Sponsorship Opportunity

Geocaching Australia governance issues
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caughtatwork
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Post by caughtatwork » 02 October 08 10:15 pm

A quick question for those who believe that the sponsorship of the GCA website will change the nature of the game in Australia.

Can you provide some examples of how you think the game would be changed for the worse?

Some examples would help not only me, but some others who may not understand your mindset and would like to understand your thinking.

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Post by rhinogeo » 02 October 08 10:38 pm

caughtatwork wrote:A quick question for those who believe that the sponsorship of the GCA website will change the nature of the game in Australia.

Can you provide some examples of how you think the game would be changed for the worse?

Some examples would help not only me, but some others who may not understand your mindset and would like to understand your thinking.
I don't think I need to reiterate my opinions but as for others ... From the first page of this thread...
caughtatwork wrote:They suggested that the client would be up for paying for things like:
Hosting and other associated costs
Prizes / Equipment
Events
Other things
Is the promise of prizes the best way to attract people to geocaching :?:
caughtatwork wrote:Ultimately, this will secure funding for the website as well as dramatically increase the visibility of the game in Australia
caughtatwork wrote:Cons:
An influx of new hiders and all of us know the sorts of fun and games we have with newbies.
Movement from an essentially "underground" activity into "mainstream".
More administration of the website.
The potential that the game is viewed as being "owned" by the client.
The client pulls the plug in 6 months and we're screwed*
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
Papa Ber_Left wrote:On the other hand, having a wide-spread perception that geocaches are something you find and maybe win a car from doesn't sound like a good idea and I'd hate to see my GC.com caches trashed by greedy yobbos who are pissed off because there's nothing but $2 shop stuff in there.

It's the old question of how much we want the sport/game/activity to grow, isn't it? If it goes completely mainstream, then the nature of it changes a lot. Hard to keep a cache safe by being sneaky around muggles if their first thought is "Oo, I wonder if he's looking for one of those.. thingy... geocaches, like in the ads!"
Bewilderbeast wrote:Ultimately I like the "fringe activity" aspect of the game, so would prefer a simpler and more unobtrusive form of support - such as the sponsor's name/logo on the website, and providing some prizes for annual cache of the year events in each State/Territory or something along those lines."
Jardry wrote:As others have said - it sounds too good to be true. I see the commercialisation of geocaching to be a negative. Conceivably any corporate sponsor could do a lot of damage to geocaching in a very short period of time.

Imagine the marketing company creating a competition to win a car by finding a set of different tokens they've placed in various caches. A bit like opening the top of Coke bottles and seeing if you've won a prize. If the tokens are then linked to having to buy another product before you can enter to win, the whole concept of the sport/hobby changes.
Do we need to move to page 2 :?:

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Post by totalube » 02 October 08 10:59 pm

I know that some of the details are not public knowledge, but I believe that without knowing the full story it is hard to make an informed decision.

1. Who is their client?

2. What is the client trying to get out of this deal

3. Why is the client wanting to use geocaching to expand their business

Obviously if the client can afford to give away cars (or consider the prospect of giving away a car), they must expect a large return from geocaching.

I don't know how much more information you can give, but the more we know the better.

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Post by caughtatwork » 02 October 08 11:10 pm

totalube wrote:I know that some of the details are not public knowledge, but I believe that without knowing the full story it is hard to make an informed decision.

1. Who is their client?

2. What is the client trying to get out of this deal

3. Why is the client wanting to use geocaching to expand their business

Obviously if the client can afford to give away cars (or consider the prospect of giving away a car), they must expect a large return from geocaching.

I don't know how much more information you can give, but the more we know the better.
1. I can't say.
2. Money.
3. It's in the OP. They believe that by sponsoring the GCA website they can take their product to new exciting places or places your haven't been to before.

