TravelFleas – Along for the ride


We here at the OCNA blog have been familiar with TravelFleas.com since shortly after their launch in July, 2012 (more on that later). Since this blog is only a few months old, we finally got around to conducting an interview with John from TravelFleas (both on the phone, and via email). And we are happy to announce that this Blog has a $10 TravelFleas.com gift certificate to give away! This contest will run for 14 days, including the day of this blog post. See the very bottom of this post to enter.

OCNA Blog: What are TravelFleas tags and how do you use them? 
John: TravelFleas tags are affordable small metal tags, personalized with your geocaching username that you either attach to a trackable to go “Along for the Ride” (they are not trackables themselves) or leave in a geocache as a signature item. TravelFleas tags are durable and will stand the test of time out in the elements of the geocaching world. The reason for the personalization is to let other geocachers know you are a part of the game.

OCNA Blog: Do you allow something other than a geocaching username on your TravelFleas tags?
John: Our TravelFleas tags accept up to 20 characters. If you want to put the name of your scout troop, geocaching club, flash mob, etc, anything you want as long as it does not exceed 20 characters.

OCNA Blog: How many people are behind TravelFleas?
John: This group of four motivated geocachers had a lighting bolt idea, and off they went.

OCNA Blog: How did your company come up with the idea for the TravelFleas themselves?
John: We were geocaching, picking up trackables, and noticing that personalization was either missing, or misguided. What really hit home was when we saw a trackable with a picture of a little girl attached. While geocachers are a really nice group of people, this is something that is still in the public eye, and could be tracked back to the originator. We felt a good safe thing to do would be to have your geocaching username attached to trackables. We got together one night, and through a lot of fun discussion, decided a “TravelFlea” should go on a trackable.

OCNA Blog: I personally discovered your product within weeks of your July, 2012 launch when you followed me on Twitter, and I followed back. I have not noticed any other Geocaching product hit the social media as hard as Travelfleas (Facebook, Twitter, Flikr and Pinterest). Do you feel this is important, and have you gotten good results from it?
John: We have found it is very important to get our name out there through social media. Social media is the modern form of advertising. Twitter has proven over and over to be the best advertising medium so far. I have been able to track a number of sales directly related to twitter follows and conversations.

OCNA Blog: You recently had a tent at GeoWoodstock in Florida, and have told me you were very happy with the results. Was that the first MEGA event in which you did this? Do you plan to attend more?
John: Last October we attended the Florida Finders Fest. We will attend more MEGA events, and will post to social media every time we plan on going to an event.

Travel Fleas spotted on a cave drawing

OCNA Blog: Who is the artist behind all those TravelFleas Anthology cartoons that you regularly post to social media? Note: readers can view them all on this page on Pinterest.com.

John: The anthology cartoons were developed as another way to express TravelFleas enjoyment of the geocaching world through an artist’s eye. We work together as a team to create and draw each cartoon.

OCNA Blog: In addition to the tags themselves, you also sell personalized Travelfleas license plates, and Travelfleas logbooks logbooks for logging the progress of your travelfleas. I’m sure you can’t talk specifics, but will we see more product offerings from TravelFleas.com in the future?
John: The necklaces we sold at GeoWoodstock were a hit. We value input from our customers. Ideas, comments and suggestions are always welcome though our web site or social media pages. We have more products coming in the future. You will have to check our web site often for updates.

OCNA Blog: I assume most of your orders come from the USA and Canada. Have you received orders from elsewhere in the world?
John: Along with The US and Canada, we have gotten a number of orders from the UK. We have also gotten orders from New Zealand, Australia, and Finland.

OCNA Blog: Where have TravelFleas been spotted?
John: Along with the countries we have sold TravelFleas tags to, spottings have occurred in Germany and France.

Great interview, thanks to John for that! Visit them at TravelFleas.com. And be sure to follow them on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Flikr!


