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funkymunkyzone

Some basic member restrictions in Geocaching App counter-productive?

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On 1/9/2021 at 1:20 PM, Viajero Perdido said:

I'm still in this game 15 years later because I started with difficult ones.  Where's the appeal in  easy?

 

I'm still in this game 11 years later because I didn't start with the difficult ones.

 

My first two finds where Regulars - 1.5/1.5 plastic screw top and 2/2 ammo can. I was with a friend who had an iPhone. They were in a local park with some hiking trails.

 

My first DNF was that day too. I eventually did find it months later after four visits: a micro (mechanical pencil refill container) tucked in the gate hinge of a public tennis court. That's the kind of cache nowadays I usually wouldn't even bother with.

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20 minutes ago, JL_HSTRE said:

 

I'm still in this game 11 years later because I didn't start with the difficult ones.

 

My first two finds where Regulars - 1.5/1.5 plastic screw top and 2/2 ammo can. I was with a friend who had an iPhone. They were in a local park with some hiking trails.

 

My first DNF was that day too. I eventually did find it months later after four visits: a micro (mechanical pencil refill container) tucked in the gate hinge of a public tennis court. That's the kind of cache nowadays I usually wouldn't even bother with.

I also started with the easier caches. I had to, as I was caching alone, not having met another geocacher yet, and not having a phone with data, or a GPS. I would pick easy caches on the computer, and make notes, or print out the cache information to take with me. I fortunately did have a car GPS (Tom Tom), which could get me close to some caches. I found that fun and it also taught me to look for physical clues of where to walk and look.

My very first cache, marked as a beginner's cache, had a clue, 'tree, sixth from the left'; a good clue for a beginner.

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2 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

I'm still in this game 11 years later because I didn't start with the difficult ones.

 

This thread is about the App restrictions limiting Finds to boring caches so people don't know there are any great caches, or it's just being too restrictive. Even a 1/1 may become unlisted within The App after absolute App Newbies muggle it or just plain create too many DNFs on it because of the learning curve.  But I like the idea of people paying for what they want, and more to the point, if they want to use An App, that I'm not paying for it instead.

 

So that people can see what Geocaching has to offer (assuming they have no other way to find out :ph34r:), I'd be fine with The App merely showing what Geocaching has to offer: A curated map of cool caches displayed as icons, where you can scroll around for free and see a summary, read about how to Geocache, and watch videos. And that's all, show examples of the most fascinating places and their caches.  And/or give everyone a tour of the web site and all the free caches there without specifics. Have the App push to subscribe if they're truly interested (even for just one month), the App acting more like and ad or a business card "for free".

 

It's very generous that The Company also adds a compass so people can test to see if their phone is suitable for Geocaching. People get to find a real easy one! Maybe they won't even use “A Phone” after that because A Phone turns out to be no good in their case. Maybe they instead never use A Phone, and borrow a family member's old GPS and use the web site. For free.

 

But it's never enough when you give something away for free. I wish I had the cash to pay ongoing thousands for a new phone every couple years with data fees and then complain that $30 per year is unaffordable.  I scrape together enough for a reasonably used phone, with the cheapest data service I can find.  These people routinely buy a couple cups of coffee for that Geocaching Membership fee.  Save up for what you want.  Really, people, if it's that unbearable, let me operate with your budget for a while so I can see how bad you've got it.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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I think there is one simple move which probably would turn the app a little bit from a "mobile game" like direction to a tool helpful for finding geocaches outdoor: remove the "register" functionality and leave only "log in". Instead redirect "register" to the website. In result each new user of the app would have to visit the website at least once and, maybe, find out there that geocaches are not limited to DT 2/2 and below only. But I doubt the app would be changed that way, because that could result in too many "use the easiest way only" potential users being discouraged from the start.

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40 minutes ago, rapotek said:

I think there is one simple move which probably would turn the app a little bit from a "mobile game" like direction to a tool helpful for finding geocaches outdoor: remove the "register" functionality and leave only "log in". Instead redirect "register" to the website. In result each new user of the app would have to visit the website at least once and, maybe, find out there that geocaches are not limited to DT 2/2 and below only. But I doubt the app would be changed that way, because that could result in too many "use the easiest way only" potential users being discouraged from the start.