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Post by caughtatwork » 02 October 08 11:18 pm

rhinogeo wrote:Is the promise of prizes the best way to attract people to geocaching :?:
No, but I can't stop them any more than I can stop you putting a great FTF prize in a cache.
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
How is this bad, exactly? If the answer is you would stop geocaching because it would be too mainstream, then that is one possible answer.
Papa Ber_Left wrote:On the other hand, having a wide-spread perception that geocaches are something you find and maybe win a car from doesn't sound like a good idea and I'd hate to see my GC.com caches trashed by greedy yobbos who are pissed off because there's nothing but $2 shop stuff in there.

It's the old question of how much we want the sport/game/activity to grow, isn't it? If it goes completely mainstream, then the nature of it changes a lot. Hard to keep a cache safe by being sneaky around muggles if their first thought is "Oo, I wonder if he's looking for one of those.. thingy... geocaches, like in the ads!"
GC caches are not in question here, so I fail to see the position. It's GCA we are talking about. Do we do it because we like to be sneaky and subversive? If (as you point out) it's the location, then being sneaky and subversive doesn't come into play. I would like your examples, not others if possible.
Bewilderbeast wrote:Ultimately I like the "fringe activity" aspect of the game, so would prefer a simpler and more unobtrusive form of support - such as the sponsor's name/logo on the website, and providing some prizes for annual cache of the year events in each State/Territory or something along those lines."
Fringe. Already spoken to.
Jardry wrote:As others have said - it sounds too good to be true. I see the commercialisation of geocaching to be a negative. Conceivably any corporate sponsor could do a lot of damage to geocaching in a very short period of time.

Imagine the marketing company creating a competition to win a car by finding a set of different tokens they've placed in various caches. A bit like opening the top of Coke bottles and seeing if you've won a prize. If the tokens are then linked to having to buy another product before you can enter to win, the whole concept of the sport/hobby changes.
I thought I responded to this. There is no additional product to buy.
rhinogeo wrote:Do we need to move to page 2 :?:
No, what I would like to understand is YOUR position, not others that have been regurgitated.

If you think the game will be less attractive, then why?
If you think your GC caches will be trashed, please explain how you would see that happen?
If it's all about new places to visit (urban or country), then why would new cachers not be able to learn what it is that the game is about?
If people are looking for great FTF prizes and you don't have any GCA caches, how does that impact you?

I'm really trying to get you to explain in some detail WHY you think this would be bad to help me understand.

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Post by Boagsratz » 02 October 08 11:38 pm

Austin, of Boagsratz, personally is against the corporalisation of the sport/whatever. I would not like to go Mc Caching and winning a ticket for a happy meal. I prefer ther subversive nature of the sport.

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Post by Papa Bear_Left » 02 October 08 11:45 pm

Like it or not, it's only the cognescenti who know the difference (or that there IS a difference) between GCA and GC. How often have we seen confused newcomers ask how to log GC caches here, or double-list caches, or wonder why they can't find a GCA cache on "the geocaching site"

Because much of GCA's non-forum utility comes from the fact that the search and stats functions include GC plus GCA caches, anyone being directed to this site and, say, doing a postcode search, will mostly find GC caches listed. That's just the way the numbers are. So, after clicking on another link and, bewilderingly, being asked to create their account AGAIN, they get the coords of their nearest treasure chest and off they go to seek their fortune!

No need for stealth approaching an urban cache; there's a CAR at stake here! No need to take along swaps, it's an advertising thing and the advertiser GIVES you stuff! (I mean, you don't offer to pay for the t-shirts or drinks the radio station Black Thunders give out, do you?)
Advertisers like word of mouth, so tell all your schoolfriends where the treasure chest is hidden and do them a favour!

I see this avenue into geocaching as being unlikely to foster the sort of involvement that we'll welcome unlike, say, a balanced article in a paper or an ad by a GPSr company.

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Post by Papa Bear_Left » 02 October 08 11:57 pm

A Modest Proposal on one way to test the water...

Set up a parallel geocaching.org.au, which is basically this site the way it is now.

