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Why isn't geocaching organised by a non profit organisation?


pingurus
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As already stated, opencaching.org is up and running totally non-profit. Until now, their (and other listing services) cache number isn't comparable to geocaching.com (Groundspeak). This tells us at least two things:

 

Actually, in the early times of opencaching.de about 1/3 of the caches in my area were offered also at opencaching.de. Later when some things changed at opencaching but when at the same time the caching scene changed considerably and mass phenomena took over, this changed considerably.

 

There are several aspects in which opencaching.de is meanwhile even superior to geocaching.com but still most cachers would not want to use it and the main reason apart from the available cache offer is that they wish to get credit for their finds on gc.com and that seems to dominate every other reason and is also one of the main reasons why Waymarking, Groundspeak challenges and other activities of this type also never had a real chance.

 

Geocaching.com can make a whole lot of things wrong and the majority will still stick with them to keep their scores.

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As already stated, opencaching.org is up and running totally non-profit. Until now, their (and other listing services) cache number isn't comparable to geocaching.com (Groundspeak). This tells us at least two things:

 

Actually, in the early times of opencaching.de about 1/3 of the caches in my area were offered also at opencaching.de. Later when some things changed at opencaching but when at the same time the caching scene changed considerably and mass phenomena took over, this changed considerably.

 

There are several aspects in which opencaching.de is meanwhile even superior to geocaching.com but still most cachers would not want to use it and the main reason apart from the available cache offer is that they wish to get credit for their finds on gc.com and that seems to dominate every other reason and is also one of the main reasons why Waymarking, Groundspeak challenges and other activities of this type also never had a real chance.

 

Geocaching.com can make a whole lot of things wrong and the majority will still stick with them to keep their scores.

So, from a business viewpoint, Groundspeak did some key things right, obviously. :)

 

Again, it's the user base (community) which can change things, if they want. Over here (South Bavaria/Germany) cache density is not bad around me on opencaching.org, not compareable to gc.com, but enough for several cache tours. Most are listed on both services, though (but not all). "Cache quality" seems the same, there are good ones and bad ones.

 

I agree, that most cachers pay attention to their smiley count* on gc.com and "have no time" to interfere with other sites, but if GS may cross a certain line in customer relationship and/or pricing, the working alternative is already there. Most probably they know this... :)

 

*Note on smiley count: you can do counts and statistics on oc.org as well. Including all side effects.

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And, Groundspeak isn't doing things to explicitly prohibit competition. They just provide exactly what the majority of the demographic want, and so are successful. Another company trying to break into that has to offer something better, and for a sustained amount of time sufficient to gain attention and actually make a 'dent' as it were, in the demographic. To get noticed.

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Again, it's the user base (community) which can change things, if they want. Over here (South Bavaria/Germany) cache density is not bad around me on opencaching.org, not compareable to gc.com, but enough for several cache tours. Most are listed on both services, though (but not all). "Cache quality" seems the same, there are good ones and bad ones.

 

I agree, that most cachers pay attention to their smiley count* on gc.com and "have no time" to interfere with other sites, but if GS may cross a certain line in customer relationship and/or pricing, the working alternative is already there. Most probably they know this... :)

 

*Note on smiley count: you can do counts and statistics on oc.org as well. Including all side effects.

 

Here in the United States we had two OpenCaching sites spring up in 2010. One is the OpenCaching North America and then Garmin kinda stole into the OpenCaching name with it's now defunct site.

 

It's all based on community as you say, and we have no OpenCaching community locally. I had (now archived) quite a few listings on the OCNA site for five years, and many were cross-listed from here, but more were exclusive to the site. Seems no one really wants to play on the OpenCaching site and there are way too many listings that end up there after being rejected here first, and you have "sour grapes" members that the Frog has already booted from his pond. :anibad: There are just too many negatives for me with the US site. :(

 

"Cache quality" is totally different here with the cross-listings. It's like comparing maintained caches to dumped caches between the two data bases.