 

That's an option, and the only way you can obtain access to the cache info on the web site, and the only way to cache using a 3rd-party App:  You need to send your real email address and get verified, you need to "register" with a real email address that you can access.  Over the years, I've "registered" for a ton of web sites that I never used even once -- you must register to find out that you can't use the site.  And forevermore, I get Spam from that company, and the "unsubscribe" link doesn't work. Wish I'd never signed up.  Makes me cautious about "registering" on any site.  But how do you know in advance?

 

I wish I could try the activity first, so I can simply delete The App and done, in case I don't like it.  No hoops to jump through.  Just give me the equivalent of "finding the easiest Geocache in the world" -- without making me "officially sign up".  That would be cool. That's what Geocaching.com does.

 

But the OP seems to be about people who are all signed up and ready to go using the free user functions of The App, and the grass is always greener on the other side of the Membership fee.

 

 

Edited by kunarion
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1 hour ago, kunarion said:

 

That's an option, and the only way you can obtain access to the cache info on the web site, and the only way to cache using a 3rd-party App:  You need to send your real email address and get verified, you need to "register" with a real email address that you can access.  Over the years, I've "registered" for a ton of web sites that I never used even once -- you must register to find out that you can't use the site.  And forevermore, I get Spam from that company, and the "unsubscribe" link doesn't work. Wish I'd never signed up.  Makes me cautious about "registering" on any site.  But how do you know in advance?

 

I wish I could try the activity first, so I can simply delete The App and done, in case I don't like it.  No hoops to jump through.  Just give me the equivalent of "finding the easiest Geocache in the world" -- without making me "officially sign up".  That would be cool. That's what Geocaching.com does.

 

But the OP seems to be about people who are all signed up and ready to go using the free user functions of The App, and the grass is always greener on the other side of the Membership fee.

 

 

 

I was not referring to the OP but to later opinions stating that the app by showing only a limited subset of caches available for a basic member discourages users who are not willing to "go outside the app" to the website.

 

As for the trying without "officially sign up" - I do not know if the website (geocaching.com) allows it, did not try it. If the app allows it - in my opinion it should not. Why? Because, as someone above pointed out, there is something what makes a difference between the app and another mobile products made for entertainment: what you get in the end is not a kind of virtual prize introduced by the app creators but a real world geocache made (and hopefully maintained) by another user. There should be a kind of personal responsibility then, even a hard to verify one.

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45 minutes ago, rapotek said:

There should be a kind of personal responsibility then, even a hard to verify one.

 

It's a business decision.  I think it's pretty cool, for reasons I mentioned.  But it's a unique situation that only applies to that one App.  I don't know if it greatly impacts the easiest caches, nor if "registering" would improve things.  In any case, there are ways to set up a cache so fly-by-night bored people loading the App to mess around, aren't presented with that cache.  When that's a concern.

 

 

Edited by kunarion

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On 1/8/2021 at 5:25 PM, funkymunkyzone said:

People are used to downloading apps to their phones now and they do not expect to have to go to a website, write down coordinates, get another device entirely, etc etc.  That's old tech and not a nice user experience.

 

On 1/8/2021 at 5:15 PM, kunarion said:

I think TPTB stuck amazingly well to their first idea:  The App is kind of an ad to greatly encourage people to pay for Premium Membership.

Except it isn't a good ad for encouraging people to pay for Premium membership - at least not a lasting membership that adds long-term to Groundspeak's revenue.  My friend for example, and your experience:

On 1/8/2021 at 4:56 PM, kunarion said:

they don't go to the web site to learn all about Geocaching, and eventually quit caching.

 

Kunarion's last comment ("They don't go to the website to learn all about Geocaching, and eventually quit caching.") struck home - I think that geocachers who have stuck with the hobby for more than a couple of years, and have gotten into the game as hiders and finders, are a different breed than the weekend one and done type folks who download the app to see what it's all about, find a few and quit when it's going to mean a bit more effort to find more (even if it's free!), or cost a few bucks for Premium.