Mr.Yuck TravelFlea; click to enlarge

As you can see, the blogger has some TravelFleas! Here is one attached to an OpenCaching North America Moving Cache (yes, we still gleefully accept that cache type). And of course he choose color C-2, the “OpenCaching color”. You can order all one color, like I did, or in 12 packs, with one of each available color. Now for the contest! Where you can win a $10 Gift Certificate to TravelFleas.com, a contest that will begin with the publication of this blog post, and end on July 10th, 2013. Or alternatively, if you can’t wait, go to their website, and order some now! To enter, fill out the form below with your name (as it says, “Geonick” is fine), and a valid email address. We will never use your email address, and the Google Document storing all the entries will be deleted after the contest.  There are rules, of course, which appear below, in italicized text above the entry form.

Rules: To enter, provide your name and email address in the form below. One entry per person, and one entry per email address. There are no Geographical restrictions, contest is open to anyone in the world. The contest begins upon publication of this blog post on Thursday, June 27th, 2013, and ends at 7:00 PM Eastern Standard Time on July 10th, 2013. One winner will be chosen at random from the entries received. Winner will be notified via email, notification being sent from the email address opencachingnorthamerica at gmail.com (be sure to check your spam folders!), and must respond within 48 hours, or the prize will be forfeited, and another winner will be chosen. Once accepted, the prize will be delivered via email.


EDIT: Contest over, entry form removed. Thanks to all that entered!

Read More

Memorial Day (and GW) weekend in the USA

Memorial Day weekend is coming up in The USA, where OpenCaching North America is based. Since we have many readers (and even users) from outside the USA, our “Memorial Day” is celebrated the last Monday in May of each year, and is for honoring the Men and Women who died while in the service of our armed forces. Please, if you’re an American take some time to remember and honor these Men and Women in some way of your own choosing during the long holiday weekend. You can read about the long history of our Memorial Day (once known as Decoration day) in this Wikipedia article.

There is no denying that Memorial Day weekend has, over the years, increasingly become known as the traditional start of the Summer vacation season here. And for the relatively new hobby of Geocaching, it has become one of two weekends designated for the holding of the American phenomenon known as GeoWoodstock, an annual Geocaching (Mega) event. It can also be held the nearest weekend to our July 4th Holiday, known as Independence day. The choice of which weekend is up to the organizers of the event. The Florida Geocaching Association, host of this years event, has chosen Memorial Day weekend, as have the majority of the hosting organizations over the years.

We won’t get into the history of GeoWoodstock too much here, because who knows, we could think about it a few weeks out next year, and actually have an interview with it’s founder! And yes, it was founded by one guy, who held the first one June 21st, 2003, at a Boy Scout Camp in Louisville, Kentucky.
 

Geocachers Unlimited logo

All these years later, GeoWoodstock XI (that would be the 11th edition, if you’re not into Roman Numerals), is being held Saturday, May 25th, 2013 at the Circle B Bar Reserve in Lakeland, Florida. Now for some shameless self-promotion! Geocachers Unlimited is a loose organization of Geocachers who use alternative Geocaching websites in addition to Geocaching.com. They can be found on Google+ and Facebook. They will be hosting the event Geocachers Unlimited Meetup @ The Mega listed on our website, as well as on Gpsgames.org, Terracaching.com and Navicache.com. This is usually a short event (the Blogger himself attended one at GeoWoodstock IX), but there is nothing “flash mob” about it. Just a meetup, as the name suggests. You can expect to see some moving caches loggable on our website passed around, as well as meeting site admin Dudley Grunt. The time of this event is 12:00 Noon.

Are you one of the thousands of Geocachers from all over the world attending GeoWoodstock XI in Lakeland, Florida, USA this weekend? If so, feel free to comment to this blog post, and share your experiences!    

Useful GW links:

 OpenCaching.us related links:

    Read More

    CacheFace.com: a dedicated social network for Geocachers

    Above is a screen shot from a profile page on CacheFace.com (click to enlarge). It also happens to be the profile of Paul Suggitt (Pilot Suggs), the creator and owner of the website, who has graciously agreed to be interviewed by this blog! CacheFace is, as stated in the post title, a dedicated social network for Geocachers, launched in 2012. You can read an excellent overview of all it’s features on the about-CacheFace page on their website. There are more screen shots of the site at the bottom of this blog post.

