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The Shocking Truth About That New Geo-Guide

Now you too can learn the “shocking secrets” of the caching elite. Why struggle to shed that lowly finds tally on your own when “a master geocaching expert will reveal the truth” about your new favourite sport for just NZ$34 (US$27)?

But wait there’s more … You’ll also become a well-respected and well known geocacher just by reading this new Geocaching Mastery Guide – that’s “GUARANTEED”!

Getting the picture yet?

It seems the new e-book currently being pushed on Facebook – “Sick of going home empty-handed? For your free copy of The Beginners Guide to Geocaching ($47 value), click ‘Like’ today!” – is little more than a rip-off by an Australian university marketing graduate hoping to cash in on the latest fad.

According to the guide’s own website, the fountain of all this geocaching knowledge is Josh Gaskin, a self-described geo-master despite the fact he’s found only 51 caches – all easy traditionals – since he joined GC.com in June 2011.

Apparently, Gaskin (GC handle: Jaskins) has just been too busy slaving away online for hours and hours to complete his ultimate 42-page geo-opus as well as the free 18-page enticement PDF mentioned above on Facebook.

Read for yourself:

“You see, not too long ago, I was just like you. My record was terrible, I constantly logged ‘could not find’, I had to deal with insults from my friends and I was getting terribly frustrated with the hobby.

“Let’s face it, geocaching is an awesome past-time, but if you don’t have enough skill to find geocaches then it simply will not be fun to continue playing. I knew there had to be a way for me to get better at the sport in general and, more specifically, a way to completely master geocaching and become a true force to be reckoned with. So I turned to the internet and spent many late-night hours researching the best geocaching strategies and tactics to use.

“I practiced for days and nights, and even bought several online strategy guides. I quickly found that there is a lot of BS out there … After struggling this way for months, I finally started to improve and now my record is outstanding and I’m a geocaching master. I knew that there had to be other people out there who were frustrated just like I was. I knew that I had the knowledge and experience to help them become geocaching masters, and I knew I had to do something about it!

“After slaving on my computer for many, many hours, I have put together the ultimate solution to gaining mastery over geocaching. Now introducing The Ultimate Geocaching Mastery Guide! In this high-quality, BS-free guide, you’re going to be taken by the hand as I walk you through each and every step that you need to take in order to become a master geocacher and finally start getting the results and respect you deserve.”

Sounds too good to be true, right? At first I figured this was just an unfortunate case of somebody using that tried and true weight-loss marketing approach to flog a valid geocaching product.

But – aside from Gaskin’s blatant (and likely unauthorised) use of Geocaching.com’s logos and obvious resemblance to the company’s own The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Geocaching book – three things made me particularly sceptical of the Geocaching Mastery Guide:

  1. A line in the FAQ section of the Australian’s website which reads: “Q: Will this work in my country? I’m worried about not having the foods that are required: YES! We have customers on the program in 152 countries. The program is super flexible – You can adapt the program to work wherever you live.” Yes! That’s right, it’s the exact question and answer found on many of those miracle weight-loss sites, such as Tony Venuto’s Burn The Fat.
  2. An expletive comment supposedly by the Geocaching Mastery Guide’s author from his YouTube channel JaskinsOuterWear, praising a video record of another user’s excessive alcohol use – until a quick look at Gaskin’s Facebook page revealed this to be closer to his true persona, than a geo-guru.
  3. And the funny feeling I’d read his Essential Geocaching Equipment article before. In fact, I had: it’s reprinted almost word-for-word from the popular (and very informative) Geocacher-U website.

As I received a new ‘buy my book’ email from Gaskin each day, I became more and more intrigued. Why was an Adelaide University-qualified marketing whiz giving away a free PDF worth $47 (presumably that’s US dollars), yet selling his full guide for only US$27? Surely, he’s shortchanging himself?

I was also curious how he could shop at American chain store Walmart for a geocaching vest when he lives in Australia, though his Facebook page does indicate Gaskin is well-travelled. And similarily, why did his ‘Win A Day Out Geocaching With Me’ competition not have any terms and conditions – or a close-off date.

As Gaskin reveals online, he doesn’t have many peers at his level of expertise with which to cache with – though I don’t know if that has anything to do with this gem of an insult: “Right now there are only a handfull [sic] other geocachers that I am regularly challenged by, and the level of skill in the geocaching community as a whole is really lacking.”

Over the last week, It’s Not About The Numbers has repeatedly tried to reach Gaskin, without success – using his GC.com account, the email given for his Geocaching Mastery Guide and that of the fancy-dress company he runs called Jaskins (which, curiously, sells those colourful, full-body suits popular at major sporting events and which make everybody look like a member of The Blue Man Group).

So while we must point out that, despite extensive investigations, our suspicions are only that at this point.

However, we have advised those geocachers whose work has obviously been plagiarised for Gaskin’s e-book – in particular, Bret Hammond (GC handle: CYBret) of Geocacher-U, who earlier today posted a note on the guide’s Facebook page for its author to contact him immediately.

