Saturday, March 10, 2012

Massive Grow Of Premium Membership Caches On Geocaching.com

I would like to bring up a topic that annoys me a little. To be honest, not just a little.I recently spotted, that the number of premium caches is rising quickly. This isn't a good thing in my opinion.

Let me get straight that I have in no way a problem with Geocaching.com making money. Not at all. They do a great job, giving us a great platform for publishing and searching Geocaches all over the world. They've done a lot for our community and still doing a load of good things for Geocaching in almost every aspect. They deserve every penny they'll get. So, no complain about that service.
No, I complain about the owners making a Geocache for Premium Member only. That isn't a good thing in my humble opinion. And here is why.

I heard the arguments before: You don't want to have the coordinates visible to "anyone". You only want to have "skilled" cachers getting to your cache. You fear of authorities scanning databases to remove unwanted caches. And everyone can afford to pay a few bucks per month. But these are all no points of substance in my eyes.

First of all, most geocaches get destroyed, believe it or not, by cachers. And like the arguments pointing out, everyone (maybe not everyone, which makes this even more sad) can afford to pay a few bucks. Especially those who want to steal Geocoins, or worthy equipment from the containers. Do you really think they don't have premium accounts? The same goes for hunters or forest rangers that wants to get rid of caches in their territories. They would probably pay more for that, than you would pay for placing a geocache. Authorities normally don't search for caches. The police blow caches up when a Geocacher got observed fiddling with a "suspicious box" in critical places. Having only "skilled" cachers on the coordinates is somewhat elitist and makes me wonder how you ever get skilled if you never can get a "prime" cache. You won't getting skill from finding film canisters on a traffic sign. Beside that, it doesn't solve the problems above.

To see the coordinates you have to register for geocaching.com. On the opposite, I even saw some of those superior caches, that puts coordinates of stages right into the description, which is visible to anyone, including non-registered persons and therefore Google and other search engines. Of course there are "inofficial databases" on the net, or articles, exposing your coordinates regardless of premium or not. But normally, if you don't write coordinates in your listing, they are not visible by someone who is not registered. There are lot of ways to make some geocaches not that easy to find. Mysteries are a good way, or a short Multi with a 1st stage that requires some "geocaching knowledge" to go ahead to the final. Well hidden traditionals are also better than they try to hide coordinates from anyone who doesn't pay.

So please, dear cache owners, give yourself a push and don't hide premium member caches. Let Geocaching be fun for everyone. Don't fall for false security. You can't keep the idiots and muggles away by hiding it from non-premium cachers. It just don't work. You only get fewer finds, which you not have to worry about. But people, regardless if they can or can't pay the premium member fee (you need PayPal or a Credit Card), should enjoy good, high quality caches. Don't make a 2nd class geocaching. It should be fun for everyone.