Posted by: geonarcissa | July 8, 2009

Commercializing geocaching in Salmon Arm, BC.

This smells a lot like the Ontario GPS Treasure Hunt debacle we had around here recently.

I take a dim view of these sorts of ventures.

Today there was a letter-to-the editor in response to this issue.



  1. Hello, Geo-narcissa,

    I hope to brighten your view of our project, we have met with some of the local GEO-Cachers to address their concerns.

    Foremost, we are a non-profit project with the goal of promoting GEO-Caching in the Shuswap region.

    We desire to draw GEO-Cachers to the Shuswap region by placing a wide variety of caches. Local GEO-Cachers have offered suggestions and advice in regards to being creative with cache placements.

    Our goal is to provide exciting prizes for Geo-Cachers who come to the Shuswap and we have no desire to use or abuse people or businesses.

    Please, if anyone is willing to share further suggestions and advice in regards to being creative with cache placements or camouflage techniques, we would love the suggestions.

    We have additionally invited the local Geo-Cachers to adopt caches and use our stocked boxes.

    There is no fees or requirement for GEO-Cachers to buy anything.

    Please Email us, at or you can even phone us at 1-250-833-3111.

    • Using geocaches to advertise businesses is strictly prohibited. I can’t imagine what benefit you can offer local businesses that doesn’t contravene the guidelines.

      Geocaching is about the hunt – not about the stuff in the cache. I have no idea what you mean by “exciting prizes,” but putting valuable items into geocaches is a bad idea because it attracts thieves. Even loose change is a bad idea in a cache – many geocaches have met their end at the hands of non-geocachers who tear them apart, steal the change inside, and leave the remains of the cache scattered on the ground.

  2. Hi,

    The goal of the project is to encourage Geocaching in the area, businesses have offered free items. There is no obligation to choose a free coffee voucher or a free lunch, in comparison to pins, stickers and magnets. These vouchers along with traceable items are being placed in our caches as FTFs. These businesses are hopeful that after trying their product you may become a return customer. There is no further ulterior motive, we have also placed unique wooden coins created from Pine Beetle Killed wood along with various souvenirs.

    I apologize exciting is a relative expression, I did not mean we would be placing gold and diamonds inside the caches.

    As the caches are hidden and posted using the GPS coordinates we hope to avoid muggles from stumbling upon our caches. Additionally I cross my fingers with faith, that once someone hears of free ice cream cones and coffee they will not go rampaging around in search of caches to tear apart. Cache destruction is of course a possibility, but also there are countless geocachers, I have spoken with who become cachers because they stumbled onto a cache.

    I agree that geocaching is about the hunt, but I don’t know about you, I have found caches filled with items from business cards to bottle caps. Which although unimportant to my enjoyment of geocaching, can still be disappointing.

    Personally I enjoy to find regular sized caches over micros, foremost, because I find it exciting to find different interesting items inside.

    I found a bug themed cache last tuesday, I had thought it was a travel bug cache, I brought a travel bug as it appeared empty of bugs online. When I found it, inside were toy bugs, with entertaining decorations, leaving me entertained.

    I think geocaching is entertaining in many different ways and placing vouchers for a free coffee, meal or entry into a museum, can only provide more enjoyment to certain people. Our only goal of the project is to increase amount of quality geocaches.

    On a personal level I would really like to promote geocaching, in a society which spends so much time in front of a television, escaping from the world, geocaching gives us a great way to open our eyes to the world around us, I have a personal tendency to be drawn towards terrain difficult caches, as I like to go hiking and its great for someone to show me a hike to a nice look out where i can really look around searching for a geocache. But some people are not like me, I’ve met a few who do their pocket query for only ones near roads, and race from cache to cache. Each to their own, I have forgotten to log many of my finds.

    Mostly, we would like to make the Salmon Arm, Shuswap Area an exciting place for geocaching. Some people like the idea of a treasure hunt, finding a bunch of neat stuff, some people do it as a competition for the most finds, some to see scenic locations and others just to find the cache and prove they were as smart as the one who hid it. I think there is no one reason to find a cache, and our reason for hiding them is to give people in the area more caches to choose from, and to invite others to live a healthier lifestyle, to get up from the tv, to pull their children form video games and go use our legs and minds.

    I wish I was better at riddles and puzzles though….

  3. “These businesses are hopeful that after trying their product you may become a return customer. There is no further ulterior motive”

    So, the businesses *are* using this as a form of advertising. That is an ulterior motive, and one that’s possibly not in keeping with the guidelines. Is Groundspeak aware of this project? Have you disclosed the nature and intent of these caches to the cache reviewers?

  4. “Commercial Caches
    Commercial caches will not be published on without prior approval from Groundspeak. A commercial cache is a geocache listing or geocache which is perceived by Groundspeak, Groundspeak’s employees, or the Volunteer Geocache Reviewers as having been submitted to with the principal or substantial intent of soliciting customers or generating commercial gain. The geocache is presumed to be commercial if the finder is required to go inside a business, interact with employees, and/or purchase a product or service, or if the cache listing has overtones of advertising, marketing, or promotion.

    Additionally, links to businesses, commercial advertisers, charities, political or social agendas, or the inclusion of their associated logos are not permitted on cache descriptions without prior permission from Groundspeak.”

  5. Thank you for voicing your concerns about this project, we are taking all feedback seriously.

    We are consulting with as many people as we can to ensure that this project has a positive impact. We are learning from similar projects. We hope to learn from the success of projects that have been well received and learn what not to do from campaigns that were less well received.

    “This smells a lot like the Ontario GPS Treasure Hunt debacle we had around here recently.
    I take a dim view of these sorts of ventures.”

    Thank you for bringing this to our attention. I did some more research to see what others were saying about their caches on groundspeak forums. ttp://

    We are taking the feedback as guidance as we develop our plans. We are making modifications as we follow the advice of representatives from various geocaching organizations.

    “Is Groundspeak aware of this project? Have you disclosed the nature and intent of these caches to the cache reviewers?”

    We have spoken with co-founder Bryan Roth who is aware of the project. He has provided us with advice and suggestions. We also spoke about conforming with Groundspeak guidelines. Cache reviewers will know about the project and our intentions before they are published.

    We understand that commercialization is a big concern and we are steering clear of having any caches that require people to enter a business or spend money. There will be no advertising on the cache listing or on the cache container.

    The contents will include some prize items such as gift certificates and vouchers, but they are for free items only, no purchase is ever necessary.

    Our intention is to provide more quality geocaching opportunities. It is not in anyones interest to have sub-standard caches that leave bad feelings.

    As mentioned we welcome all feedback. Feel free to e-mail us at we are happy to post responses on public forums. If you any comments on other forums that we should read please let us know about them.

    Thanks, happy caching.

  6. […] down to soliciting and advertising with geocaches. A couple of weeks ago I wrote a short blog entry in response to a news article about a commercial geocaching venture in Salmon Arm, British […]


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