Take the GC.com listings off the .com.au completely, and allow GCA cache owners to transfer to .org.au exclusively if they wish. Anything listed on .com.au can mirror to .org.au but not the other way.

Forum users will be told what's going on, casual visitors will only see GCA caches (and that's really all GCA can honestly offer, anyway)
New users who bother to read the forums (which are common to both domains) are probably more likely to be actual potential cachers, not just grab-the-stuff merchants.

This way, new caches by the sponsor stand out better because they're part of 600 caches, not 15,000, nobody's getting unwanted exposure for their GC or GCA.com.au-only caches, and treasure-hunters see more of the type of caches that they've come here to find, the ones with loot in them.

Is this a programming nightmare? It sounds like it might just be a database prune and some redirection of incoming updates, plus some cosmetic tweaking. (Says the non-programmer!)

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Post by rhinogeo » 03 October 08 12:45 am

caughtarwork wrote: If you think the game will be less attractive, then why?
If you think your GC caches will be trashed, please explain how you would see that happen?
If it's all about new places to visit (urban or country), then why would new cachers not be able to learn what it is that the game is about?
If people are looking for great FTF prizes and you don't have any GCA caches, how does that impact you?

I'm really trying to get you to explain in some detail WHY you think this would be bad to help me understand.
I like the fringe element to geocaching and that people discover it for themselves, are introduced to it by friends, hear an interview or read an article then do their own research

Such geocachers are interested in the activity for the activities sake. Some try it and leave but others stay

I think a high profile marketing campaign promising cars, boats and other prizes will attract a large number of people to geocaching motivated only by their desire to cash in on the loot

These people won't know or even care about the difference between GC and GCA caches, they won't care about being discreet, they won't care about the quality of the hides or replacing things as they found them. All they will want is the loot

I think that that would not be good for the game

Thinking that such sponsorship will only involve GCA caches and there'd be no collateral fallout to GC caches is akin to believing in faeries at the bottom of the garden (as opposed to the real magic faeries that live in the GCA cyberspace ;))

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Post by Bewilderbeest » 03 October 08 7:19 am

Papa Bear_Left wrote:Advertisers like word of mouth, so tell all your schoolfriends where the treasure chest is hidden and do them a favour!

I see this avenue into geocaching as being unlikely to foster the sort of involvement that we'll welcome unlike, say, a balanced article in a paper or an ad by a GPSr company.
I think Mr Bear Left has summed it reasonably succinctly.

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Re: Sponsorship Opportunity

Post by McPhan » 03 October 08 7:33 am

I really think we need to look back at the OP to put some perspective back into this debate. We appear to be heading down the McCarthyism path - conspiracies everywhere.
caughtatwork wrote:The approach to sponsor Geocaching Australia is based on the following idea, to quote them "The new advertising package is along the lines of new wild places and places not previously visited. Geocaching fits in well with that."
Wild and new places doesn't lead me to the assumption that existing caches will be trashed. It does lead me to think that there may be some more caches in scenic spots around the country.

In fact if done in the right way any advertising could lead to the placing of better quality caches. Imagine an ad campaign that has happy smiling people finding an ammo tin in a spectacular location for example (and not wishing to derail the topic, the same people earlier by-passing a lame cache, whatever that may be). There could also be a voiceover at the end similar to political advertising suggesting new hiders speak to some experienced hiders/gurus prior to placing any of their own - which could lead to better hides. (I know this is long bow stuff but so are some of the negatives being thrown around.)
caughtatwork wrote:The marketing firm spoke about ideas that they had. Things like placing caches around the country that if you "joined the dots" would show the client logo. People who found those caches might be entered into a significant prize draw. Major caches hidden around the country with significant prizes. While nothing has been decided yet, prizes may range from new GPS receivers up to boats and cars.
After re-reading a couple of the above posts I've added this in bold to highlight the below. It is not existing caches that would be affected!

