I tend to steer clear of negative aspects of geocaching on my blog, as I figure there is enough negativity on your social media feeds without me highlighting any negativity that might exist in our hobby. However, upon much reflection, I’ve decided to talk about the reappearance of what is basically an anti-geocaching site.
The website promotes the muggling of caches to “cleanup [sic] our land, our parks, our cemeteries, historical landmarks from these caches” and requests a $29.99 fee for the privilege of doing so.
The front page of Muggled.net states:
THE GATES HAVE OPENED ON 08.16.2016! WE ARE BACK AFTER 4 YEARS AND ARE READY FOR THE MUGGLE COMMUNITY TO PROSPER! WE ARE THE FIRST AND ORIGINAL WEBSITE COMMUNITY TO HOST MUGGLING OF GEOCACHES! BE A PART OF GEOCACHING HISTORY AND JOIN THE THRILL OF OUR SOCIETY…
The only prerequisite for membership is to have an account with a geocache listing site, ‘that does not muggle caches’. That, and thirty US dollars.
The site is owned by Gerald Roman, who joined various geocaching Facebook groups worldwide over the past few days to promote the reopening of his page.
Interestingly, the site was closed down by founder Roman in 2013, when he contacted New Zealand based blog It’s Not About The Numbers to apologise after realising the site was a stupid idea. Speaking to the blog, the Alabama resident stated that it would be shut down ‘for good’ and admitted that they had no members anyway.
In fact, the homepage for the site was changed with a statement that they ‘deeply apologize to any geocachers or followers, that we might have offended with our site.’ The premise of the site three years ago was to encourage members to steal caches, and list them on muggled.net for a $10 listing fee. Cache owners who were victims of this theft could then pay $10 to have the cache returned to them, in what essentially amounts to extortion.
According to a news article from Apalachicola Times in September 2013 (a website which is no longer available) Groundspeak had moved to sue to have the website taken down:
(Roman)… maintained that geocaches, once placed, were abandoned and belonged to nobody. Groundspeak disagreed and had set litigation in motion. But, in June, Roman voluntarily took down the website and the YouTube posting after he said he received threats to himself and his family.
Obviously, Mr Roman knows that geocachers love stats, so he has this eye-catching number on his front page:
That’s right, a whopping ZERO caches muggled to date. He obviously has high hopes though, as he’s set up a nine digit counter.
Needless to say, the reaction of the caching community has been a mix of shock and anger, with a note already set up on Facebook by Dane Morgan (caching name Team AMZO), instructing concerned geocachers on how to report the site to PayPal, where he is collecting ‘membership’ fees, Go Daddy, where the domain is registered and In Motion, where the site is hosted. Morgan writes:
Engaging in discussions with these people and arguing the merits of the situation is fruitless and futile. They choose to violate the law and justify their actions with banal and juvenile fallacies.
The post has been shared 138 times so far and is still gaining traction.
It is hard to believe that someone who calls themselves a geocacher can have so much hate for the game. It is NEVER ok to steal someone’s cache that they have spent time, money and effort creating. If you don’t like the cache, that’s fine but just because you’re not fond of finding tupperware boxes does not mean it’s ok to take away the enjoyment from others.
Time will tell how long the site will stay live for on this occasion. One thing is for sure, the global caching community has a loud voice when we shout in unison and the complete rejection of this site is coming across loud and clear.
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