CacheFace.com launches CacheBlogger.com, a microblogging community for Geocachers


OCNA NOTE: CacheBlogger.com shut down in late 2014.

Paul Suggitt AKA Pilot Suggs from CacheFace.com is at it again with a new website; CacheBlogger.com, which was launched at Midnight GMT on June 28th, 2013. Twitter, of course is  referred to as a microblogging website, and CacheBlogger.com very much resembles Twitter, in both look and feel. Why a microblogging platform dedicated to Geocachers? Says Paul: “CacheBlogger was developed to compliment cacheface.com in such that geocachers have a dedicated social network AND micro blogging platform at their disposal where they can shout about their geocaching adventures, make new friends and share the geocaching love, no matter where they are on the planet. Other platforms may have the volumes of people using them in general, however the idea behind CacheBlogger (and indeed cacheface.com) is that the platforms are developed for and dedicated to geocachers so its easy to find cachers, make new caching friends around the world and even share ideas and adventures with people you have never met, knowing they all share the same passion….geocaching.”

OCNA CacheBlogger feed, click to enlarge and view in lightbox

Above is the OCNA CacheBlogger feed, as it appeared on the morning of this blog post. You see some big names in Geocaching there, headhardhat and Podcacher. Hopefully Hikerjamz, also shown, will be a big name in the future! You’ll notice you can type a message (shout), and upload a photo or video. There is one major difference from the Twitter website though; you get to use a maximum of 200 characters, rather than 140. Paul explains, “CacheBlogger is a micro blogging platform like twitter, and as we geocachers have a lot to shout about, I decided to set the character limit to 200 instead of the adopted 140 on other platforms.”  We here at the blog agree, 60 extra characters is an excellent choice. There is a visible character counter while you are typing your post, and it “goes red” at 20 characters remaining.

Most of the other features Twitter users are familiar with are on the right hand sidebar, including the users Avatar and Bio (160 characters), a link to their “Gallery” (all the photos and videos they have uploaded to the site), the users “Mail” from other members (1,000 characters allowed!), number of posts, number of people following, and number of people they follow. There is also a “keyword search” box on the side bar. You may also link to your Facebook, Twitter and Google+ pages, as well as display your Geocaching.com stats banner, all of which are chosen under “settings” on the top banner, which is explained below in the next paragraph.

General Settings screen, click to enlarge and view in lightbox

The stationary blue top banner or frame (seen in either of the two screen shots posted) contains a “people or places” search box, as well as several links on the right hand side: My profile, Mentions, Messages, Settings and Log Out. Shown is the settings page, when you can upload your profile image, including the option of using the globally recognized user avatars provided by the website Gravatar.com. There are also some background image choices for your page, and boxes to add the links to the social media sites, as well as one to paste the URL for your Geocaching.com stats banner. Of course Opencaching North America itself doesn’t have a Geocaching.com stats banner. Which brings up a good point, although we are not, some Geocaching websites are commercial entities, and there are may other commercial entities who sell Geoaching goods and services. According to Paul, “Geocaching companies can also create accounts on CacheBlogger and use it to blog about their SWAG etc. and gain a following to their products and services.”

CacheBlogger.com couldn’t be easier to figure out, and if you’ve spent any amount of time on Twitter, there is almost no learning curve at all, you’ll be set up and running within minutes. We wondered how long CacheBlogger.com was in the works, seeing as it was released about nine months after it’s sister site, CacheFace.com. Paul replied “The idea for CacheBlogger came not long after I started developing CacheFace.com so I decided to press on with the development and launch of CacheFace first, and then concentrate on developing CacheBlogger. This way, each project got full attention. I wanted to give the global geocaching community a dedicated set of platforms to interact socially where they can share their adventures and love of caching with other geocachers.”

From a technical standpoint, Paul informed us that like CacheFace.com, CacheBlogger.com runs on a dedicated server, is secured by 256 bit SSL encryption, and was written by himself in PHP. Also, like CacheFace, you can “share the adventure while you are on the trail as CacheBlogger is fully mobile enabled”, said Paul. We at the blog can attest to the fact that the mobile versions of both CacheFace.com and CacheBlogger.com work flawlessly. Paul thought it very important to release them both with fully functional mobile sites. Of course Smartphone apps (iOS, Android and Windows Phone) are in the future for both websites as well, stay tuned.

As mentioned on the about CacheBlogger page the site is free, and always will be. That page, incidentally, is an excellent overview of all the features of the site, we couldn’t cover everything in this post. So give CacheBlogger a try! It’s only three weeks old, you can say you got in very early on something big! And if you haven’t already, consider joining it’s almost one year old sister site, CacheFace.com. Thanks to Paul for answering a few questions, and providing the CacheBlogger.com banner.

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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:

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