 

I stop by the DE site every now and then, and it seems a pretty good site and much better than the one in the US. It has a community. :)

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I just don't see anybody doing that to create a non-profit. Maybe for True Cause - beating cancer, refugee relief, etc, but to support a game?

As already stated, opencaching.org is up and running totally non-profit. Until now, their (and other listing services) cache number isn't comparable to geocaching.com (Groundspeak). This tells us at least two things:

• customers are happy enough with Groundspeak's game management and pricing to support them. Which isn't a bad thing.

• there are alternatives, if Groundspeak's customers may get unhappy or if you don't want to support a private business (for whatever reason). Not enough caches on the non-profit site(s)? Start placing them and listing (only) there!

 

There is room for more than one geocaching database, and they already exist.

 

Just my 0.02€

 

For me the alternatives don't provide a better caching experience.

If a non-profit would come along with as good (or better) reviewing system, a database full of active maintained caches, a downplay on micro size caches, a site that stresses quality over quantity, I'd be happy to use it.

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So, from a business viewpoint, Groundspeak did some key things right, obviously. :)

 

With regard to the majority, yes. That includes also investing money in activities like sending lackeys to events abroad, sending goodies to event organizers etc (all wasted money from my personal point if view), souvenirs, investment into staff which makes changes which have no effect on functionality etc

 

*Note on smiley count: you can do counts and statistics on oc.org as well. Including all side effects.

 

Of course that's available but there is no way to transfer over finds somewhere.

The majority of cachers is not even interested to invest time into a single very nice cache if not listed on gc.com - better visit 10 lame caches from gc.com instead (that is not to say that all caches there are lame - it just should demonstrate that even very high quality caches have no chance if not listed at gc.com and will stay something for very small minority groups).

Edited by cezanne
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I spent some of my early career working for nonprofits, served on the board of others, helped draft by-laws, and advised family and friends who have formed nonprofits. There is much that a nonprofit model could have offered -- transparency, accountability to a board (and by extension its users) -- while providing a good living to those who did the work. For that reason, the OP's question is interesting to think about.

 

The danger would be that the kind of disputes that are often seen on this forum would might never be resolved. People end up defining consensus as getting people to agree with them. And if there is money to be made, a nonprofit can be vulnerable -- the best often have a strong well-defined mission statement and strong leadership who carefully selects the board. In any event, a nonprofit may not have been able to make it into a world-wide unified game or to get a common set of guidelines that allow it to work with land managers.

 

Groundspeak is interesting in that it grew out of a community-based activity, invented by others, that was still in the process of defining itself. Its direction was established from the minute that the website took over the existing data and became Grounded, Inc. It was forced to back down on some things in the early days when its future was in doubt, but zealously guarded its core asset. I do not see the kind of responsiveness today that I might like. Still, they made promises that mostly - but not always - have been kept and the core of volunteers go a long way to ensure that its roots remain in tact.

 

So, from a business viewpoint, Groundspeak did some key things right, obviously. :)

 

Perhaps. I have questioned the company's practices and ethics at times, but they are here while others are not. Although I inherently distrust monopolies, that is tempered in large part by my belief that the game is bigger than the corporation. The volunteers continue to volunteer and members bring a basic sense of community.

 

I remain a premium member for reasons that are at odds with many of the decisions the company has made in the intervening years. But from my perspective they must have done enough right.

Edited by geodarts
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The majority of cachers is not even interested to invest time into a single very nice cache if not listed on gc.com - better visit 10 lame caches from gc.com instead

Maybe not a bad thing for the game. At least the users of alternate listing services may have a more relaxed geocaching experience, then...

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...

There is room for more than one geocaching database, and they already exist.

 

Just my 0.02€

[/Quote]

 

Hmmm...if there are many databases, caches could be listed very close to each other. Potential problems! What would be needed next? A clearinghouse? Organizational interfaces? A governmental recreational bureau??

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The majority of cachers is not even interested to invest time into a single very nice cache if not listed on gc.com - better visit 10 lame caches from gc.com instead

Maybe not a bad thing for the game. At least the users of alternate listing services may have a more relaxed geocaching experience, then...

