Sponsorship Opportunity

Geocaching Australia governance issues
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solomonfamily
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Post by solomonfamily » 01 October 08 9:51 am

Firstly to the marketer - thank you very much for the offer. I feel that there is an opportunity for mutual gain.

And thank you too to those negotiating...

One thought leading to another but here is my thought trail....

I would not like to see TV / Radio adds that highlight geocaching "XYZ a proud sponsor of geocaching Australia"

Do GC.com have TV / radio ads?

I would be more than happy for our web site to be "bannered" by ads to fund hosting, development activities or even etiquette aids (another topic). Depending on the product, I would be happy for labeling with some type of GCA connection.

Having mass publicity does however has consequences....

Are we heading in a direction to see GCA dominate over GC as the listing service here? (several pros and cons here too)

Is it correct that a still a very small percent of hides in Australia are GCA only listed. (GC then GCA then Others)

Having mass publicity directing punters will put pressure on our developers and maintainers. Hardware aside will "we" then create a need to employ staff to maintain our site and grow it. Within the guidelines of an agreed strategy.... Again a sincere thank you to all those that put time into it now - it is not fair for additional burden on you.

For those that have been around longer that I have, was there ever any thought given to getting a .org.au as opposed to a .com.au . IMHO we are better suited to a .org.au or .asn.au

I like the game the way it is, as a fringe activity - but the world is changing. GPS's are being incorporated into the phones we carry and the cars we drive - it is natural that people will seek out ways to play with the technology at there finger tips like never before. In another thread GC is developing an app for the iphone etc etc. ....

In short: soft approach, no flashing bill boards - web banners cool.
And a product sample to all GCA account holders :-)

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totalube
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Post by totalube » 01 October 08 10:53 am

Thinking about it, I would have to agree with solomonfamily. It would be better to have ads (for specific products) on the site than have a link to a marketing company.

The site would have more control on who it advertises. But with a link to an external site they could advertise and direct people from here to anyone they wanted.

Also, without knowing who the main clientele of this marketing company was, it is hard to make a judgement on to what effect this deal will have.

As stated above, does GCA want to become a major listing sites for caches, or continue in it's current format.

Would there be any issues with this deal and GC caches, if their marketing ideas clash with GC TOS.

It feel like with this deal GCA would loose control over what advertising is directed to and from GCA, and what kind of promotions it will use.

If we need to raise some revenue through sponsorship, I would prefer ads for relevant companies such as sphere, johnny appleseed or even groundspeak

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Post by rhinogeo » 01 October 08 11:14 am

zactyl wrote:
rhinogeo wrote:Requiring you be be a GCA Subscriber to hide a cache would also weed out a lot of the crappy caches that get placed sans review.
Straying from the topic, but I can't let this one go unchallenged, I've found a whole lot of crappy Groundspeak listed caches that were reviewed. With no disrespect to our reviewers all it guarantees (and not even that sometimes) is that it's probably in a public place at least 161m from other caches and has a container and a log book. Nothing about it being uncrappy.
Of course crappy caches can and are listed on both sites but having a subscription requirement if you want to list a cache on GCA may weed out a number of the toss the takeaway container in the leaf litter fly-by-nighters and provide some funding for the site

Until GCA is an incorporated entity I don't know how sponsorship or subscription can proceed :? Donations now are being run through GTi but who would the proposed sponsorship contract be with? Ideology since I assume they own the domain name and currently host the site? The voluntary developers who do all the hard work and make the site what it is and work as well as it does?

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Team Piggy
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Post by Team Piggy » 01 October 08 11:27 am

I would still personally see a member plan, Pay a few bucks for extra features, if you dont want to pay you get bare bones basics.

Eg google ads for basic members and not for paying etc, Ad clicks also generate more money too.

I wondered if Project Orange had been reinstated when I first read it :roll:

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Post by Geof » 01 October 08 1:34 pm

And if we say no what will be their next move?

Are they here "making us an offer we can't refuse"?

Are we less damned if we do than if we don't?

The underground, free and open aspect has been good thus far. :wink:

I see "free and open" more about being independant from third partys and propriatory ideals.

