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I've been a premium member for several years because I enjoy the game, appreciate its organization, and have the means to donate to GC.com. I was disappointed to learn today, however, that access to caches is quite limited for those not in the position to shell out the (granted, for some or even many, a pittance for the service provided) subscription fee. My cousin, who is financially strapped - like, seriously so - and formerly a premium member who had to drop it in favor of groceries, did a 1/4.5 cache with me today. She can't log it, though, because she's not a premium member.


It seems the rules have changed, and if it's over 2/2 or something or any of a number of various types of caches, non-members can't play along, can't log, are excluded. I thought the "premium-member only" caches were the only ones that excluded non-members.

Sure, we should all contribute, and maybe there's a way for folks living on the edge to enjoy the game as well as anyone even if they can't afford the annual dues. Please reconsider such tight limitations.

 

Thanks.

Screenshot 2024-05-23 at 11.40.58 PM.png

Edited by BooBooBee
Uploading image to illustrate what I'm talking about.
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Non premium members can actually access all caches, perhaps with decreased convenience. On the website they can see all caches apart from premium caches, and if a premium member they find a cache with shares the URL for the premium cache, they can log them too.

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They certainly are not available on the app. There we were, standing on the mountainside, me using the GC.com app with no problem. Her app showing the cache smiley greyed out and when she clicked on it receiving a message that it wasn't available to her because it was over a 2D or 2T, then encouraged her to join for access. Perhaps she could see it online on a laptop, but that's not very convenient for navigating in the field.

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I believe there is a way for her to log the cache but I don't remember the logistics for doing so. I'm sure someone will come along shortly with some info on that.

 

Geocaching dot com didn't use to be like this. Every cache was available to any member of the site. It's a shame it isn't still like that since I feel the exclusions have hurt the quality of our hobby. 

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Just now, Mudfrog said:

Geocaching dot com didn't use to be like this. Every cache was available to any member of the site. It's a shame it isn't still like that since I feel the exclusions have hurt the quality of our hobby. 

That's my point, I guess. It used to be available to all. And I know there are now employees and mouths to feed, but are there not enough of us premium subscribers out here to help foot the bill?

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15 minutes ago, BooBooBee said:

They certainly are not available on the app.

True - that's why I said the website. Premium offers more convenience than anything IMO - you can cache pretty much as well as the rest of us, but you need to work harder....

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14 minutes ago, BooBooBee said:

And I know there are now employees and mouths to feed, but are there not enough of us premium subscribers out here to help foot the bill?

This isn't great logic is it - so if HQ relax the guiidelines enough, how many paying customers will decide to go for the free option and let the 'rest' foot the bill for them?

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, BooBooBee said:

It seems the rules have changed, and if it's over 2/2 or something or any of a number of various types of caches, non-members can't play along, can't log, are excluded. I thought the "premium-member only" caches were the only ones that excluded non-members.

There are limitations using the official app as a basic member. Geocaches rated 2/2 and below, traditional caches and events. All others are referred to as advanced geocaches, and they are different from premium member only caches. There are many advanced caches that are available to all members but you just can't see them on the app. Using the website will help you view all of these that aren't premium member only, and will allow her to log them as well.

 

*The 1/4.5 cache you logged does not appear to be a pmo geocache so she should have no trouble at all logging it on the website!

Edited by Max and 99
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1 hour ago, lee737 said:

Non premium members can actually access all caches, perhaps with decreased convenience. On the website they can see all caches apart from premium caches, and if a premium member they find a cache with shares the URL for the premium cache, they can log them too.

 

One work around is to store the locations of caches as waypoints on a cache you have access to. Takes a little work but say you are hiking a specific trail then you can add the additional ones you can not see on the app. 

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7 hours ago, Smitherington said:

When I began geocaching there was no app. . . .   Life was hard.

 

Non-Premium Members have all the conveniences and inconveniences that we all had when we started years ago, before there was an app.  If you use the website, you (they) can see all the caches except the PMO.  Either put up with the "inconvenience" [ and it's just an inconvenience, not a restriction]  or put out the $$.  If they can't afford it, maybe a friend or relative will gift it to them for their birthday or something.  