If you simply must read the Geocaching Mastery Guide to improve your geo-record, then we strongly suggest you try before you buy. What appears to be the full, 42-page e-book is available online free by simply entering the title in a Google search and scrolling through the results presented.

And so as to be fair to Gaskin himself, it does seem evident that he spent some time at his computer keyboard finding relevant geocaching information to cut and paste into his own document. From reading his guide – or should that be reading his rehash of others’ work –  I did learn of the cloverleaf search technique (used to find aeroplane black boxes and missing persons) and that geocacher Grin N Bear it has “a five green-face-grin approval rating system” to rate caches.

I also got numerous chuckles reading his personal take on the game, especially: “GPSr: ‘Global Position Satellite Receiver’. Slang for a GPS device although I think adding the ‘r’ to the end of it was not the best choice since many items ending in r are vowels.”

I’m just glad it didn’t cost me US$27 to do so.

[important]Are we being unfair to Josh Gaskin and his Geocaching Mastery Guide? Let us know below. If you have bought his complete opus, we’d LOVE to know what you thought of it.[/important]

10 comments

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  1. Clan Riffster

    Just one thing that caught me eye:
    GPSr, while it might look kooky, is the correct acronym for describing the tool of this particular trade, though the “S” is oft debated. Some say is stands for Satellite, whilst others say it stands for System.
    Global Positioning Satellite receiver?
    Global Positioning System receiver?
    The term “Device” is too ambiguous, as it could refer to either the transmitter, (satellite), or the receiver.

  2. Mr. Yuck

    51 finds since June 2011, hasn’t hidden a cache, and worst of all, two of his last three find logs were “Tftc” smartphone logs!!! Oh well, people will try to make a buck anywhere, won’t they? Good job on the article, although I doubt anyone would have taken him seriously in the first place. They certainly won’t after reading this.

    1. thebitchycacher

      I have to agree with Mr. Yuck here. The author of the book has less than 60 finds. What kind of expert could he possibly be on the subject? In my blog, I encourage newbies to get out there and learn the sport for themselves. It is not rocket science, reading a book on the subject is not going to improve your enjoyment of the sport. Try it. You either like it or you don’t.

  3. Pete

    The rating system might be something I’ll adopt. It’s described in more detail here http://goo.gl/uO2ET

    “★ ★ Average: The average cache hunter will be able to find this
    in less than 30 minutes of hunting.
    ★ ★ ★ Challenging: An experienced cache hunter will find this
    challenging, and it could take up a good portion of an afternoon.”

    D2 should take me up to 30 minutes? I’m obviously already a master! 😉

  4. kjwx

    It gets worse: Tonight’s email from Gaskin advises that the price of his geo-masterpiece will be going up “as soon as the first 20 copies are sold” – though, at least, it’s good to hear he hasn’t swindled that many cachers yet.

  5. Not buying it ;-)

    Yeah, I’ve been following this too. Besides Geocaching U, his “guides” and his Facebook posts have also plagiarized from Groundspeak, and from at least one other site. Not cool at all.

    I wrote a note about that on the Facebook page, as a comment on one of the stolen lines. It was one that didn’t make sense, because it said to “contact us” if there is a problem with a particular cache. Someone else had commented that it would make sense to contact the reviewer about this, and I chimed in to say the same – and that it didn’t make any sense at all to contact some random author of a guide. And then I read it again and it seemed just really odd, so I Googled it — and sure enough, straight from Groundspeak. So I wrote another note on that post, about how it was copied and how uncool that was. So he deleted the comment and blocked me. So he knows he’s copying, and that it is uncool and illegal — and he just keeps on doing it and trying (rather poorly) to cover his tracks. Doesn’t even bother to check or change the wording.

    One of his many emails said that he wanted to share “some personal details about my life and my experience with Geocaching.” And I was quite interested to find out about that…but the link doesn’t work. Hmm….

    I didn’t know about the cloverleaf technique either. Makes sense, and was nice to know. Everything else was something pretty obvious — and as you say, often very, very familiar.

  6. Jack

    Apart from the fact that it feels like he is talking in the first person to me as if I were a five year old, I can also see many things that frankly annoy the stuffing out of me,
    for example: Blatant copyrighted material that has just been copied and pasted without so much as a source acknowledged, using copyrighted images without permission, not even removing hyperlinks (some may be intentional, but others not so much), and just the fact that he presumes to be an expert but he is less experienced as me and I would rank my self as average at best as a geocacher compared to others…

    and also those smurf suits he sells for Fifty aussie dollars can be bought here for twenty…

    Grrrrr!

  7. Mike Gagg on Facebook

    as Tom Lehrer sang…”Plagiarize! let no-one else’s work evade-yr-eyes!”

  8. Kylie Walker on Facebook

    Interestingly, I notice that some of the GC.com logos have been removed from the guide’s Facebook page as has the main image with Gaskin’s sidebar advert.

  9. Clan Riffster on Facebook

    I was hoping your Jihad was over…

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