It appears form this that the caches linked to any prizes would be specifically placed by the marketing firm. I would have to assume that they would be advertised and/or marked in a way that would clearly state that these, and only these caches, are part of a competition.

I'm not sure how this has been interpreted to mean that existing caches that are not part of any designated competition would be trashed.
caughtatwork wrote:They suggested that the client would be up for paying for things like:
Hosting and other associated costs
Prizes / Equipment
Events
Other things
Obviously the client wants to make money and to make money you have to spend money. I personally have no problem with prizes being offered if I find all the caches in a series (more smiley faces!!!, After all it is about the numbers not the prizes). Obviously this is an enticement to spend money on their product or for them (us) to raise awareness of their brand/product.

Personally I don't even clip coupons and that must be the simplest and least energetic way to attempt to win a car. In the series scenario, and accepting "new wild places" it would appear a number of treks would be involved with a chance at the end to win a prize. Not many peoples cup of tea, however it will entice more people into the sport.

Yes the numbers of cachers will increase. Yes it may become more mainstream. However, I can't see a point where caches will be idly pointed out to cachers by passers-by. There will still be non-cachers who will want to destroy caches, so the clandestine element must remain.

With the funds already donated there is a safety net of sorts. Should the deal go ahead and it's not what the collective we envisaged that gives a fall-back position.

Thank you Peter for taking this on and to the other developers and all those involved in the running of this site. It's part of my daily routine and I would be devastated if it wasn't there. Any considered approach to securing the future of this site is welcomed by me.

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Post by caughtatwork » 03 October 08 10:55 am

Thanks for the additional examples. It's very enlightening. I would love to see more people give an opinion either way. The more opinions, yea or nay, the better we can gauge the final response.

If the feeling is that the loot is a big issue and was something that the community didn't want to happen, there is no reason that we couldn't request that large prizes didn't occur. I don't know what the feeling of the sponsor would be, but that would be something that we could require as part of the sponsorship.

The deal is not a fait accompli. If you see issues with the initial (albeit light on detail) proposal, please offer some counter proposals. If we can put together a proposal that we like and the sponsor likes then we could move ahead on that basis. It's not a one-way street. We would have the right to provide our input. If our input is not accepted, then we walk from the deal.

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Post by Snuva » 03 October 08 11:25 am

Back in 2001, Project APE didn't suddenly make geocaching mainstream. So if 20th Century Fox isn't too big to ruin geocaching, I doubt an Aussie company bigger than a breadbox but smaller than McDonalds would. Sure it's hard to be certain without specifics and a crystal ball, but that's my opinion. Likewise, just because a car is the prize doesn't mean people are breaking down the doors of the Guide Dog Association to purchase their raffle tickets. (But it takes geocachers to risk life, limb, and bankrupcy from petrol prices to get a coin in GeosportZ. . . :lol: ) <P>

Yes, this whole scheme may introduce more people to geocaching, as do newspaper articles. That doesn't mean all these cachers will be irresponsible nitwits. Several of my state's now 'elder statesmen' were originally introduced to geocaching via the media. And there have been noobs that have placed awful caches, then stopped geocaching, who were introduced by other geocachers.<P>

To me the worse case scenario is that the volunteers who spend so much time maintaining this site for me continue to be expected to do everything. Remember all the suggestions for all the gear people may purchase to support the site or suggestions for different ways to make your donation? To actually do those things takes time, effort, money. Negotiation with a spouse regarding the time you don't spend with him/her, etc.<P>

I'm rather on the fence. I think this debate has been great as it allows everyone to say what they are worried about, however I hope we don't only concentrate on that and lose sight of what's actually being proposed. I hope it will inform another round of negotiation with the potential sponsor rather than the result being the deal being walked away from.

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Post by Lucy » 03 October 08 12:21 pm

Just some points, if I may play devils advocate, and to clear some things up from the OP.

1. The company that wishes to sponsor GCA wants to convince the public, via marketing that they as a company and/or their product, will take the consumer to "wild places and places not previously visited".