 

Geocaching, to me, is all about seeking information on the website, writing down coordinates, (solving puzzles, multis, grabbing Earthcaches, virtuals, having to do MORE than just click and go).  Yeah, it IS old tech, and it should stay that way - that's what geocaching IS.  And you don't get the FULL experience with the app - it's an intro.   If it hooks you, great, go deeper, visit the website, and find a lot more caches, still for free, and learn more about this off beat hobby.  If you aren't motivated to dig deeper, then maybe "real" geocaching isn't for you, you'll find a few caches with the app for a month or so, but eventually get bored and move on to something else.

 

There are a lot of caches to find without paying for premium membership, but it means working with the website and learning more than the app gives you.  Nothing wrong with that - and if your phone has the app you also have the website "at your fingertips".  I see 3 stages at work here. First, the app - a few basic, simple, easy caches, low difficulty and terrain.  Hey, this is fun - there's a website that explains more?  Wow - look at all these caches that the app doesn't show!  How do I find those?  At this point, writing down and inputting the coordinates, and solving puzzles, using a GPS, all that "old tech" stuff, will appeal to me or not, and I'll quit, or keep finding using some old tech and some new tech.  If you are willing to go the old tech route, there are still tons of caches to find without going premium.  Some are content with that level - others see all the advantages of Premium in addition to a few extra caches to find, and are willing to pay the very reasonable $30 a year.  Those that don't make that first leap, from app only to website complementing the app, aren't the ones that will see the value and pay for premium anyway, so as an "ad", it works.  It encourages a deeper look, to see if this hobby is going to be worth your investment in time and money.

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1 hour ago, CAVinoGal said:

 

Kunarion's last comment ("They don't go to the website to learn all about Geocaching, and eventually quit caching.") struck home - I think that geocachers who have stuck with the hobby for more than a couple of years, and have gotten into the game as hiders and finders, are a different breed than the weekend one and done type folks who download the app to see what it's all about, find a few and quit when it's going to mean a bit more effort to find more (even if it's free!), or cost a few bucks for Premium.

 

Geocaching, to me, is all about seeking information on the website, writing down coordinates, (solving puzzles, multis, grabbing Earthcaches, virtuals, having to do MORE than just click and go).  Yeah, it IS old tech, and it should stay that way - that's what geocaching IS.  And you don't get the FULL experience with the app - it's an intro.   If it hooks you, great, go deeper, visit the website, and find a lot more caches, still for free, and learn more about this off beat hobby.  If you aren't motivated to dig deeper, then maybe "real" geocaching isn't for you, you'll find a few caches with the app for a month or so, but eventually get bored and move on to something else.

 

There are a lot of caches to find without paying for premium membership, but it means working with the website and learning more than the app gives you.  Nothing wrong with that - and if your phone has the app you also have the website "at your fingertips".  I see 3 stages at work here. First, the app - a few basic, simple, easy caches, low difficulty and terrain.  Hey, this is fun - there's a website that explains more?  Wow - look at all these caches that the app doesn't show!  How do I find those?  At this point, writing down and inputting the coordinates, and solving puzzles, using a GPS, all that "old tech" stuff, will appeal to me or not, and I'll quit, or keep finding using some old tech and some new tech.  If you are willing to go the old tech route, there are still tons of caches to find without going premium.  Some are content with that level - others see all the advantages of Premium in addition to a few extra caches to find, and are willing to pay the very reasonable $30 a year.  Those that don't make that first leap, from app only to website complementing the app, aren't the ones that will see the value and pay for premium anyway, so as an "ad", it works.  It encourages a deeper look, to see if this hobby is going to be worth your investment in time and money.

I've been at this geocaching for near 20 years, I've never used "the app", and haven't had to "write down coordinates" or "inputting the coordinates" since the early 2000's.  So I don't see that piece of it as "what geocaching IS".  I've used the computer to load cache data to the GPSr since my second one (a Garmin Rino 110), for a while I needed to keep extra cache info on a PDA, but the new units all take the complete (mostly) cache data and display it.  

 

Like I said, I don't use the App so this is a guess, but it sound like you can't add a cache from the website to the app and then use it to find the cache.  You can only hunt the ones it will display.  If that's so, that is a, IMO, a major stumbling block to new users.  If the app is the only thing they know, even if they get on the website and see all those other caches, they have no way to hunt them without getting another app (or paying).  But, maybe I'm wrong about all this.

