Wednesday, 18 January 2012
J: "What shall we do today, guys?
E: "Let's invent geocaches without a box!"
J: "That sounds like the worst idea ever Elias. Do you have a good idea Bryan?"
B: "Let's invent geocaches without a box!"
J: "Great idea Bryan! How should we call them?"
J: "I don't like challenges, what do you think Bryan?"
J: "Yeah that sounds great!"
E: "Didn't I just say that?"
J: "No you said something stupid, like always. Anyway, we have different geocache types. Should we als create different challenge types?"
B: "Photo type challenges."
E: "Action type challenges."
J: "Ok great ideas, let's create photo and action type challenges."
E: "Did you just really listen to me, Jeremy?"
Then the next day, another boring meeting:
J: "Let's focus on people with a smart phone."
B: "Ok, but what about Garmin?"
J: "Who cares about Garmin?"
B: "Yeah right, no one really cares about Garmin."
E: "The people at Garmin care about Garmin."
B: "I heard a disturbing noise, did Elias just say something Jeremy?"
J: "No, I heard nothing."
Days go by with boring meetings and half a year has gone by.
J: "What shall we do today, guys?"
B: "Let's retire action type challenges."
J: "Great idea Bryan! I always thought they were crap anyway"
E: "But you loved them half a year ago!"
J: "Did you say something Elias? No? Anyway. Who cares."
This way it could happen that the action type challenge is retired only half a year after it has been created. It looks like there is simply no strategy or concept in the things Groundspeak is doing. I understand there are some problems with action type challenges but I think they can be resolved.
Anyway, this all means I am now the proud creator of one of the few action type challenges in The Netherlands!
Monday, 16 January 2012
Groundspeak is finding ways to make more people Geocaching already for years. More visitors on the geocaching.com website means more revenue from banners, premium membership and the shop. The largest hurdle for people starting Geocaching is the purchase of a relativly expensive GPSr unit for a hobby you are not sure you like. For the last 10 years, Groundspeak focussed on the outdoor enthousiasts and gadget freaks because these people already had a GPSr or were more easily persuaded to purchase one as it already relates to their current interests. This approach has a perfect fit with Garmins objective: Selling GPSr units.
In the last 2 years, Groundspeak realised the expensive GPSr purchase hurdle could be removed entirely as everybody is carrying a GPSr in their smartphones. In order to achieve their objective of 'make more people geocaching', they switched target from 'people willing to buy a GPSr', to the smartphone people, see also my blogpost about the new geocaching.com homepage. This is 100% opposite of Garmins objective of selling GPSr units. I think Garmin saw this change of direction coming and they decided not to wait untill they were slowly abandonded. They decided to go in hard with their own geocaching website, opencaching.
With opencaching, Garmin focussed on the people already having problems with some Geocaching.com habits, like the review system and some other things. They created a Geocaching website without a review system and some other fundamental changes compared to Geocaching.com. At times, the group of people having problems with some geocaching.com habits looks big as they make a lot of noise on the forums and other media. I think Garmin overestimated the size of this group a little bit and allthough these people were having problems with geocaching.com, they were not easily making the change to Opencaching. I think Garmin targeted for a lot larger market share on the Geocaching market but underestimated the emotional connection Groundspeak has with their (allthough sometimes unhappy) customers, which makes them untouchable for any competitor.
I'm interested to see how long Garmin will struggle on with Opencaching as they are not offering a significant better alternative compared to what's already available. As I said, I agree with sTeamTraen that the best Geocaching website and the best GPSr manufacturer should work together. I think this is still possible as they work together on their own targets. This is possible. For example if Groundspeak finds new Geocachers in the smartphone users, they can pass them on to the GPSr manufacturers by educating them that the Geocaching experience is much better with a GPSr unit, which is true. This way the Geocaching market is split in two, where Groundspeak targets on the newbies with smartphone apps and where the GPSr manufacturers focus on the advanced Geocachers who use both a GPSr unit and the smartphone app.
A competitive market can increase value for customers. Opencaching has proved again that there is no additional value to offer in the current Geocaching market. In my opinion, working together on increasing the number of people geocaching and improving the geocaching experience will be more effective for Garmin, Groundspeak and the Geocaching community.
Saturday, 31 December 2011
Later that January I joined some geocachers living nearby for my second ever nightcaching adventure and it was a big one! 20 kilometers in freezing cold but the marvelous waypoints were worth it. Unfortunately we found the cache the day after in daylight. I am talking about a Waardeloos! adventure, maybe the best cache in The Netherlands.