 

I still use the website more than the app. I use the app for navigation and on-site logging.  

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2 hours ago, NanCycle said:

 

I still use the website more than the app. I use the app for navigation and on-site logging.

 

Yes, me too. I do all my planning and logging on the website, loading GPX files into my Garmin before I leave home for navigation. About the only time I use the app is for FTF field logs, which I then flesh out on the website when I get home.

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Posted (edited)
19 hours ago, BooBooBee said:

I've been a premium member for several years because I enjoy the game, appreciate its organization, and have the means to donate to GC.com. I was disappointed to learn today, however, that access to caches is quite limited for those not in the position to shell out the (granted, for some or even many, a pittance for the service provided) subscription fee. My cousin, who is financially strapped - like, seriously so - and formerly a premium member who had to drop it in favor of groceries, did a 1/4.5 cache with me today. She can't log it, though, because she's not a premium member.


It seems the rules have changed, and if it's over 2/2 or something or any of a number of various types of caches, non-members can't play along, can't log, are excluded. I thought the "premium-member only" caches were the only ones that excluded non-members.

Sure, we should all contribute, and maybe there's a way for folks living on the edge to enjoy the game as well as anyone even if they can't afford the annual dues. Please reconsider such tight limitations.

 

Thanks.

Screenshot 2024-05-23 at 11.40.58 PM.png

 

As mentioned previously, a Basic member can use a phone web browser to get a map and coordinates of all available caches, this doesn't require a laptop.  PMO is excluded (not shown on the map nor in search) because those are by definition Premium Member Only caches.  But a Basic member can log PMO and also use the App for free to find any most any cache, it's just slightly less convenient.  We pay for the convenience.  A lot of us don't even use an "App" for caching.  A smartphone account is an expense, and I did my caching offline or via wifi for years, to save money.

 

And while you're caching with your cousin, hand your phone to your cousin, and she can then see the caches within the App without needing to enter them manually.

 

Edited by kunarion
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On 5/24/2024 at 1:33 AM, Mudfrog said:

Geocaching dot com didn't use to be like this. Every cache was available to any member of the site.

Basic members were never able to find Premium Member Only caches on their own. 

 -  Groundspeak sometimes gives out temp PMs for promotions, and someone asking for one, but that's it.

If you notice the website directions others gave, it's because "Apps" didn't come out until years later (2013).  Before that everyone went to the website and loaded caches on a handheld GPSr (though the other 2/3rds used blackberry and Trimble as early as 2005/06).

When the Intro app came out in 2013, a lot of COs freaked, with people never bothering to read directions, and never bothering to enter the site (so we didn't know who they were...), taking caches and others, removing everything inside, and worse.  Treasure !! From that "real life treasure hunt".

 - We had a person remove our ammo cans, replacing them along trail sides miles away.

Cache restrictions for basic members using the app started IIRC at 1.5/1.5 for basic members and now it's up to 2.

If you're not going to log into the site with a free app and we don't even have a basic idea who you are, the very generous D/T restriction must stand.

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23 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

Yes, me too. I do all my planning and logging on the website, loading GPX files into my Garmin before I leave home for navigation. About the only time I use the app is for FTF field logs, which I then flesh out on the website when I get home.

 My cell phone has better navigation than my Garmin (it's more up-to -date) so I use it for the driving part of the navigation; after I have parked, then I use the Garmin for the walking part  because I feel that it has better accuracy--may or may not be true, but I like it better.  I log all finds on the app on site with a simple "Found it", then write a real log later when I have the time to think about it.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

Basic members were never able to find Premium Member Only caches on their own. 

 -  Groundspeak sometimes gives out temp PMs for promotions, and someone asking for one, but that's it.

If you notice the website directions others gave, it's because "Apps" didn't come out until years later (2013).  Before that everyone went to the website and loaded caches on a handheld GPSr (though the other 2/3rds used blackberry and Trimble as early as 2005/06).

When the Intro app came out in 2013, a lot of COs freaked, with people never bothering to read directions, and never bothering to enter the site (so we didn't know who they were...), taking caches and others, removing everything inside, and worse.  Treasure !! From that "real life treasure hunt".

 - We had a person remove our ammo cans, replacing them along trail sides miles away.