 

Not true if the number of such users in an area is extremely low. It's like with Waymarking in some areas. There are 1-2 waymarkers and they create all the waymarks and get no visits.

 

Consider e.g. this (by the way nice) cache

[link removed by moderator]

While the other caches in the area that are listed on gc.com get many visits, this cache is neglected widely (and no, it's not because one is allowed to move the cache). There are other examples too and also in cities.

Edited by Keystone
link to competing listing site
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Hi,

 

Some days ago someone asked me if I don't find it sad that geocaching is marketed by a for profit company. I answered that I find it okay to pay my 30€ to a firm which tries to generate profit out of it.

 

Since then I was thinking a bit about this subject and became curious how it actually came to the current situation. I don't know if I only have done bad searching but as far as I could get is that the same person who registered geocaching.com also set up Groundspeak. Was there any controverse at that time? Was there a community decision or was it just happening?

 

Thanks for any answer that helps me understanding the how and why.

 

Pingurus

 

We've heard a lot of speculation, conjecture and theorizing...but no comments from those that actually made the decision at the time of formation....

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We've heard a lot of speculation, conjecture and theorizing...but no comments from those that actually made the decision at the time of formation....

 

Perhaps the best source is some of the discussion that occurred at the time on the Yahoo global positioning stash hunt user group. You may have to be logged into Yahoo for the link to work. The posts begin before Jeremy started his website and have a lot of interesting discussion about the name that this game should be called, Mike Teague's original website, Dave Ulmer's intent to start a new game (Wonders) that would be a collection of waypoints for wonderful places, Jeremy and the rise of Grounded, Inc., discussion about whether the game should be commercial, the attempt to trademark "geocaching." Some of it had been summarized in this history, but reading the actual discussion gives a better sense about the decisions - or lack of decisions - that were made.

 

The commercialization of the game and the control of the database were controversial but I don't find proposals to set up an alternative nonprofit model.

Edited by geodarts
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The majority of cachers is not even interested to invest time into a single very nice cache if not listed on gc.com - better visit 10 lame caches from gc.com instead

Maybe not a bad thing for the game. At least the users of alternate listing services may have a more relaxed geocaching experience, then...

 

Not true if the number of such users in an area is extremely low. It's like with Waymarking in some areas. There are 1-2 waymarkers and they create all the waymarks and get no visits.

 

Good comparison. I'm one of two Waymarkers in my area and the only member of an alternative geocache listing service. I can stand my Waymarks not getting any visits because that is just part of Waymarking, it's a type of location-less virtual geocaching.

 

On the alternative geocaching service there are only 12 traditional geocaches listed within 100 miles of my location and they are in a OHV park, and I'm quite sure that they were only dumped there due to permission issues. I had problems myself getting permission to place caches in that OHV park, but permission seems to not be an issue on the alternative site.

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...

There is room for more than one geocaching database, and they already exist.

 

Just my 0.02€

[/Quote]

 

Hmmm...if there are many databases, caches could be listed very close to each other. Potential problems! What would be needed next? A clearinghouse? Organizational interfaces? A governmental recreational bureau??

 

Here's more proof. This recent post was not caused by another listing service, but could have been.

 

Keep the monopoly. :ph34r:

 

I have just found a cache on the island of Our Lady of the Rocks in Montenegro. I've just searched with Google Earth geocache viewer and there is no cache listed there. Possibilities are that is is archived, but the container is in place or it is the final of either a multi or a puzzle.

[/Quote]

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To the OP, what do you envision the geocaching world to be like if it was non-profit? Perhaps no annual "dues"? I work for a non-profit--one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield programs. As a whole, the Blue world is mostly non-profit, but have billions of $ in surplus. The medical coverage they provide is not free.

I'm not long enough part of Geocaching to properly evaluate this, but I believe that in a business where the profit "goes into someone's private wallet" decisions are rather made for the sake of the profit, whereas I think that in a non-profit business the decisions would rather be in favour of the community. I am aware that both do not exclude each other, as the community is also the costumer.

