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Geocaching used to be Free! Members Only Caches during difficult times


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Hi there, I am a long time geocacher,  and still active.  You might call me old school. I started caching on a whim in 2002, because I had a gps and like navigational stuff. 18 years later, and I still love to find a cache.  I use the geocaching website to help me discover interesting things in new areas at a home and  when I travel. 

 

Back in the old days,  geocaching was free. 

 

Now you need to be a member to access the members only caches and many other features. 

 

Can you imagine losing your job?  If you had a dramatically reduced income, would you chose to renew your premium membership? Probably not. 

 

Geocaching is a great low budget activity for those of us who have lots of free time, including the unemployed!  But for many these days,  purchasing the annual membership is particularly hard. Yes there is a free membership level. Non premium members can peruse a shorter list of caches, and those arbitrarily designated members only caches are unavailable. 

 

Consider this example of a cache I was looking at for my outing tomorrow: 

 

The owner in 2017 had "premium  membership"and hid a cache and made it members only.  Sometime later that year, they lost interest and never logged in again.  Now in 2020 , they no longer are "Members Only" , but the cache still is!  THAT DOESNT SEEM RIGHT.  

 

What do you think?

 

 

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I was laid off once and I understand that finances can be tough while not working. 

 

On the other hand, $30 per year is one of the cheapest forms of "premium" entertainment one can get these days; that breaks down to $2.50 per month.  

 

If I decided not to renew my premium membership, I wouldn't miss the premium caches, but I would miss the notifications more.

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22 minutes ago, chubby forest monkey said:

Consider this example of a cache I was looking at for my outing tomorrow: 

 

The owner in 2017 had "premium  membership"and hid a cache and made it members only.  Sometime later that year, they lost interest and never logged in again.  Now in 2020 , they no longer are "Members Only" , but the cache still is!  THAT DOESNT SEEM RIGHT. 

 

First, geocaching is still free.

 

As for your example, if the CO lost interest and is no longer active he/she should have archived the cache and removed it. If the cache has a problem (wet/full log, broken container...) there's probably not going to be maintenance (a throwdown is not maintenance). If a NM is posted there will not be a OM and a reviewer will archive the cache anyway.

 

Would it make a difference if the CO was still active? The cache might still be PM only. In case you're in an area with few caches, what's the problem with just that one cache, aren't there enough other caches to find?

 

Anyway, PM is only a fraction of the yearly cost of geocaching, internet access, transport, phone/GPS..... costs are a lot more important.

 

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16 minutes ago, chubby forest monkey said:

Hi there, I am a long time geocacher,  and still active.  You might call me old school. I started caching on a whim in 2002, because I had a gps and like navigational stuff. 18 years later, and I still love to find a cache.  I use the geocaching website to help me discover interesting things in new areas at a home and  when I travel. 

Back in the old days,  geocaching was free. 

 - snip - 

Geocaching is a great low budget activity for those of us who have lots of free time, including the unemployed! 

But for many these days,  purchasing the annual membership is particularly hard. Yes there is a free membership level.

Non premium members can peruse a shorter list of caches, and those arbitrarily designated members only caches are unavailable. 

 

Consider this example of a cache I was looking at for my outing tomorrow: 

The owner in 2017 had "premium  membership"and hid a cache and made it members only.  Sometime later that year, they lost interest and never logged in again.  Now in 2020 , they no longer are "Members Only" , but the cache still is!  THAT DOESNT SEEM RIGHT.  

What do you think?

 

"Geocaching" is still free if you simply use the website to find caches.  You're able to access everything except pmo caches for free.   :)

 We don't know anyone who feels pmo caches are a reason to become pm. 

I still load caches similar to a basic member using the website.  Hasn't affected me one bit.  

BTW, I don't do pmo caches for reasons different than yours.  That wasn't such a great loss either.  :laughing:

I remain pm to help the site continue to make this hobby free...

 

When we take new folks under wing, they don't even have an account yet.  They create one if they enjoyed themselves.   ;)

We show them how to load caches from the website.  Most become pm just because it seems easier (for them) to use their phones.

 

There's many reasons why some will make a cache pmo.  Some don't make sense to me, but so what ?  The simple fact is they can.

We're all members.  Some are premium members.         "Members Only" is a jacket brand from the '70s...

 

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 N 44° 51.812 W 123° 30.907  coords of the first cache you placed. Presumably in the area where you hunt caches.

Within 100 miles are 12,992 caches available to all.   There are also 3,261 PMO caches.  

 

There are more PMO caches now than there have been in the past.  Some make their lower D/T traditional caches PMO to keep them away from the many who will download the app, cache for a weekend and leave the game, some of whom will leave caches in much worse condition than they found them. I've done it on my ammo cans in popular state parks - it helps with NOT having to make the trip to close the can, or put it back where it belongs.  

 

I'll mention that Search works for you, and you can use it to locate PMO caches, and they're loggable.  Tricky to do this, but in some ways, like those early 2001 and 2002 caches with very loose coords. 

 

 

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I'd rather have geocaching. I doubt the financials would work out for Groundspeak without the donations with benefits model. Well, it could work out if they switched to a pay or don't play model, but I assume you'd find it somewhat worse if all geocaches were not available to non-paying customers instead of just the ones COs decide to make premium only.

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10 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

OP does raise a point I agree with: if your Premium expires then all of your PMO caches should automatically loose PMO status. 

The problem is that this breaks the current model that you can renew your premium membership and then everything goes back to the way it was when you let your premium membership lapse. Other features (Favorites, bookmark lists, PQs, etc.) would come back, but not the PMO status of caches.

 

Unless the site keeps track of caches that used to be PMO before the lapse, and then puts them back when the cache owner renews premium membership.

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17 hours ago, niraD said:

The problem is that this breaks the current model that you can renew your premium membership and then everything goes back to the way it was when you let your premium membership lapse. Other features (Favorites, bookmark lists, PQs, etc.) would come back, but not the PMO status of caches.

 

Unless the site keeps track of caches that used to be PMO before the lapse, and then puts them back when the cache owner renews premium membership.

 

True, but none of those other features really affect other cachers like PMO does.

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If you drop Premium membership, you can still remove PMO status from your caches. The ability to remove PMO is now there for Basic members.   If you've simply abandoned the caches along with the game, I don't think it matters much - though I take the point that staged PMO caches are a real nuisance to hiding if your account is Basic. 

 

 

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Since you are from my area. We got a paranoid CO in our general area.  This person have all their caches as PM so they know whos looking at it. GS removed that feature last year I believe and I am glad.  Because we got a high amount of PM caches in our area, its really annoying when I want to take a non member caching with me. 

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$30 a year to Groundspeak is pretty much the least of my geocaching expenses. 

 

What few "easy" traditionals I have out are PMO, just to keep them from getting muggled by people who download the app and look for caches to steal. Anything that requires some effort (solve a puzzle, long hike through the nature preserve, break out your kayak, whatever) is regular.

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