opencaching – CacheMania http://www.cachemania.com Geocaching Can be Addictive Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:14:40 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.4.11 Garmin Capitulates http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-capitulates/geocaches/2015/08/ Thu, 27 Aug 2015 19:13:35 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1426 Is there are real advantage to being the first mover in a new category?  Absolutely!  The recent reversal by Garmin is a prime example. Let’s set the stage.  In May of 2000 the US Government turned off selective availability on the military initiated Global Positioning System (GPS).   Prior to this change consumer GPS units were […]

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garmin-60cs

Is there are real advantage to being the first mover in a new category?  Absolutely!  The recent reversal by Garmin is a prime example.

Let’s set the stage.  In May of 2000 the US Government turned off selective availability on the military initiated Global Positioning System (GPS).   Prior to this change consumer GPS units were typically accurate in the 10-20m range.  Instantly, consumer grade GPS devices were now accurate to within 3-4m and a new industry was born.    It was at midnight May 2nd when Selective Availability was turned off and on May 3rd Dave Ulmer hid a container and posted the coordinates online.   People started finding Dave’s container and within a month this activity had a name, geocaching.  By September Geocaching had an online home at the geocaching.com website created by Jeremy Irish.   This made Irish and his Groundspeak cofounders Bryan Roth and Elias Alvord first movers in the Geocaching arena.

Early GPS units were little more advanced compasses.    Groundspeak, the company that owns the geocaching.com website worked with Garmin to add geocaching features to Garmin GPS units thus making them the defacto standard for the geocaching community.   The relationship seemed to be going well until Garmin opted not to include the geocaching feature called Whereigo in its newest GPS receivers.   In early 2010 Garmin introduced the GPSMAP 62 family of devices and the Whereigo feature was missing.   This appears to have been the start of a change in direction for Garmin.

By December of 2010 Garmin had officially launched a website to compete with geocaching.com called opencaching.com.   The geocaching community, about 2 million strong by this point, were excited by Garmin’s entry but not convinced it was for the better.   There were features about opencaching.com that some people liked but it was missing one thing that the first mover in the space had – users.    More than 80% of geocachers were using Garmin devices to find geocaches so it’s not surprising that Garmin would want to build a better relationship with those consumers.    From 2010 onwards every new handheld GPS unit came with opencaching.com built into the device.   There was talk that this would kill the geocaching.com website which charged a membership fee for premium access while opencaching.com was free.  Garmin couldn’t have been more wrong.

At the time of the launch of opencaching.com there were in excess of 2 million caches listed on the geocaching.com website.   People that enjoyed geocaching want to find geocaches.  Some geocachers have found over 40,000 unique geocaches around the world.  The need to find geocaches is what forced opencaching.com into oblivion.   Groundspeak saw the early opportunity and moved first.   Garmin lead the way in device construction but was playing catch up on the website side of things.   Groundspeak’s lead was just too great and in August of 2015 opencaching.com is no more.

Garmin reported $2.8 billion in revenue in 2014.   Groundspeak is a private company so revenues are not known but it’s safe to say the 50 employee company generates significantly less revenue than Garmin.  Even with vastly superior spending power Garmin could not buy the one thing that mattered, website users.   If you see an opportunity, seize it, if you are a first mover you just might become the first mover David to established industry Goliaths.

You can read more about this story here.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Garmin and Groundspeak Officially Talking http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-groundspeak-officially-talking/opencaching/2014/01/ Wed, 15 Jan 2014 07:05:55 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1419 It was pointed out to me on Monday by cacher Dr. House that the new announcement from Garmin made no mention of Opencaching.com.    I wondered if it meant that Garmin and Groundspeak were officially working together.   I have since been able to confirm from  Groundspeak that it is indeed true; Groundspeak and Garmin […]

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Garmin GPSMAP 64It was pointed out to me on Monday by cacher Dr. House that the new announcement from Garmin made no mention of Opencaching.com.    I wondered if it meant that Garmin and Groundspeak were officially working together.   I have since been able to confirm from  Groundspeak that it is indeed true; Groundspeak and Garmin collaborated on the preloading of geocaches for the GPSMAP 64.    My source indicated that this is a first step in what is hoped to be a more cooperative working relationship.

