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You Asked, OX Answers

Late last year It’s Not About The Numbers sought help to interview OpenCaching.com. Here are two of the questions submitted by our readers and the OX replies  …

CRAIGRAT OF AUSTRALIA ASKS:

“Do you think that opening the site up as early as you did caused more harm than good?”

OX REPLIES:

“By launching OpenCaching.com as soon as possible, we were able to start getting feedback from the geocaching community early in the process.

“We launched OpenCaching.com with the bare essentials, and a couple of sprinkles to show how we thought we could be better. Then we started listening to feedback, and we started watching how people actually used the site. We knew OpenCaching.com could go a hundred different ways, but we wanted to go with the community.

“If we had developed the site in isolation for another six months or a year, we would have started with more features and they would have been more polished. But I don’t know if they would have been the right features. We would have been developing based on what we thought people would do, and how we thought they would respond. Instead, we were able to change and prioritise based on what was actually happening:

  • We quickly got tired of deleting inappropriate geocaches, so we add the peer review system in the first few weeks.
  • We saw that people were having trouble understanding our ‘Log A Cache’ page, so we scrapped the whole thing. We moved logs to the cache page, and moved ‘pending logs’ (field notes) to a dropdown at the top of the page. We don’t get emails from confused users about this anymore.
  • We noticed that most people download caches from the same area over and over again, so we decided to make that really easy (zero clicks required). Now, when you go to OpenCaching.com, we look at the queries you have already downloaded to your GPS. If those caches have been updated, or new caches added in the area, we update your GPS automatically.
  • We’ve doubled the size of our geocaching guide as members have asked questions.
  • We heard a common theme was that people wanted to be able to prove that they had really been to a geocache and weren’t ‘armchair logging’. So, we added verified finds. With new firmware, Garmin handhelds combine your location and a code from inside the geocache (a number, a QR code or communication with a chirp beacon) to create a digital signature that proves you visited the cache.

“That’s just a few examples of things we were able to do based on the feedback from the geocaching community.”

AMERICAN-BASED MR YUCK WRITES:

“I’m a supporter of the long-established (think 2003) OpenCaching network. Twelve OpenCaching nodes, in various countries, were in full operation before Garmin Inc purchased the domain name OpenCaching.com in September 2010 – most notably including OpenCaching.us, which was purchased on July 24th, 2010, and in full operation by August 19th, 2010. Not long, but certainly before, you even purchased the name, or put your site on the web in early December 2010.

“This was a huge blunder, and alienated tens of thousands of geocachers across the globe who would have been your target audience; those who were interested in alternatives to Geocaching.com.

“Personally, I’m not interested in a ‘damage control’ answer, or an ‘are there ways we can work together?’ answer. The decision to choose OpenCaching, and the utter cluelessness in doing so (in my opinion) has already been made. My question is simply why OpenCaching? Why not GarminCaching? Why not put your name on it?

OX REPLIES:

“We wanted a name that reflected our main philosophy behind building the site: openness. We didn’t want to make a ‘Garmin’ site that might make people think the site was only for people using Garmin GPS devices.

“Obviously, we picked the name well before the site publicly launched. At that time we picked the name, OpenCaching.us did not exist. The only site using the phrase OpenCaching, that I was aware of at the time, was OpenCaching.de. That site seemed very localised, was only available in German, and it seemed that ‘.de’ was very much part of its identity.”

*If you don’t see your question answered above, don’t worry. It’s Not About The Numbers will feature more reader queries with our upcoming OX interviews.

 

2 comments

  1. CraigRat

    Is that it?

  2. Zalgariath

    A story in Marketing.

    You know back in the day I had this great idea to open a hamburger place named after my great grandfather who was Scottish . But then I saw this bloke Ronald had beat me to it. It looked like he only had one store in Germany as I didnt bother to check Australia, the UK, Poland or a handful of other countries when I THOUGHT of my idea, so I went on right ahead… and let me tell you, even though he opened in the US before my idea came to fruition, I stuck to my guns… and now O’Donalds is best darn burger joint there is! 😀

    Meanwhile that so called “King of Burgers” bloke who opened a little later with EXACTLY the same premise but a different name and image seems to be doing rubbish…

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