I think one of the differences is that Gc com is run by geocachers for geocachers. The principals in the company are all geocachers. The vast majority of employees are geocachers. In fact many of the first full time employees were recruited from the geocaching community. As their employee base increased I'm sure being a geocacher has been an important factor in choosing employees. I've met some "Lackeys" (the Groundspeak name for paid employees) who were not geocachers before they started with Groundspeak, but they became geocachers after being hired.

 

It's not a corporate entity totally removed from the game that is running things. In fact they make sometimes make decisions based on their (or Jeremy's ) vision of the game, rather than profits. For example there has been over the past few years a lot of community sentiment for the return of virtuals. It would likely increase profits if they gave in the the demands of a segment of the community for their return. However their vision for the game to remained focused on the roots of finding real caches and that is the way it has stayed. "Anything goes" would probably make more money, yet there is still an ethic among the principals and staff that tries to keep the game true to its roots of going somewhere and finding something.

 

Sure, they need profits. They have a website that is used by hundreds of thousands and gets millions of hits. That alone is expensive. Developing new website and mobile features and paying for dozens of developers isn't cheap. There are community outreach personnel, volunteer coordinators and more to pay. Still, Bryan and Jeremy aren't living in mansions and driving Lamborghinis. I'm sure they are making a very comfortable living from the site these days, but they are still geocachers at heart and not every decision they make has a profit motive.

Edited by briansnat
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Here's more proof. This recent post was not caused by another listing service, but could have been.

 

Keep the monopoly. :ph34r:

 

I have just found a cache on the island of Our Lady of the Rocks in Montenegro. I've just searched with Google Earth geocache viewer and there is no cache listed there. Possibilities are that is is archived, but the container is in place or it is the final of either a multi or a puzzle.

[/Quote]

 

I have been in exactly the same situation (tour guide/drive pointing out a cache I didn't know was there). It was not an archived cache but was listed on the GA (geocaching Australia) website. After we got home I looked up the location and registered/logged the cache. Last year we visited Australia again and I had a database with GA caches with me and logged another two unique to GA.

 

Monopolies are never good, a strong other player could certainly keep GC on it's toes and maybe some of the long standing problems would get fixed. It may even help them recognize regional differences.

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To the OP, what do you envision the geocaching world to be like if it was non-profit? Perhaps no annual "dues"? I work for a non-profit--one of the Blue Cross Blue Shield programs. As a whole, the Blue world is mostly non-profit, but have billions of $ in surplus. The medical coverage they provide is not free.

I'm not long enough part of Geocaching to properly evaluate this, but I believe that in a business where the profit "goes into someone's private wallet" decisions are rather made for the sake of the profit, whereas I think that in a non-profit business the decisions would rather be in favour of the community. I am aware that both do not exclude each other, as the community is also the costumer.

I think one of the differences is that Gc com is run by geocachers for geocachers. The principals in the company are all geocachers. The vast majority of employees are geocachers. In fact many of the first full time employees were recruited from the geocaching community. As their employee base increased I'm sure being a geocacher has been an important factor in choosing employees. I've met some "Lackeys" (the Groundspeak name for paid employees) who were not geocachers before they started with Groundspeak, but they became geocachers after being hired.

 

It's not a corporate entity totally removed from the game that is running things. In fact they make sometimes make decisions based on their (or Jeremy's ) vision of the game, rather than profits. For example there has been over the past few years a lot of community sentiment for the return of virtuals. It would likely increase profits if they gave in the the demands of a segment of the community for their return. However their vision for the game to remained focused on the roots of finding real caches and that is the way it has stayed. "Anything goes" would probably make more money, yet there is still an ethic among the principals and staff that tries to keep the game true to its roots of going somewhere and finding something.

