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Things I have learned about trackables--Activity

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I have released 200-400 of my own trackables every year since 2010.  More than 90% are dog tags attached to a variety of items, mostly sample poker chips, patches, laminated images, beads and keychain pendants. The remainder are of the themed metal tag variety, plus a handful of coins.


I have data on every one of my trackables.  Chief among the variables recorded are the date of release (Time 0) and the date of every subsequent drop. The term “drop” is any change of possession…it includes a release into a cache, as well as handoffs or trades.  A drop is when the responsibility for a trackable has been given over to someone else. The number of drops equals the number of cachers who honored the implied contract to complete a move when the trackable was retrieved. A retrieval without a later release (or grab by someone else) is not counted, nor is the simple discovery of a trackable.


I have documented the short-term activity of the trackables released every year. For those released in 2010 (an index year) I tabulated the drops through that year and through the following two calendar years (2011-12). The 2011 collection was followed through 2013, and so on. The latest possible, and recently-summarized index year is 2017.  Depending on when trackables were released during the index year, some will be almost three years old, but those released late in the year are only a little more two years old.  The same bias exists through all the index years.


The figure below shows the percentage of trackables that achieved specific drops, out to 25 drops, for each of eight years. The takeaways are: (1) that all the curves are essentially the same [the shape will be explained in a later post] and (2) only about 50% of the trackables achieved five drops [in a later post I will show this occurs at about a year].


Caveats. (1) The reader should not assume the graph depicts only missing trackables. Many are, almost certainly those that fail to make four drops in 2-3 years are out of service, but some percentage to the right of four drops will continue on. There are a few of my early trackables that have made it through 60 drops and/or have lasted more than eight years.  (2) It is possible that a random collection of trackables released by others would exhibit similar curves, under the same circumstances. However, I think it unlikely for reasons explained in the following post.


Edited by shellbadger
correcting text error
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