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Post by CraigRat » 01 October 08 3:11 pm

totalube wrote:It would be better to have ads (for specific products) on the site than have a link to a marketing company.
The marketing company (or Ad agency depending on how you want to phrase it) is working on behalf of one sponsor only.

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Post by mundoo » 01 October 08 8:06 pm

Until GCA is an incorporated entity I don't know how sponsorship or subscription can proceed :? Donations now are being run through GTi but who would the proposed sponsorship contract be with? Ideology since I assume they own the domain name and currently host the site? The voluntary developers who do all the hard work and make the site what it is and work as well as it does?
And this is the crux.

Also who owns the GCA logo?

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Post by caughtatwork » 01 October 08 8:17 pm

Who own the logo?
(woodiebro) ... handed the right of usage over to the members of geocaching.com.au
From this post:
http://forum.geocaching.com.au/viewtopi ... ight=#1090

Member of geocaching.com.au have the right to use it as we see fit.

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CraigRat
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Post by CraigRat » 01 October 08 8:18 pm

This is a pretty important topic, possibly the involving the biggest decisions we have needed to make to date.

It would be nice if peripheral discussions about the running of the site/logos/hides etc are taken up in other threads so as to not derail the topic any further.

Those issues have been discussed in great detail in other threads in the senate area.
Last edited by CraigRat on 01 October 08 8:21 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by pjamesk » 01 October 08 8:18 pm

I'm in two minds about this offer.

On one hand I see what people are saying about it being free and open. And going with a membership type option to raise money for ongoing maintenance.
But to take you back to several forum topics about the fee /no fee (or whatever you want to call it) that came about for the funding of a new server that eventually ended up being the current donation drive.

These posts revolved around what you could or would get for your membership buck there was a lot of indecision about it because we already get so much for nothing. So it does come back to "what would I get for my subscription that I don't get now" (not that I'm taking this topic there, please not again). With this in mind to offer much more would mean a bigger server at a bigger expense?
With the increases that C@W was indicating, 6 signups per day, this site is going to grow but how many would want to pay? it would be interesting to know what % of gc users pay.

On the other hand I see that GCA could grow with sponsorship and can see that sponsorship of "cache of the year" type prizes could increase the quality of some caches. It doesn't matter whether a cache is published on gc or gca you will always get crappy caches. It's up to the existing cachers to educate the "newbie's". With sponsorship money this could be done with special events and with good marketing.

So I'm still on the fence with this one but leaning towards the yes side. Its a bit hard to make an educated decision without all the info but I can understand why you cant say anything.

It would be good to know is the marketing only directed at geocaching or is geocaching only a small part. This could make a difference to the amount of people directed to gca.
The ownership is an issue......
Last edited by pjamesk on 22 October 08 4:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Post by rhinogeo » 01 October 08 8:56 pm

CraigRat wrote:This is a pretty important topic, possibly the involving the biggest decisions we have needed to make to date.

It would be nice if peripheral discussions about the running of the site/logos/hides etc are taken up in other threads so as to not derail the topic any further.

Those issues have been discussed in great detail in other threads in the senate area.
The question of who owns the site is hardly a peripheral issue :shock:

As c@w mentioned, he and riblit have had discussions with the marketing company

May I from that infer that c@w and riblit own GCA since they are doing the negotiations and any sponsorship agreement would be with them :?:

Or do Ideology :?: After all, GCA only exists right now thanks to Ideology's largesse

Since GCA is not incorporated and does not have a constitution, by-laws or any formal structure who would the sponsorship agreement (if it were to proceed) be with :?:

What would happen down the track if the sponsor did something that pissed off the community and started getting bagged in the forums :?:

Would they stop directing punters to the site and/or threaten to withdraw their sponsorship or would the GCA owners shut down or delete the thread to protect the sponsor and their $$$ :roll:

The hard facts are that GCA in its current form is unsustainable and requires $$$ to survive. Whether those $$$ come from sponsorship or from subscribers, they have to come from somewhere and will involve change of some sort that will upset people

I reckon the change to the fundamental nature of geocaching in Australia by adopting the proposed sponsorship model (prizes, cars, boats :shock: ) would change the game for the worse and I'd be changing all my caches to Premium as a precaution against the ensuing hordes of mug-cachers looking for treasure and prizes

A subscription model a la GC Premium membership would disenfranchise a few, but is hardly that radical and is my preferred path for the future

YMMV :?