 

Sure, they need profits. They have a website that is used by hundreds of thousands and gets millions of hits. That alone is expensive. Developing new website and mobile features and paying for dozens of developers isn't cheap. There are community outreach personnel, volunteer coordinators and more to pay. Still, Bryan and Jeremy aren't living in mansions and driving Lamborghinis. I'm sure they are making a very comfortable living from the site these days, but they are still geocachers at heart and not every decision they make has a profit motive.

I think that briansnat hits on two points where it appears that people have very different definitions of terms.

 

The first is 'profits'. I completely disagree that Groundspeak needs profits. They certainly need revenue, so that they can pay the employees, and pay their bills. The only major differences that I see is the owners of a for profit organization could choose to be paid as employees, or through ownership dividends, or both. With a non-profit, they would be paid as employees.

 

The second is one of governance of 'geocaching'. With Groundspeak, it is employees or owners making the decisions, based on their vision. Groundspeak has chosen to keep the decision making process within the company. With a non-profit organization, it could be exactly the same. The decisions could be kept entirely within the organization. It just depends on the by-laws.

 

Of course, there are other legal ramifications of a for profit versus non-profit organization, but to me, they don't have any bearing on 'what is geocaching', and should it be defined by a for profit versus a non-profit organization.

 

So, from my point of view, it makes no never-mind that Groundspeak chose to be a for profit organization. I might not like the governance structure, but they have not made any decisions that would cause me to stop geocaching 'their way'. As for the fees, I find them to be reasonable. Until they dramatically increase their fees, make a (IMO) stupid decision, or my knees completely give out, I will continue to use their service.

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There is room for more than one geocaching database.

 

Having multiple geocache listing sites each with unique listings is technically possible, but in reality very inefficient. No app exists (yet?) to get listings from multiple sites. The sites all more or less operate with no regard for the other, potenrially leading to proximity issues and blowback against all geocaching if any one site has lax guidelines and permission enforcement.

 

The biggest problem though is that none of the other sites has been remotely competitive with Groundspeak. Garmin failed in a large part because their site was inferior to Groundspeak's in nearly all the features it offered. They weren't different or better. (Several other GPS games have succeeded by being sufficiently different than geocaching.)

 

A geocache site offering features not offered by Groundspeak could succeed. I think this is why TCing was semi-successful for many years and a site focusing on quality over quantity today, but it would need to provide a user interface comparable to Groundspeak.

Edited by Joshism
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There is room for more than one geocaching database.

No app exists (yet?) to get listings from multiple sites. The sites all more or less operate with no regard for the other, potenrially leading to proximity issues and blowback against all geocaching if any one site has lax guidelines and permission enforcement.

 

I agree with all but the app don't exist part. :ph34r:

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"Why isn't geocaching organised by a non profit organisation?"

 

I'll answer that question with one of my own ....

 

Why should it be?

Because caches are placed by individuals who don't see any monetary profit. Reviewers also don't get paid, so it sounds like an open source project to me. Openstreetmap is non profit, and the maps are sometimes far better than google maps, especially for hiking.

 

SO?

None of that makes a case for Geocaching to be a non profit organization.

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There is room for more than one geocaching database.

 

Having multiple geocache listing sites each with unique listings is technically possible, but in reality very inefficient. No app exists (yet?) to get listings from multiple sites. The sites all more or less operate with no regard for the other, potenrially leading to proximity issues and blowback against all geocaching if any one site has lax guidelines and permission enforcement.

 

The biggest problem though is that none of the other sites has been remotely competitive with Groundspeak.

 

As on4bam mentioned the app that shall not be mentioned pays well with GCA.

 

GCA also list both their caches and GC caches with the ability to bring stats across also. The downside is the UI is rough and the site can be difficult to navigate for new users.

 

And they claim (and I believe it too) to exclusively list 20% of caches in the country, a number I'd consider reasonably significant.

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"Why isn't geocaching organised by a non profit organisation?"

 

I'll answer that question with one of my own ....

 

Why should it be?

Because caches are placed by individuals who don't see any monetary profit. Reviewers also don't get paid, so it sounds like an open source project to me. Openstreetmap is non profit, and the maps are sometimes far better than google maps, especially for hiking.