Cache restrictions for basic members using the app started IIRC at 1.5/1.5 for basic members and now it's up to 2.

If you're not going to log into the site with a free app and we don't even have a basic idea who you are, the very generous D/T restriction must stand.

 

You are right, I think. I started in early 2002 and to be honest, I'm not sure if PMO caches were a thing back then. Anyway, I wasn't thinking about these when I posted that. I was thinking about the app with its basic member limitations. I figure the majority of people these days cache with their phone via the app and I'd bet many of them, maybe most,  get bored fairly quickly with the caches the app limits them to. They probably never realize there's a website where they can see a lot more variety.

Edited by Mudfrog
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On 5/24/2024 at 1:34 AM, BooBooBee said:

That's my point, I guess. It used to be available to all. And I know there are now employees and mouths to feed, but are there not enough of us premium subscribers out here to help foot the bill?

 

I would imagine there are enough premium members to cover the costs, but the problem is that if the limitations were removed I would guess those numbers would plummet to the point where it's not sustainable. I think the entire experience for everyone would suffer a lot. Also, money aside if everyone who joined instantly had access to every cache type, this could cause a lot of confusion and more caches would likely be destroyed/messed with. 

 

It's actually shocking how cheap it is. If you already have a smartphone or GPS it's one of the cheapest hobbies in the world. I have seen an app that only scans PDFs and costs more per month, lol. 

 

In my area at least, there are a massive number of caches that meet the free member requirements (2/2 under and trads). I have also intentionally made some one's recently that meet those requirements and have SWAG for those who might be new. I think I could only search for 'free' caches for the next 5 years and still have lots of fun. 

 

Also, as others mentioned if it's really one of your favourite hobbies and for some reason money was extremely tight, you could research alternatives, such as visiting the actual website instead of app to see more cache types. 

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Posted (edited)
18 hours ago, cerberus1 said:

If you notice the website directions others gave, it's because "Apps" didn't come out until years later (2013).

 

FWIW the first Groundspeak app came out at least as early as 2009.

 

Around Christmas that year a friend with a new iPhone asked if I had heard of something called geocaching and whether I wanted to give it a try. We were using the official app. It had live data, but the battery couldn't last more than 3-5 caches without recharging. 

 

In 2010 I got my first smartphone, a Droid, and used a great free app. It was either GeoBeagle or a derivative thereof. I had to pre-load GPX like a regular GPSr device.

 

I think 2013 was when the API came out. Probably also the first official app for Droid.

 

One thing that did change: originally the iPhone app was a one-time purchase, but will full functionality (except PMO restrictions). Later that app was discontinued and replaced by a free app with limited functionality unless you were a PM. This encouraged newbies to buy a membership before they were ready and really watered down the usefulness of PMO.

 

Edited by JL_HSTRE
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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, JL_HSTRE said:

This encouraged newbies to buy a membership before they were ready and really watered down the usefulness of PMO.

 

Yes, almost all the newbies I see around here now, particularly the app-only ones who've never visited the website, have premium membership before they've even found their first cache. This not only waters down the usefulness of PMO, it makes extra work for owners of non-traditional caches who now have to deal with these players just tapping Navigate and following the arrow to the listed coordinates, as the app encourages them to do, without ever looking at the description or realising there's anything more to do.

Edited by barefootjeff
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Thanks, all, for your input. (And, yes, I recall the days of working from my PC, loading via cable onto the Garmin, maybe even printing out pages of notes on...(gasp!) paper!  My cousin is not as old as I!)

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I just got another DNF on a 2.5/2.5 mystery cache from a newbie with premium membership but has never visited the website and has no previous finds. They couldn't find the cache at the listed ecoordinates. The system really is broken if this is the way newcomers are being introduced to the game with no guidance about non-traditional caches and an app layout that encourages them to just tap Navigate without ever looking at the description or anything else.

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On 5/27/2024 at 2:09 AM, A J Pombo said:

For all Android users, there are a very popular 3rd party app where i can browse and log all "not premium" and "premium" caches. ;)

Wrong. Yes it lets you access the non PMO caches above 2/2 that are paywalled on the official app; but it doesn't let a basic member see PMOs.

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