2. This is what Geocaching does for me, in that it takes me to "wild places and places not previously visited" and I am assuming it does this for the rest of us too.

3. They could have (may already have) approached GC.com. They could simply set up their own Geocache listing site and refer to it in their adds. They don't need our permission to use Geocaching as a sport/passtime/hobby/obsession etc. in their advertising.

4. They have chosen to approach GCA with a view to sponsorship. This will consist of hosting the GCA website. They get to say they sponsor GCA. They direct people to the GCA website. They would presumably make adds portraying a cacher caching in the wild.

5. What happens next depends on the GCA website.

6. With hosting the site no longer an issue due to financial constraints, the website could be altered so that newcomers, when they first log-in, are given an overview of how it all works. The developers *insert diety of you choice here* bless them, will have more time to develop, not having to worry about fundraising to keep the site going.

7. With proper funding, the website can be devloped to the point where it can cope with a sudden influx of newcomers.

8. I think it would be better to have a sponsor for GCA and a well-funded website ready to deal with a sudden influx, then to try and cope with the influx that could come from a magazine article or TV segment.

9. A comparison: I see adds on TV portraying skydiving, rock-climbing bushwalking, camping etc, and some of these activities (or their linked clubs/associations) have corporate sponsorship. It doesn't alter the enjoyment participants derive from their activity. It doesn't substantially increase the number of participants longterm.

To participate in caching still requires the purchase of equipment, and a desire to get out and actually cache. you will still need to be stealthy (or even stealthier!), you will still have to be quick for that FTF (what is the record for shortest time between publishing and finding? - the Canberrans probably hold it, every time a new cache is published they seem to have an impromptu event cache at the same time :lol: ) It will still be less than mainstream- I don't know about the rest of you, but most of my friends/family still don't get it!

To finish my rambling, I see a lot of possibilities, and they are pretty much all good. I guess it ultimately hinges on who the potential sponsors are.

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Post by delboy1203 » 03 October 08 12:58 pm

I'm glad to see that there are some positive comments coming through. It seems that from the outset of this debate, only the negatives have been posted.
<p>
I'm still in two minds as to where I stand on this one. And without the full details, I'm not sure that a decision can be made. But, in principle, I believe this to be a good idea. If it is only sponsorship of the website that will be included in this deal, then what seems to be the problem? We don't own geocaching in Australia, we 'own' the website. If the backer wanted to go out there right now and place 10 caches with cars in them and advertise on TV, radio and all the newspapers in Australia, there wouldn't be a thing we could do to stop them. They wouldn't need GCA or GC.com to entice everyone into the game, just big money prizes!
<p>
Yes, these prizes may introduce others to geocaching, but who wants to go out and look for tupperware full of McD toys when there is a car or a boat out there? Who wants to walk 5 - 10km into the bush to find an ammo can full of trinkets? Who wants to spend days on a puzzle to end up finding a film cannister containing only a paper log? Only the 'real' cachers.
<p>
I think people are reading more into this proposal than is actually there. I think all you prophets of doom should go back and re-read the original post:
"They are NOT looking for ads across the site. They do their own advertising. They are looking for an established activity that would fit with their needs. They would be seeking something like "Geoaching Australia sponsored by ...", etc on the home page and possibly as part of the logo (not sure about the logo yet)."
<p>
"They are very forthright in stating that they do not want control of the game (not that they could anyway) and they want the community to be supportive of the approach. "
<p>
"They suggested that the client would be up for paying for things like: Hosting and other associated costs, Prizes / Equipment, Events, Other things"<p>
I do, however, believe that we should be forming some sort of association so that there is more control of our game/hobby/whatever-you-want-to-call-it. Especially if there is going to be big money involved. And I also believe that the adminstrators and developers should be receiving some sort of reward for their time and efforts.<p>
One last thing. Maybe you should set up a poll to vote on this matter. There are probably quite a few people out there who have an opinion but would prefer not write anything here.

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