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Proposal for Additional Revenue Source: Platinum Membership


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A Modest Proposal

Here is an idea that I have been mulling over for several months now: I would like to suggest that Groundspeak consider offering a new and higher-level of paid membership for those who may wish to to support the organization and website in an ongoing manner at a higher level of support than that offered by Premium membership; I suggest that the new level be called Platinum membership. I make this suggestion at this time because Jeremy, in his recent announcement message about Project Phoenix (aka Project Puyallup), mentioned that the pace of the implementation of Phoenix (v2) will depend upon availability of funds. You will find more details about my idea below, but first:

 

Why Did I Post this Thread to the Geocaching Topics Section?

I had originally considered starting this thread in the Geocaching.com Website section of the forum, but, on reflection, I realized that my proposal goes WAY beyond the scope of simply proposing a new feature for the Geocching.com website; my proposal not only involves membership and ways of supporting Geocaching.com, but also, and most importantly, the primary purpose of this current thread is to explore, in the General Topics forum, the general response of other forum members to this idea and also to gain some sense of what kind of support might exist for creating such a higher level of membership.

 

More Details, Possibilities

A number of us have been joking for a couple of years now about the existence of a clandestine, invitation-only higher level of membership -- called the Platinum level -- beyond Premium member level, and in fact, based upon inquiries which I have received from other geocachers after joking on the forums about Platinum membership in the past, some geocachers really seem to believe that the Platinum level of membership already exists as a kind of clandestine invitation-only upper-echelon level of membership. Here, in brief is my proposal and some of the features/terms that I suggest:

  • that Groundspeak create a new level of membership called Platinum membership.
  • that the monthly membership fee be in the range of $8 to $10 per month. I personally like the figure of $9 per month.
  • that Platinum-level membership will be open only to geocachers who have found at least 60 caches, and who have posted at least 30 quality (i.e., real content and not junk, not troll material, not flame material, not simply empty posts.)
  • that Platinum-level membership will allow geocachers to contribute in an ongoing way -- and, most importantly, in a meaningful and fun way -- a higher level of support to Groundspeak than afforded by Premium level membership.
  • and, let me note, what better time to implement an additional level of membership than now, while Groundspeak is in the process of implementing Project Phoenix?
  • of course, Platinum members would have the choice of having the membership status label on their forum posts read "Platinum Member".
  • while I do not envision the Platinum level as offering lots of new site/membership perks and features above and beyond those offered at the Premium level, I do propose that the Platinum level would afford at least a few unique Platinum-level-exclusive site features and membership perks. I am open to suggestions for what those features and perks might be; some of the ideas that I have been playing with are listed in the bullet items below:
  • option of displaying "Platinum Member" membership status level on profile page and on forum posts
  • Notify announcements sent via email and text message, including those for new cache listings, would be sent to Platinum members 20 minutes sooner than to other members. This particular perk would mean nothing to me, as I am most decidedly NOT an FTF hound, but I offer this suggestion for two reasons: the FTF hounds would love this feature, and I feel that we need at least one controversial proposal to keep this thread interesting!
  • a "Platinum" geo-event, held every six months in a different part of the country, open only to Platinum-level members who have prepaid for a year or been a monthly Platinum member for at least 4 months.
  • Platinum members who have prepaid for a year or been a monthly Platinum member for at least 6 months non-stop would receive an official printed "Platinum level geocacher" membership card from Groundspeak, along with twenty printed business-card-sized handouts explaining geocaching.
  • Platinum members who have prepaid for a year or been a monthly Platinum member for at least 6 months non-stop would receive some kind of free item from the Groundspeak store.
  • Platinum-level members would enjoy two or three extra perks/features on the Geocaching.com website.
  • Platinum-level members would be able to place and seek Platinum-member-only caches
  • On the cache listing pages for caches owned by Platinum-level members, the watchlisted count would include not only inclusion on watchlists but a count of inclusions on bookmark lists as well

I could easily come up with a few other ideas, but I would rather pause at this point and see what kind of response other members of the forum have to this proposal, and also what kind of benefits/features/perks folks might wish to see at the Platinum membership level.

 

I hope you all have fun with this! B) And, please try to keep any angst to a minimum! ;) This is a fun idea for a means to help support Groundspeak while having fun at the same time, and this is not a suitable venue for venting lots of angst or drama. No drama queens allowed on this thread! B)B)

 

Enjoy!