 

SO?

None of that makes a case for Geocaching to be a non profit organization.

If you don't get my point, I will not argue with you. I'll just say you are right, Groundspeak is the perfect example for a for profit organization.

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If you don't get my point, I will not argue with you. I'll just say you are right, Groundspeak is the perfect example for a for profit organization.
Or you could connect the dots, and explain why you think the facts you cited support the idea that geocaching should be organised by a non-profit organization.

 

But ultimately, geocaching is organized by a commercial business because the founders of that business are the ones who built the site that organizes geocaching.

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Hi,

 

Some days ago someone asked me if I don't find it sad that geocaching is marketed by a for profit company. I answered that I find it okay to pay my 30€ to a firm which tries to generate profit out of it.

 

Since then I was thinking a bit about this subject and became curious how it actually came to the current situation. I don't know if I only have done bad searching but as far as I could get is that the same person who registered geocaching.com also set up Groundspeak. Was there any controverse at that time? Was there a community decision or was it just happening?

 

Thanks for any answer that helps me understanding the how and why.

 

Pingurus

 

We've heard a lot of speculation, conjecture and theorizing...but no comments from those that actually made the decision at the time of formation....

 

They are too busy working to keep their business going to spend time here.

Link to comment

Hi,

 

Some days ago someone asked me if I don't find it sad that geocaching is marketed by a for profit company. I answered that I find it okay to pay my 30€ to a firm which tries to generate profit out of it.

 

Since then I was thinking a bit about this subject and became curious how it actually came to the current situation. I don't know if I only have done bad searching but as far as I could get is that the same person who registered geocaching.com also set up Groundspeak. Was there any controverse at that time? Was there a community decision or was it just happening?

 

Thanks for any answer that helps me understanding the how and why.

 

Pingurus

 

We've heard a lot of speculation, conjecture and theorizing...but no comments from those that actually made the decision at the time of formation....

 

They are too busy working to keep their business going to spend time here.

 

24/7/365? I'm impressed!

 

Actually, though, to answer that, they don't need to spend a single second here now! I asked about what was said and done *14 years ago*, and fortunately Geodarts had a helpful answer.

 

Perhaps the best source is some of the discussion that occurred at the time on the Yahoo global positioning stash hunt user group. You may have to be logged into Yahoo for the link to work. The posts begin before Jeremy started his website and have a lot of interesting discussion about the name that this game should be called, Mike Teague's original website, Dave Ulmer's intent to start a new game (Wonders) that would be a collection of waypoints for wonderful places, Jeremy and the rise of Grounded, Inc., discussion about whether the game should be commercial, the attempt to trademark "geocaching." Some of it had been summarized in this history, but reading the actual discussion gives a better sense about the decisions - or lack of decisions - that were made.

 

The commercialization of the game and the control of the database were controversial but I don't find proposals to set up an alternative nonprofit model.

[/Quote]

 

Would it be interesting to hear from top management occasionally? Of course. Take Warren Buffett - about as successful as a top executive can be. Always available, always talking with the business community and the common man, always speaking to shareholders and writing a long, chatty and interesting annual summary.

 

Communication is part of running a business, in his view.

Edited by wmpastor
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If you don't get my point, I will not argue with you. I'll just say you are right, Groundspeak is the perfect example for a for profit organization.
Or you could connect the dots, and explain why you think the facts you cited support the idea that geocaching should be organised by a non-profit organization.

 

But ultimately, geocaching is organized by a commercial business because the founders of that business are the ones who built the site that organizes geocaching.

I'm sorry, I don't know how to make it any clearer. Groundspeak owns the database, so every alternative is doomed to fail. If you think it's perfect the way it is, that's fine. If you think that every OS project is crap, that's also fine. I just don't agree.

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I'm sorry, I don't know how to make it any clearer. Groundspeak owns the database, so every alternative is doomed to fail.

 

That doesn't make any sense, other listing services have their own data bases of cache types that don't even exist here. :unsure:

Yes, they have their own databases. However, they are not compareable to Groundspeaks database and are scattered all around the globe. Do you want to maintain a cache/listing on multiple sites? Most owners don't.