In March I went a few days geocaching in the 3 borders area, resulting in my first find in Germany and I awarded some favorite points. Read this blogpost to find out where to go when you are in the area.
Also in March I attended the Achterhoeks Cache Event (ACE), my second event and a nice experience meeting some other geocachers and finding 3 caches!
In May I improved my most finds in a day stat, by finding 5 caches in one day. However, none of them are really worth mentioning and I learned again that one good multi is better than 5 traditionals.
Slovakia and Hungary!
In August I failed terribly on FTF hunting, but a few days later I had an STF on another cache!
At the end of the year I had an amazing day in November, when I spend a day cave caching just across the border in Belgium. See this log and this log, both extraordinary good caches.
At last, the police was called when a muggler saw me logging a cache and thought the ammobox and the hole in the ground were suspicious. Read about it here and here.
In total I have found 60 geocaches in 2011, 2 less compared to 2010 but it´s not about the numbers as some other people say. Looking forward to some new adventures in 2012!
Wednesday, 28 December 2011
Thursday, 24 November 2011
With my 300 caches found, I have 31 favorite points to give. So far I have awarded 24 caches with a favorite point. 7 points are still in my pocket, still waiting to be given away. Do I keep them in my pocket for the unlikely event that there will be 7 favoritable caches in my next 10 founds? No, I keep them because all other caches do not match 1 of the following criteria:
1. Well worked out theme;
2. Brilliant in its simplicity;
3. Nice waypoint and/or cache (and all other waypoints at least average).
If a cache fits within 1 of these 3 criteria, it gets one of my favorite points. Maybe most remarkable is that 'extremely beautiful nature' is not in my list. I think beautiful nature can only be a prerequisite for an avarage cache. To make it a favoritable cache everything must be devoted to the beauty of nature, thus the theme of the cache. Another option is to strip it down completely, a cache brilliant in its simplicity in extremely beautiful nature, is always worth a favorite point. Most of the time, less is more.
What are your favorites criteria? Or do you just give all your favorites to the best caches you have found? Are they really worth it? Or are they just a little less worse than the others?
Hopefully I can award some exceptional geocaches a favorite point this weekend! Looking forward to it!
Thursday, 17 November 2011
Last release, Groundspeak discontinued the feedback section of the geocaching.com website and moved it back into the forums. On the feedback section they stated they did not have the resources to implement the massive amount of feedback. However, the real reason can be found here. They were unable to shut up some people in the feedback section, ‘restricting posting ability’ as they call it.
Also ‘It’s not about the numbers’ geocaching blog figured out that the feedback section was an ongoing PR nightmare and a reputation risk. But it is not the feedback section which is causing this nightmare, it is Groundspeaks PR policy itself.
Managing your reputation starts with a good PR policy. And restricting posting ability is definitely not part of a good PR policy. These days, managing your reputation is all about good interaction with your community. The feedback section was an excellent platform for community interaction. But how can you interact with your community if you restricted their posting ability? With the many other platforms (twitter, blogs, forums) available these days, restricting posting ability has a contradictory result and is suicide for your reputation. See also ‘It’s not about the numbers’ previous blogpost about the Geocaching Spoilers YouTube channel.
A good PR policy is all about respect for both positive and negative feedback, on your own and other communication channels. Groundspeaks PR policy is the ticking time bomb for their reputation, closing the feedback section doesn't dismantle it.
Friday, 11 November 2011
Apparently, Kruimeldief was asking cache owners to take a second look at their cache page before publishing them. As opposite, the Belgium reviewers were only looking at the Groundspeak guidelines. Of course, this was immediately noticed by the community.
I think all reviewers should concern about cache page quality and, if needed, ask cache owners to improve their cache page before publishing the cache. Geocaching is so much more fun if you read a cache page with good information, the right attributes and a useful hint. Geocaching.com is the only Geocaching website with a reviewing process, so if it is already there, why not use it to improve the quality of a submitted cache page?
At first the Belgium reviewers responded that it is only their job to review a cache against Groundspeak guidelines. Now they understand that cache page quality makes Geocaching.com stand out from the other Geocaching websites and they are asking cache owners to take a second look!
What is your cache page like? Do you have the right attributes on the page? Is your hint 'Not needed'? Do you have more then 1 line of text on your page? It is time to change it now!