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Garmin’s ActiveCaptain marine business plan looks good, plus Eartha

Ben Ellison

Ben Ellison

Panbo editor, publisher & chief bottlewasher since 4/12/2005, and now excited to have Ben Stein as a very able colleague. Panbo is going to the next level in 2018 and beyond.

7 Responses

  1. Richard Cassano says:

    Ben, I understand where you’re coming from on the name change idea, however, AC and ACC have already confused many users. Change the name again and I think you might lose more participants as they become more frustrated with the Garmin AC transition. It’s a little like red fire trucks. We all know what they are and get out of the way. Paint them white or green as some communities have done and people spend precious seconds trying to figure out what the heck that is. Good or not so good, ACC already has the name recognition and Garmin should run with it.

    • Ben SteinBen Stein says:


      Just to clarify, I’m not advocating changing the name of ActiveCaptain Community, but I am advocating changing the name of the ActiveCaptain app. In reality, although it can display ACC info, the ActiveCaptain app is actually the Garmin MFD Companion app. If you don’t own a Garmin MFD and aren’t familiar with ActiveCaptain Community, but have just been told about it, you’re likely to hit the app store and download the thing called ActiveCaptain. Now you’re greeted with the opportunity to pay hundreds of dollars for charts and, as I’ve been told by a few people, that’s probably the end of your exploring ActiveCaptain Community. I’d love to see Garmin stick with ActiveCaptain Community for the crowd-sourced data and just sort of let the ActiveCaptain name meld back to being synonymous with ActiveCaptain Community.

    • What Ben S said, rename the new AC app Garmin Boat All-in-One and leave ActiveCaptain as is. Here’s West Marine illustrating how using the same name for two different things can confuse even a marine pro:


  2. Ben, I was in Beaufort, NC one year when I looked at my marina’s AC listing and noticed a suggestion in its description to favor another marina nearby. I looked in a number of other AC markers in the area and found the same entry – except for the marina advertized of course. It appeared to me at the time that the AC description section had been hijacked by one unscrupulous marina. I was going to edit all of them but I contact Jeff first and that’s when I learned it was a revenue feature of AC.

    I had always thought that feature was odd, along the lines of “ if you don’t pay me money, I’ll encourage your customers to go elsewhere.” Of course Jeff had every right to do what he wanted, it was his company. I’m more of a positive approach guy, “here’s the reasons you should come to my marina” without an ad to go elsewhere right on the marina’s website.

    Was there any discussion of this point?

    • Hi Robert. We did not discuss the specifics of “Advertise on competitor’s listing, and remove advertisements from your marker” but it looks to me like the 1st Choice advertising — or whatever they call it –is going to more transparent under Garmin.

      I did not have trouble with the old AC marina descriptions suggesting that I use a nearby 1st Choice marina instead because I knew that was paid for and I understand why a free resource would encourage users toward supporting businesses. But I was troubled to see such advertisers claim elsewhere that they were 1st Choice because AC chose them. That was partly true because a marina could not advertise without a 4 or 5 star rating, but not completely true because money also changed hands to get the status (if I understand how the program used to work correctly).

      I don’t think that Garmin intends to mix advertising with community recommendations, and that’s the right way to go in my opinion. For instance, while Panbo is a somewhat different animal, we are religious about not mixing editorial with the banner ad program. We get offers almost every day to sell links or biased “guest” entries (100% from outside the marine electronics industry) but never have and never will under my watch.

      I really appreciate our advertisers, and many readers do too (we know from polling), but we write for the readers.

  3. Cool. AC Marina and Business claiming works great. I just added a PS to the entry but you can also see my (somewhat goofy) testing here:


    It was really easy to create that business POI and then claim it. Please give it a review or two — very negative is fine! — so I can see what the owner management tools are like.

    • Garmin doesn’t consider Panbo’s editorial office to be a valid AC marine business — which is just fine — but they also gave me a few days to test the Premium Business features before they take the POI down. It’s impressive how easily a business can ad more photos, an “action button” and also place ads on competitor sites. Plus the ads aren’t really obnoxious to AC viewers I don’t think. Check out https://activecaptain.garmin.com/pois/520901 while you can!

      Also https://activecaptain.garmin.com/pois/17916 — a marina can even place an ad on an anchorage marker, and given how rolly Camden Outer Harbor is, it might work 😉

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