Edited by Rebore
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I'm sorry, I don't know how to make it any clearer. Groundspeak owns the database, so every alternative is doomed to fail.

 

That doesn't make any sense, other listing services have their own data bases of cache types that don't even exist here. :unsure:

Yes, they have their own databases. However, they are not compareable to Groundspeaks database and are scattered all around the globe. Do you want to maintain a cache/listing on multiple sites? Most owners don't.

 

I do have exclusive listings on other geocaching services, and they are not scattered all around the globe as you say. The listing service I use is for North America.

 

As for cross-listing caches to multiple sites, no that don't really work for traditional geocaches, I have tried that on three different services all at the same time. Groundspeak is the only service that gets visits, but if I want to list Virtual geocaches and Web cam caches I have to use another listing service that still allows them.

 

I have modified and cross-listed some of my Waymarks as Virtual geocaches, but neither ever get any visits. :laughing:

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Why isn't geocaching organised by a nonprofit organization?

 

Because the guy who had the strongest drive and determination and vision decided to make a living from his talents.

 

Like it or not, anybody could have organized this this and many have tried. But Jeremy saw the potential for profit from the outset. You may or may not like where he has taken geocaching. But he put in the hours. He put in the time. He put in the investment.

 

He deserves to reap the benefits of his labor.

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I'm sorry, I don't know how to make it any clearer. Groundspeak owns the database, so every alternative is doomed to fail.

 

That doesn't make any sense, other listing services have their own data bases of cache types that don't even exist here. :unsure:

Yes, they have their own databases. However, they are not compareable to Groundspeaks database and are scattered all around the globe. Do you want to maintain a cache/listing on multiple sites? Most owners don't.

 

I do have exclusive listings on other geocaching services, and they are not scattered all around the globe as you say. The listing service I use is for North America.

 

As for cross-listing caches to multiple sites, no that don't really work for traditional geocaches, I have tried that on three different services all at the same time. Groundspeak is the only service that gets visits, but if I want to list Virtual geocaches and Web cam caches I have to use another listing service that still allows them.

 

I have modified and cross-listed some of my Waymarks as Virtual geocaches, but neither ever get any visits. :laughing:

I think you are talking about the the same service that I had in mind. There's one site for the US, one for Germany, one for Sweden, Czech Republik, Norway, Netherlands, Romania and the UK.

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They are not that scattered, for example the listings for Germany, France, Italy and Spain run from one common server. On the other hand the other existing services do run all on different servers.

I'm not sure, as I'm not part of the forum of the other listing services, but it seems to me that they do effort to merge the databases.

Edited by Keystone
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They are not that scattered, for example the listings for Germany, France, Italy and Spain run from one common server. On the other hand the other existing services do run all on different servers.

I'm not sure, as I'm not part of the forum of the other listing services, but it seems to me that they do effort to merge the databases.

 

As I wrote before, I've looked at the source code and each instance of a site uses a configuration file which indicates which countries the site will serve. Each site runs independently and is managed independently. If the admin for the ".de" site wanted to include caches in Austria it siimply a matter of uncommenting one line in a configuration file. Each site also maintains it's own copy of a database, and because the code is open source (and different sites may be running different versions) it would be difficult to merge the databases from the different sites.

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Why isn't geocaching organised by a nonprofit organization?

 

Because the guy who had the strongest drive and determination and vision decided to make a living from his talents.

 

Like it or not, anybody could have organized this this and many have tried. But Jeremy saw the potential for profit from the outset. You may or may not like where he has taken geocaching. But he put in the hours. He put in the time. He put in the investment.

 

He deserves to reap the benefits of his labor.

 

No question about it. And one is free to buy the service or not. And going further, a person can actually use many of the features without paying, if they choose, which is more generous than many businesses (although that may be partly motivated by a marketing strategy).

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There is room for more than one geocaching database, and they already exist.