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i,d like to make a motion that anybody who dosent want to pay any more make a resolution also....we,ll call em ''el,cheapo''members.''...and i,ll be the preaident of the el cheapo,s....i garentee a chicken in every pot n a six pak in every fridge..vote fer me....and we git ta wear the ''el.chepo'' tag under our name....

Edited by team lagonda
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You might find some people who would be willing to do it just because they believe this is a great hobby and they want to support it strongly. I for one am amazed at how little it costs for how much joy it gives. That is opposed to the "What do you mean I have to pay 50 cents to park to get this cache, everything should be free!" Of course they have their latest Garmen 76csx.

 

Although I wonder how you would judge 30 good posts on the forum. Would posts supporting proposal automatically qualify for double points.

 

Don't forget the secret handshake.

Edited by Walts Hunting
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I have two thoughts on this subject that come to mind right away:

 

1. I would skip the single great annual party in a different part of the country each year for various reasons: Geocaching is international and we would either have to have numerous parties each year in numerous places or people would complain that it is never close enough to them and, besides, any kind of luncheon or meet'n'greet can very quickly eat up any funds raised.

 

2. Having eliminated the largest funds-consuming portion of the project (the annual luncheon, which has apparently caused a lot of dismay...see above) I would set the price at $5.00 a month. I say this because I think FAR MORE MONEY would be raised by the number of people who would pay $5.00 a month than by the number of people who would pay $9.00 a month.

 

The above is my opinion and should be taken with a granule of sodium chloride.

 

Thanks.

 

;)

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Although I'm still a "newbie" (at least in my own eyes with only 34 finds), I am greatly enjoying my new hobby and would be happy to support upgrades to the system. Although the requirement for 30 quality posts would be the challenge for me as I mostly just lurk around and read the forums! Can always count on Vinny to post entertaining items! Happy Holidays!

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Okay, I have a few more Platinum-level membership benefits to suggest, the first few courtesy of my wife Sue:

  • Whereas PQs run by Premium members are limited to 500 cache in the returns, Platinum members would enjoy an upper limit of 2,000 caches per run.
  • Whereas Premium members are currently allowed to run a maximum of 5 PQs per day, Platinum members would be allowed an upper limit of 15 PQs per day.
  • And here is one of my own afterthoughts on benefits: Platinum members get use of the Groundspeak helicopter for one hour/one trip per year at the reduced Platinum rate of $50 per hour.
  • And one more: Platinum members would be allowed up to two days free stay every five years on the top-secret invisible Groundspeak recreational space station in orbit around the earth. ;)
  • And one more: Platinum members will be allowed to log up to 1,000 "attended" logs on each event cache! B)B)

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Okay, I have a few more Platinum-level membership benefits to suggest, the first few courtesy of my wife Sue:

  • Whereas PQs run by Premium members are limited to 500 cache in the returns, Platinum members would enjoy an upper limit of 2,000 caches per run.
  • Whereas Premium members are currently allowed to run a maximum of 5 PQs per day, Platinum members would be allowed an upper limit of 15 PQs per day.
  • And here is one of my own afterthoughts on benefits: Platinum members get use of the Groundspeak helicopter for one hour/one trip per year at the reduced Platinum rate of $50 per hour.
  • And one more: Platinum members would be allowed up to two days free stay every five years on the top-secret invisible Groundspeak recreational space station in orbit around the earth. B)
  • And one more: Platinum members will be allowed to log up to 1,000 "attended" logs on each event cache! B)B)

 

I got first dibs on the helicopter! Anyone wanna go split with me on it for a few hours while we make fast work of some otherwise arduous 5/5's?!

 

;)

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I would be happy to support this proposal and I think if you really want it to gain traction it should include a Platinum coin, available for purchase in pairs. One for releasing and one for the owner to keep and treasure. Of course the one for releasing would need some sort of a tracking device embedded so the owner could locate it after some neer do well misappropriates it. ;)

 

All kidding aside, we would sign on in a heartbeat to help keep the fun coming.