    OCNA BLOG: (Every one’s first question) Where are you from, how did you first hear of Geocaching, and when did you start?
    PAUL: I am from the North East coast of the UK, a town called Hartlepool and I got into Caching late in 2010 after my best friend Ian White (Ian D+P) mentioned it. After my first cache find, i was hooked..I now have 1,477 cache finds under my belt and also have a number of caches out in my home town and the English Lake District.

    OCNA BLOG: Can you describe all the major features of it? Is the “Face” an intentional play on Facebook?
    PAUL: I developed CacheFace to give something back to the global geocaching community, a community I found from the geocaching meets that was very friendly and extremely passionate and I have given this back by way of using my programing skills to develop a global hangout where every cacher can connect and share, no matter where they are.

    CacheFace is a dedicated social network for cachers to connect with each other. One thing for sure is it’s not trying to compete with Facebook. The idea behind CacheFace is to bring the fragmented caching groups that exist on various social networks and forums around the world and allow all these cachers to come together in 1 place and hang out, make new friends, share tips and ideas, create global groups for their interests (travel bugs, caching containers, etc), something that wouldn’t normally happen as people wouldn’t normally venture out of their local group hangout. That’s now changed.. CacheFace has created a new type of caching…social caching.

    The name CacheFace is actually from a slogan I created from seeing some photo’s of myself and my pals caching and we all had a “caching face,” be it happy, tired, exhausted or silly, so when I was developing the site it felt appropriate to use CacheFace…i.e, connect with each other and show everyone your cache face.

    OCNA BLOG: I understand it’s less than a year old. When was it launched? Is the growth in the early stages what you expected?
    PAUL: CacheFace was launched on the 21st October 2012, and the membership signups have beaten all expectations in the time its been live. Daily there continues to be new members joining up from all parts of the world.

    OCNA BLOG: There are a small amount of ads, and more recently, member discounts. I understand you have pledged that CacheFace will always be free?
    PAUL: There are a small amount of ads on the site, and these ads are purely caching related and any revenue made simply goes towards running the site. CacheFace is free to join and use and always will be. There are no hidden extras to subscribe to. CacheFace has been set up to serve the global caching community and I don’t want them to have to pay for that privilege. I recently launched the member benefits section as I want our community to totally benefit from being a member on the site, not just with the way they can connect with each other, but with other benefits such as discounts on their SWAG and other geocaching products and services.

    OCNA BLOG: The Mobile version of the website works very nicely.  Are there plans for Smartphone apps specific to Android, iphone or Windows Phone?
    PAUL: I have plans in place for introducing an iOS, android and windows phone app for the site that will again be free to download and use, to help our members get more from their CacheFace experience.

    OCNA BLOG: There are many privacy settings on CacheFace. Were those built in originally, or were they added later by request of some of the members?
    PAUL: The privacy settings have been there since the sites launch as I want members to be able to decide on what level of privacy they have on site. This keeps the member completely in control. They can decide who sees their posts, who can contact them, mark themselves private so they don’t appear in the public members directory and more. Members are completely in control of their privacy at all times.The site itself is completely encrypted with a 256bit SSL certificate so all browsing and interaction on site is secure.

    OCNA BLOG: Did you write the whole website yourself?
    PAUL: I did write the site myself. The site has been developed on a php framework that is very robust and utilises the latest technologies to help bring the best usability experience to members. I have an ongoing development list to continually introduce new features that are of benefit to the site / members.

    In other words, it’s lightning fast! The blogger was going to mention that if Paul didn’t himself. It is a simple to use, yet well-designed website. Give it a try! After some trial and error here with the Blogger software, it looks like the easiest and most effective way to post some screen shots of CacheFace is via links, which take you to a somewhat decent full-sized view on my personal Flikr account.

    Screen Shots of Cacheface.com:

    Read More

    ROVE: New bluetooth gadget for instant Geocaching & trail sharing

    ROVE, shown above, was brought to our attention here at the Opencaching North America blog on April 4th, 2013 via a press release on PRweb.com that came through on a Google news alert for the word Geocaching. ROVE is a GPS accessory that instantly shares trail maps across social networks like Twitter and Facebook. ROVE pulls multiple geocaches from geocaching.com right to your GPS, anywhere there is cellular or WiFi service. Advanced functionality includes tracking distance, time, elevation and speed for accurate trail maps.

    (more…)

    Read More