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Post by caughtatwork » 01 October 08 10:28 pm

No-one owns Geocaching Australia.

I certainly claim no ownership of it at all. The code I write is technically owned by me but is released under the Creative Commons http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/2.5/

The domain name is registered by Ideology, but that can be transferred by request to an association or single Pty Ltd company.

The question of who would be primary signatory to any contract is yet to be resolved. The fact that is requires resolution indicates that no going forward position has yet been discussed.

There has been no negotiation it was all a discussion (semantics maybe).

Our site, our rules. The sponsor has NO say over how we run our site. If we want to start thread after thread bagging the sponsor, it's our site, we do as we see fit. If the sponsor doesn't like it, they can presumably exercise a clause in a contract and pull out (see my original post about what we would do then).

There are some excellent points being raised and what I'll do shortly is start to answer some of them with the information I have at hand.

Remember, this is about GCA. It is not about GC. Your GC caches are at GC. If you want to make them premium member caches you can do so. As the sponsorship deals with GCA, let's keep the focus on caches that are hidden and found on GCA.

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Post by caughtatwork » 01 October 08 10:33 pm

I'll start to provide information in responses to posts where I can.
Spruce Mooses wrote:Where would the fun be in trying to explain geocaching to a muggle if we didn't have muggles anymore! To rephrase a GPS salesman, we'd no longer be a 'fringe activity' which is part of what attracted us to the sport in the first place.

Had the company been a small local company it might have been ok but by the sounds of it, it's a big company and I don't think there's a place for that in GCA.
Your first point is agreed and was listed as a con in the OP. I think we all enjoy the clandestine nature of Geocaching.

On your second point, I can't give any information at this stage as to who the sponsor is. It is an Australian company. Defining large and small is hard, but it's certainly larger than a corner shop, but is smaller than McDonalds.

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Post by caughtatwork » 01 October 08 10:41 pm

rhinogeo wrote:I subscribe to the old adage ... if it sounds too good to be true that's because it is too good to be true

I agree. I'd be far happier to pay a subscription than 'potentially' sell our soul for 30 pieces of silver

The only reason this organisation wants to sponsor GCA is because they think they'll make $$$ from it

Whatever altruistic noises they might make, they're in it for the marketing potential

Requiring you be be a GCA Subscriber to hide a cache would also weed out a lot of the crappy caches that get placed sans review

I await the howls of protest about how subscriptions would destroy the Free and Open nature of GCA but I reckon it's better than being percieved to be owned by a corporation (whoever they are)

GCA would be owned by its subscribers
I can't answer as to how good the deal is and whether it is too good to be true as we have no deal. All we have are two discussions, one with riblit and one with me. Time will tell should we get to contract negotiations.

At the moment, the discussion is on sponsorship. I would also like to remain unlinked to any other entity, but the reality is we need money to keep going. If we as a community of GCA member don't agree with the sponsorship, then we look for alternatives.

You are correct in your suggestion that they are only in it for the money. That's no surprise. I doubt many people will give us $5K a year out of the goodness of their heart. I think that point is accepted.

I offer no comment on subscribers and crappy caches. All sites will suffer the same problem, so having a sponsor doesn't change this fact. It may increase the numbers but doesn't change the underlying reasons for the crap.

GCA could indeed be owned by the subscribers or as a co-operative. With so few willing to stand up and be involved in the creation or administration of an association or other entity we have agreed to put forward a proposal that removes some of this from your area of concern. If there is someone who will (not say, but do) action this, then we could move ahead on a different basis.

With all due respect to everyone (and I mean that sincerely), we have people who will donate money to keep the site going and that is most appreciated, but if we chose a different route, "volunteers" to run the association / entity would be very difficult to find.

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Post by caughtatwork » 01 October 08 10:42 pm

SecretSquirrel-BJC wrote:It is a very generous offer - mutually beneficial.

My first response is that I too prefer the "fringe" activity and would prefer to pay a subscription or make a donation.
There is a mutual benefit. They get to make money. We get to keep running the site. It's not necessarily a balanced mutual benefit, but we're not seeking to make money from the sponsorship. This is not a profit making business.

See the other posts by me on fringe and subscriptions.

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