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Okay, I have a few more Platinum-level membership benefits to suggest, the first few courtesy of my wife Sue:

  • Whereas PQs run by Premium members are limited to 500 cache in the returns, Platinum members would enjoy an upper limit of 2,000 caches per run.
  • Whereas Premium members are currently allowed to run a maximum of 5 PQs per day, Platinum members would be allowed an upper limit of 15 PQs per day.
  • And here is one of my own afterthoughts on benefits: Platinum members get use of the Groundspeak helicopter for one hour/one trip per year at the reduced Platinum rate of $50 per hour.
  • And one more: Platinum members would be allowed up to two days free stay every five years on the top-secret invisible Groundspeak recreational space station in orbit around the earth. B)
  • And one more: Platinum members will be allowed to log up to 1,000 "attended" logs on each event cache! B);)

 

I would be most interested in greater PQ capabilities for a Platinim member to add greater value for greater subscription cost:

Whereas PQs run by Premium members are limited to 500 cache in the returns, Platinum members would enjoy an upper limit of 2,000 OR MORE caches per run.

Whereas Premium members are currently allowed to run a maximum of 5 PQs per day, Platinum members would be allowed an upper limit of 15 PQs OR MORE per day.

ROUTE PQs WOULD ALLOW WIDTHs up to 50mi and limits of 2,000 or MORE.

Whereas Premium members are currently allowed 40 Active/Inactive PQs held for use, Platinum members would be allowed 150 OR MORE PQs held in design and Active form.

2Dee

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I don't like to read really long posts, nor do I like to 30 posts when I haven't read any of them, so forgive me if this has been posted (by the OP, or by someone else). On a serious note, if they actually made this member feature available, would it be to much to ask for the ability to search archived caches?

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For Platinum membership, cachers should have to pass a spelling test. They all should also be required to get matching tattoo's on their buttocks, and a $1500 option to have a ID chip implanted under their skin, which would identify other platinum members from a distance, complete with a 100GB Flash drive to upload cache pages and store other info. Platinum members should also be encouraged to carry special "Muggle Tasers" in the event of an unpleasant or aggresive encounter with a non-cacher, or to undergo specialized training in "geojitsu" (which is a type of muggle resistant self-defense) :yikes:

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For Platinum membership, cachers should have to pass a spelling test. They all should also be required to get matching tattoo's on their buttocks, and a $1500 option to have a ID chip implanted under their skin, which would identify other platinum members from a distance, complete with a 100GB Flash drive to upload cache pages and store other info. Platinum members should also be encouraged to carry special "Muggle Tasers" in the event of an unpleasant or aggresive encounter with a non-cacher, or to undergo specialized training in "geojitsu" (which is a type of muggle resistant self-defense) :yikes:

 

To the above quote: Matching tattoo's where?...ROTFLMBO!

 

Seriously, the helicopter needs to be upgraded to a harrier or osprey. Why are we living in the past people? Get in the now!

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Seriously, the helicopter needs to be upgraded to a harrier or osprey. Why are we living in the past people? Get in the now!

 

I've seen helo flights for as little as $50 an hour but often much more.

 

Harriers and Ospreys probably cost that much per minute, don't they?

My own experience when chartering helicopters (for extreme geocaching purposes) is that I pay about $250 per hour for a lightweight 2-seater (i.e., a Robinson R22), about $$360 to 440 per hour for a lightweight 4-seater (i.e., a Robinson R44) and from $470 to $730 or more per hour for a heavy-duty 4-seater with large lift capability. The rates which I have quoted may be a bit low, because my helicopter facility gives me a 10% discount because I am a (fixed-wing aircraft) pilot (and also because I am a geocacher, but that is another story...)

Edited by Vinny & Sue Team
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[*] that Platinum-level membership will be open only to geocachers who have found at least 60 caches, and who have posted at least 30 quality (i.e., real content and not junk, not troll material, not flame material, not simply empty posts.)

 

I agree, up to this point. How about making it combined finds plus hides = 100? There are some dedicated people (like me) who hunt but don't do that much hiding.

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[*] that Platinum-level membership will be open only to geocachers who have found at least 60 caches, and who have posted at least 30 quality (i.e., real content and not junk, not troll material, not flame material, not simply empty posts.)

 

I agree, up to this point. How about making it combined finds plus hides = 100? There are some dedicated people (like me) who hunt but don't do that much hiding.

Sounds good to me! I realized that limitation/drawback of that part of my proposal shortly after I had posted it! :yikes:

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I also would gladly pay up to $9 a month for a platinum membership. But I don't post very often, so I would like to see the membership criteria be some combination of posts, finds and hides.

 

By the way Vinny, I love reading your posts and your creative ideas. They often brighten up an other wise dull and boring day especially here in the NE where caching in 2 feet of snow has slowed me down!

 

Merry Christmas to all!

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