accessed. I’m sure there are other ways this can be accomplished – if you have thoughts, please share!

But for now, I think I’ll keep my caches Premium Member Only.

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2 Responses to Going Premium Member Only

  1. Ria says:

    I’m new to this thing called geocache. It sounds fun and I’ve tried about 5. But I’ve only found ones with logs and no one has bothered to replenish the prize instead they just take. The last one I’ve added a quarter for good measure and have been reluctant to search again. I’m not sure how to locate new undiscovered caches, attend newcomer gatherings or hide my own caches. I’m a little confused about which is the flash mobs events and which is the geocache treasure current events. Your end statement regarding only using the premium app for your cache is a little discouraging because how does this geocache attract new followers if it’s only on the premium app? My family would think it was super fun to attend a barbecue like atmosphere that had an entry fee which ended with a cache search with prizes in the cache. But I’m not sure if anyone is doing this kind of thing. It makes me want to be apart of something like that for sure. But I’m not willing to pay for an app that ends up with only logs in the cache or strictly flash mobs. I’m simply stating what many newcomers are feeling because of how little this website informs the reader.

  2. Bruce says:

    Ria- You bring up some very good points, especially about how new cachers learn how this crazy thing works. I’m going to sound old for a moment (because I am) but when I first started geocaching there was a cost to play- you had to have a GPSr. If you plunked down a chunk of change for even an entry level unit, you were committed to learning and playing by the rules. You read everything you could online, you might have purchased a book or two, or joined a message board to learn more. With a phone app that cost has vanished. It’s nice that anyone can play, but that also means that anyone can play. By switching a cache from anyone to “Premium Member Only” all that a cacher is saying is “I want my cache to stay around”, and they really want it for people who have made a commitment to the hobby (including trading items, not just taking things). Premium Members have some skin in the game, that pay Groundspeak a yearly fee to access to every cache. It isn’t much but it keeps a lot of good caches safe from people who do this once and walk away. I know Sue isn’t the only one to take this step and I have taken a number of my non-traditional caches and done the same thing. Because new cachers sometimes (most of the time) don’t read the cache page on their app, they follow the arrow and sign the log. Geocaching is not only about the hunt, it is also about discovering new things, like why would someone put a cache here? Many caches in cemeteries are extremely well researched, not every cache is in a Wal Mart parking lot.

    As for events I missed posting the May events, but a number of them (including the wonderful Spring Picnic) had been posted for months beforehand.

    As for your comment about this website- this is strictly a labor of love by someone who isn’t a die hard cacher. If you want to learn about geocaching you should go to geocaching.com and learn from the experts, or attend an event in your area where you can ask your questions to people much more qualified than me.

    I will try to find someone to address directly your questions in a future article- I think the monkey isn’t doing anything. 😉

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