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Hmmm...if there are many databases, caches could be listed very close to each other. Potential problems!

Yes they could. And they are. Here near me a OC-cache with an easy hide often is found when the GS-cache with a slightly more difficult find just 10m away was not. Yet, cachers log the GS-cache, even if their signature is in the other's logbook.

 

BTW: the hint of the GS-cache would identify it's hiding spot for sure. But hint reading is not required.

 

What would be needed next? A clearinghouse? Organizational interfaces? A governmental recreational bureau??

On the hiders side: a clear identification on the cache box, with what site it is listed and what's the ID (GC-number, OC-number, ...). Plus, correct size definition and maybe an unique description of the box in the listing.

 

On the searchers side: a clear understanding that there is more than just one "official" listing service and acceptance of the need to clearly identify the cache box (by ID and/or listing description) before signing the logbook.

 

Nothing more. This would work with other things in life as well if there wouldn't always be some people trying to find a way around common sense just for their advantage. Example: just using another database because it doesn't check on allowance for placing caches on private property. Then maybe some authority will step in to regulate all geocaching in their jurisdiction. This already happened.

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There is room for more than one geocaching database.

Having multiple geocache listing sites each with unique listings is technically possible, but in reality very inefficient.

For me, geocaching is just a relaxing game. No need to be efficient.

 

The biggest problem though is that none of the other sites has been remotely competitive with Groundspeak.

I don't consider this a problem. They are there and surely have an impact on Groundspeak's decisions, because in case Groundspeak becomes community unfriendly then the users would have easy access to existing alternatives. The alternative sites just need to reach a certain critical mass of users (some already have, at least locally).

 

I'm not promoting to dismiss Groundspeak, I'm a happy customer there and more or less I think they work well with the community. I'm even aware that beeing "other" doesn't mean beeing "better". But occasionally I use other cache sites as well (saturation of OC.org is OK here). After all I enjoy the game of geocaching as a whole, which isn't restricted to one single database.

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I think you are talking about the the same service that I had in mind. There's one site for the US, one for Germany, one for Sweden, Czech Republik, Norway, Netherlands, Romania and the UK.

Is that a problem for you? Why?

Because I don't want my caching activities to be seperated on multiple sites and databases.

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I think you are talking about the the same service that I had in mind. There's one site for the US, one for Germany, one for Sweden, Czech Republik, Norway, Netherlands, Romania and the UK.

Is that a problem for you? Why?

Because I don't want my caching activities to be seperated on multiple sites and databases.

 

I have apps for geocaching on two different listing services, a Waymarking app, and Pokemon GO. :laughing:

 

I only use the other geocaching platform for virtuals and web cams that I can't list here, and most of those are already listed on the Waymarking site in more than one category. B)

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Still haven't heard a reason why it shouldn't be a for-profit business.

 

I used to run Craft Shows. I would get the space, do the advertising, all the logistics, find the crafters, contract with them, and on the day of the fair, people would come in, pay me to get in, buy my lunches and shop at all of these independant businesses in my space.

 

That's ROUGHLY analogous to what Groundspeak does, except that the customer transactions are with Cache Owners instead of Crafters and Artisans. Those transactions on GC.com don't involve money, but that's really the only difference.

 

Are you saying that there are reasons why mine was not a legitimate business?

 

Rebore said that it should be non-profit because not everyone involved gets paid. So what? Is this a 'fundamental fairness' issue? They volunteer because they love the hobby and that's the level to which they want to be involved. MY preferred level is as a player. So, if this is your argument, it's fairly narrow-focused, I would suspect, with respect to the majority.

 

So, please make the case in terms that are not 'intuitivelty obvious', as those usually AREN'T to everyone.

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Frankly, it would only be a different path and different structure to the same end. Both service delivery models have advantages and disadvantages. Some have been highlighted. One salient point to consider is that non-profit does not mean free...

 

A non-profit I know provides an annual 3 day hands on course for about 600 bucks and normally land just over the break even point, with a little left over for contingencies, tool maintenance, and insurance.

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