A few notes first, I hope to post to this blog at least once a week, but I’m currently spending a lot of my free time educating myself with the OpencachingNA Linux server. Boy, is that a learning experience. It’s only been eight days since the first post. Note that the “Latest Geocaches” and “Latest Log Entries” to the right of this post are from an RSS feed, and should be updated every time you view this page. As well as our Twitter feed too, of course.
OK, why are there two totally different alternative Geocaching entities calling themselves Opencaching? This short answer is, I don’t know, ask Garmin! We, Opencaching North America, are part of the world-wide Opencaching network, established in 2005 with Opencaching.de There are currently nine Opencaching nodes, as we call them, that are part of this network. Opencaching.jp (Japan) has gone dark, and Opencaching.es (Spain) really just points to the German website, Opencaching.de. You can view them all at Opencaching.eu All characterized by their distinctive white and blue color scheme. Garmin came along, and purchased the domain name Opencaching.com in September 2010, and launched their website in early December, 2010.
But that’s not the whole story! The domain name Opencaching.com was originally purchased by “some guy named Hank” on September 15th, 2003. I have no idea who he was, or his Geocaching handle, because he has been obliterated from the WHOIS registry, being the original owner of an expired, and for several years vacant and for sale, domain name. Thanks to the Wayback Machine from archive.org we can see several snapshots of how his website looked from September 2003 until late December 2005, when he apparently decided he was going to throw in the towel, and the original Opencaching.com was never developed as an alternative to Geocaching.com.
In This snapshot of Opencaching.com from December 31st, 2005 you can see what Opencaching.com looked like shortly before “Hank” let it expire. All of his “Site news” is there from day one in that snapshot, so you can follow along on his updates on the project. He had forums, where people apparently discussed the project, but they were not indexed by archive.org. Although he never got the project off the ground, you can see he was happy the concept took off somewhere (i.e. Germany), per this quote from the last post under site news: “This project has been off the radar for some time (measured in quarters or years at this point) … the one brightspot being that our German friends at opencaching .de had the resources and committment to make the concept work … perhaps someone will make other core nodes?”
I’m not sure exactly when “Hank” let the domain name expire, but Another snapshot of Opencaching.com, from May 2010, shows it with a classic “domain for sale” placer page. As previously mentioned, the domain name was then purchased by Garmin in September 2010, and Opie the Awesome (blue) Squirrel was born.
The next blog post, which I can tell you won’t take 8 days, as I was going to make it one post, but decided to make it two, will be “”Our” Opencaching vs Garmin’s Opencaching, a comparison of sorts”. Then after that, we have a couple interviews lined up, and possibly our first guest blog post.