 

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2 hours ago, The Jester said:

If the app is the only thing they know, even if they get on the website and see all those other caches, they have no way to hunt them without getting another app (or paying).  But, maybe I'm wrong about all this.

 

You're wrong about all this. :cute:

The App can direct you to any coordinates, such as the coords of a cache on the web site.  But, except in the case of corrected coordinates on the web site, it tends to be kind of weird and tedious to manually use coordinates like that, even for a PM. 

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7 hours ago, kunarion said:

 

You're wrong about all this. :cute:

The App can direct you to any coordinates, such as the coords of a cache on the web site.  But, except in the case of corrected coordinates on the web site, it tends to be kind of weird and tedious to manually use coordinates like that, even for a PM. 

I understand that it can direct you to a set of co-ords, but can you download cache data from the website to the app (in addition to what it shows on it own)?  If not (my assumption), then what I said about not being able to use the app as "normal" (finding a cache using the app, not a set of co-ords) is true.

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3 hours ago, The Jester said:

I understand that it can direct you to a set of co-ords, but can you download cache data from the website to the app (in addition to what it shows on it own)?  If not (my assumption), then what I said about not being able to use the app as "normal" (finding a cache using the app, not a set of co-ords) is true.

You are correct: GPX files cannot be imported into Groundspeak's geocaching app.

 

But I would say that downloading and using single cache GPX files is not really relevant as no new member is going to think of something like that. If they are inquisitive enough to find out about that, they will discover the other apps too.

 

 

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So there are work arounds like other apps, using the website, but back to the original question, is it counter productive?

We need to consider the goals. We the users love the features and would like all non premium caches shown but there is a bigger goal to keep geocaching alive and that needs HQ funded, writing code, overseeing, and making extra events like 

- wonders of the world

- memory lane

- mystery at the museum... 

Sure it'd be nice if our newly indoctrinated friends could see everything but i'm sure we'd see a significant decline in premium memberships and the budget for HQ would get really tight (layoffs maybe?).

 

IMHO I would prefer all D/T ratings shown but I understand. It sure beats having ads everywhere since there are so many workarounds. So for the goal of keeping geocaching alive and funded I do not think it is counter productive, even though I dislike it.

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9 hours ago, The Jester said:

I understand that it can direct you to a set of co-ords, but can you download cache data from the website to the app (in addition to what it shows on it own)?  If not (my assumption), then what I said about not being able to use the app as "normal" (finding a cache using the app, not a set of co-ords) is true.


You didn’t say that before.  You are correct that basic members have fewer benefits than paid members, and that The Official App doesn’t display advanced caches.  That’s the main reason there are paid members, to see all the caches, save and manage lots of cache hunts.
 

You stated that cachers “have no way to hunt them”.  But they do. Being directed to a set of coordinates is a way to hunt them. There’s a database and many options, including not using an App at all.  Or using an App that allows downloading cache pages.  But that’s more advanced than a demo providing a quick and easy way to find a cache using what you already have without any additional investment.
 

The App is designed to let you try out your phone, to go find an easy cache, for free.  It’s super common for Apps to be inconvenient until a subscription (recurring or additional payments providing benefits, where you don’t know the value of such benefits in advance).    They even let you play a very easy round or two, maybe not a challenging one.  An intro, a demo.  Most ALL “free” game Apps are like that.  If you like the App, you buy “gems and coins” for more benefits, yet still get popups to buy more gems and coins all the time.

 

But for free game Apps, nobody sticks to only the limitations of a level or two.  They “grind” more coins.  They use tricks found on web sites.  They work around the limitations.  It’s not convenient for free, and that’s the point.  Pay to play, and specifically, pay over and over so that the App that you like continues to exist.

 

Because, if they are honest, they will tell you they can afford this App’s fees.  Pay for a month, try all of it. Or cache with the Geocaching friend who told you about it.  There aren’t great caches everywhere you are.  So find out what all those gray icons are.  If unimpressed, you now know what the caches are like, and you’re done, no more fees.  But at least it wasn’t counter productive.

 

Edited by kunarion
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