It was a little over three years ago that Garmin launched opencaching.com.     After some initial excitement the Garmin site was unable to attract a significant following.    I have attempted to get a comment from Garmin but they are yet to respond.

The feedback to this move from the geocaching community appears to be positive.  What do you think of this move?

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Are Garmin and Groundspeak friends again? http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-groundspeak-friends/opencaching/2014/01/ Mon, 13 Jan 2014 16:53:28 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1416 This was pointed out to me me by one of my caching friends today.    Here is an excerpt from the Garmin blog.  Notice that is mentions geocaching.com directly.   Where is the mention of Opencaching? The GPSMAP 64 series makes paperless geocaching easier than ever. Each device comes preloaded with the locations of 250,000 […]

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This was pointed out to me me by one of my caching friends today.    Here is an excerpt from the Garmin blog.  Notice that is mentions geocaching.com directly.   Where is the mention of Opencaching?

garmin-groundspeak

The GPSMAP 64 series makes paperless geocaching easier than ever. Each device comes preloaded with the locations of 250,000 geocaches from Geocaching.com. Devices store and display key information to find the cleverly hidden containers including the geocache coordinates, terrain rating, its difficulty, hints and descriptions, so users no longer have to manually enter coordinates or print out geocache info. By going paperless, users are helping the environment, and improving their efficiency. If users would like to continue geocaching beyond the preloaded geocaches, when they register their device they can sign up for the free premium membership trial through Geocaching.com, and download even more geocaches. In addition to the preloaded geocaches, the GPSMAP 64 devices can store millions more, so users will no longer have to pick and choose which geocaches they want to load on their device.

I will check with some sources to see what is going on here.

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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Garmin Will Buy Munzee.com http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-will-buy-munzee-com/opencaching/2012/09/ http://www.cachemania.com/garmin-will-buy-munzee-com/opencaching/2012/09/#comments Thu, 13 Sep 2012 14:49:38 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1373 If the folks at Garmin are smart they will buy munzee.com.  Why would Garmin buy a smart phone game?  To start with, the new generation of Garmin GPS receivers with built in cameras already support QR codes.   Once it’s supported in hardware telling the device what to do when it scans the code is just […]

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qr code from opencaching.com

QR code from opencaching.com

If the folks at Garmin are smart they will buy munzee.com.  Why would Garmin buy a smart phone game?  To start with, the new generation of Garmin GPS receivers with built in cameras already support QR codes.   Once it’s supported in hardware telling the device what to do when it scans the code is just a firmware upgrade away.

Last month I posted some stats indicating that munzee has crushed opencaching.com based on the number of placements in Waterloo.   munzee has definitely seen aggressive growth world-wide in the last year and Opencaching has not.   There is already a greater than 90% overlap between geocachers and munzers.  If Garmin is going to continue to pump money in to Opencaching they are going to have to increase growth.

So what would it cost to buy munzee?  Only the four founders at munzee can answer that one but I have some guesses.   Aaron Benzick at munzee reported that they have 50,000 members world-wide.  If we assume 20% of them are paying the premium membership fee of $30/year.   That works out to about $360,000/year in revenue.   Add in sales of supplies and average that out at $2/placement for a total of about $340,000 in the last year.  In total that’s about $700,000 in revenue.  I suspect that’s a bit high so let’s say it’s $500,000 with a profit margin of 30% or $150,000.   These numbers are based on conjecture.   Only the founders of munzee know for sure.   With an annualized profit of $150,000 and a valuation of four times profit the value of   munzee.com today might be something like $600,000.  My guess is that this is less than what Garmin has spent developing opencaching.com.

For argument’s sake let’s assume the cost to acquire munzee is the $600k I’ve worked out above.   I have to believe that if Garmin is truly serious about making a go of Opencaching.com then a price of $600,000 to acquire 50,000 members and 172k placements.   Based on these numbers that’s a cost of acquisition of only $12/user.   These numbers sound quite reasonable to me.    The founders at munzee.com might have different ideas of valuation.

