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June 10, 2013 08:42 PM CDT

How NOT to hide a cache Part 2

by Wis Kid

Author: NL_Admin. 250 Reads
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Have you ever found a cache that promoted local businesses? How about one exhorting you to donate to a charity, support a political cause, or pray for a sick person? Well, you should understand that all of these represent a violation of the guidelines. 

Here is what the guidelines say:

Cache listings perceived to be posted for religious, political, charitable or social agendas are not permitted. Geocaching is intended to be an enjoyable, family-friendly hobby, not a platform for an agenda. Cache pages cannot require, and should not strongly encourage, the placement of new caches. This is considered an agenda and the listing will not be publishable.


They also say this:

Cache listings perceived as commercial will not be published. A commercial cache listing has one or more of the following characteristics:

  • It has overtones of advertising, marketing or promotion.
  • It suggests or requires that the finder go inside a business, interact with employees and/or purchase a product or service.
  • It contains links to businesses, agencies, commercial advertisers, charities, or political or social agendas.
  • It contains the logo of a business or organization, including non-profit organizations.
  • It contains the name of a business or commercial product.


This seems like a whole lot of legalese, so, let me try to clarify it a bit. To keep it simple, your cache page should be about the cache and the area that it is located. The exception to that is if you place your cache in the parking area of a business, charity, etc. In those cases, you should not write about the surrounding businesses, etc. Simple, eh? 


So, why does Groundspeak have this guideline? You need to remember that is a commercial website that sells advertising as a revenue stream. If your local ice cream shop or burger joint wants to advertise on it, the website is more than happy to sell them advertising.   Now, I hear you saying, “OK, what about charities and such? Surely Groundspeak would want to help out these worthy causes!” The reality is that for every cause that someone supports, there is someone else who feels the cause is not worthy and should not be promoted. The website wants to neutral with regard to all of these situations. 


Here are some examples of things we see that we cannot publish:

  • Caches recommending local restaurants, ice cream stores, etc.
  • Caches promoting a particular political viewpoint, including “Support the Troops” verbiage
  • Caches asking the finder to “Say a prayer”, “Stop and contemplate” or any other direct instruction.
  • Caches which require people to go into a business.
  • Caches which require people to interact with employees at a site (even a government or nonprofit site, like a library)
  • Caches whose descriptions contain song lyrics with obvious political overtones
  • Caches with business names, slogans, and trademarks in the cache title. 
  • Events which double as food drives, blood drives, or solicitations for charity. 


There are a few gray areas which occasionally come up. 

  • Puzzles employing corporate logos are sometimes approved.   If you want to create a puzzle like that, you need to contact appeals in advance as your local reviewers cannot publish these. 
  • It is generally ok to use a business name to give directions, such as “To get to the cache site, cut through the Hardee’s parking lot and then walk behind the shopping center”.   Please only use this where it is truly necessary. 
  • Rarely, appeals will allow a puzzle which requires folks to enter a store, with the cache located outside. Again, get permission first from appeals.
  • If you use a “business name” which is totally unrelated to the location and is not promotional, we can publish it. For example, if you have a cache near a farm and you call it “Old McDonald’s Farm”, this would be ok, as long as the farm is not really called “Old McDonald’s Farm”. On the other hand, you cannot use that name on a cache in a McDonald’s parking lot.
  • You can use puns and other plays on words to imply the location without actually saying it. Just make sure you aren’t using a trademark. “Wally World” in a Wal-mart parking lot is ok. “MickeyD’s” in a McDonald’s is not. 


To summarize, you need to avoid any sort of promotion or solicitation in your cache description. Keep your cache page about the cache page and the location to avoid issues. 


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Category: 2013 Summer Newsletter
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