I asked Aaron Benzick to comment on this post.  He neither confirmed nor disputed the assumptions I made.   I take that to mean that at least some of those assumptions are on the high side.   According to Benzick “Despite trying new ideas, Groundspeak hasn’t been able to latch on to ‘the next big thing’ and munzee has been able to create a whole platform that disrupts the adventure hunting scene with fresh ideas …”  I take it from that comment that the folks at munzee see themselves as leaders in the space.    Forward thinking leadership would be another reason for Garmin to acquire munzee.com.

A similar argument could be made for Geocaching.com to buy munzee.com.   Both companies have smart phone applications.   Most munzers are already geocachers.   Could geocaching.com afford to buy munzee.com is the question?  Garmin certainly has deeper pockets but having cash doesn’t inherently make you smart.

What do you think will happen?

 

 

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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munzee.com crushes opencaching.com http://www.cachemania.com/munzee-crushes-opencaching/opencaching/2012/09/ http://www.cachemania.com/munzee-crushes-opencaching/opencaching/2012/09/#comments Mon, 03 Sep 2012 18:16:27 +0000 http://www.cachemania.com/?p=1366 A little over a year ago Garmin Launched opencaching.com to much fanfare. In that time Opencaching has managed to attract less than 50 geocache listings in the Waterloo Region. Compare this with the almost 2300 munzees placed in the region of Water in just over a year. With this stat alone munzee has crushed Opencaching, […]

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munzee logo

A little over a year ago Garmin Launched opencaching.com to much fanfare. In that time Opencaching has managed to attract less than 50 geocache listings in the Waterloo Region. Compare this with the almost 2300 munzees placed in the region of Water in just over a year. With this stat alone munzee has crushed Opencaching, at least in Waterloo. There are fewer than 1000 geocaches in Waterloo region. Based on these numbers I think munzee poses a real challenge to geocaching.com.

munzee is a GPS game similar to geocaching. I don’t play the game, munzee is not supported on Blackberry platform but I have been with other players. Here are the main differences in the games as far as I can tell.

  1. munzee is all about the numbers, I’m not kidding. There is a leaderboard on munzee.com that allows players to see their standing against other players.
  2. Device dependant. Each munzee account is attached to a particular device. This means that teams of more than one person will need to share phones. I was out with a friend the other night and he had his wife’s phone so he could do captures.
  3. No pen required. Logging is accomplished by the scanning of a QR code or the reading of a chip using near field communication.

In most other respects finding a munzee is similar to finding a cache. Using the munzee app on your smart phone you go to coordinates and look for the munzee, which is usually some kind of tag/label with a QR code. The NFC mode is a recent introduction to munzee. You do not use your GPS although I have seen a GPS loaded with munzees in order to save the smart phone’s battery. Using the GPS feature on a smart phone tends to deplete the battery faster than normal.

For many years the official line at Groundspeak has been that geocaching is not about the numbers. As much as they try and down play the importance of raw numbers, milestones for finds still play a big part in the game. Unlike for munzees in geocaching there are few stats for the number of geocache hides you have placed. With munzees you are awarded points for the munzees you hide. Awarding points for hides creates an incentive to hide munzees. This is one reason the game is growing in scope if not in popularity.

munzee map

According to Aaron Benzick at munzee.com there are over 50,000 active munzee players. This is still a small number compared to the over 5 million geocachers at geocaching.com. What munzee has been able to do that opencaching.com has not is build a critical mass of hides. There are over 172,000 placed worldwide. Germany ranks as the second most active munzee area with about 68,000 munzees placed.

Geocaching has helped create a knowledgeable audience for this new game. I recently attended a munzee event. There were 30 people in attendance and 26 of them were existing geocachers. munzee is just different enough from geocaching that it is attracting players.

Benzick of munzee.com doesn’t think they are a competitor to geocaching.com, “We don’t like to look at ourselves as competitors of geocaching. I think we supplement it nicely and allow options for people as they are out and about interacting with the real world. We are big fans of getting out and doing things in your community so the groundwork that the geocaching community has laid for the outdoor adventure crowd is something we respect!”

As I mentioned previously I do not play munzee but I can see the real attraction in the game for those that care about statistics. What do you think the future holds for munzee?

 

teamvoyagr

I have been writing the cachemania blog since 2008. I'm interested in the development of geocaching and the many ways that people play the game.

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