Jul 23

Brady Forrest

Brady Forrest

Mappam, Put your Ads on the Map

Mappam is a new ad network that specializes in placing text ads on user mapping sites. The site launched in late June and already hosts a number of tools for both advertisers and hosts. The founders are Nick Black and Steve Coast, both are core members of Open Street Map.

Mappam ads can technically be put on Google, Yahoo!, Microsoft, Multimap, OpenStreetMap/Openlayers maps. They can currently be found on Tagzania (see an ad), Google Sightseeing, and ParkAtMyHouse. Platial will be coming on shortly. Integration with GeoPress, blogging plugins for adding location data to posts, is also planned. Nestoria, the UK-based real estate company is a big ad-buyer; Netsoria was also the first company to use Open Street Map data commercially (Radar post).

Some info on their platform comes to us via their blog:

Mappam has been developed exclusively by ZXV Ltd, using a range of technologies. The site is powered by the Ruby on Rails web-development framework with a MySQL database running on Ubuntu Linux. Hosting is provided by AWS’s EC2 and S3 with an Ubuntu/Rails image provided by Paul Dowman.

I have two issues with Mappam. One: it is very difficult to build up a network of advertisers. However, I think that this is something that can be dealt with by time and by building up a network of valuable ad inventory. Their company ZXV also does consulting so they should be able to stay afloat while building up their client base.

mappam on tagzania

The second issue is that they are relying on a third-party platforms that Mappam has no control over. The maps that are being used to show off their ads on Plazes and Tagzania are from large companies that pay a lot of money to for those maps to be shown. Will Google or Yahoo! let third-parties (Mappam or otherwise) monetize their mapping platform? Mappam is betting that they are.

Google's Maps API TOS states:

By way of example, and not as a limitation, you agree that when using the Google Maps, you will not: upload, post, email or transmit or otherwise make available messages that promote pyramid schemes, chain letters or disruptive commercial messages or advertisements, or anything else prohibited by law, these Terms of Service or any applicable policies or guidelines.

Nick and Steve point out that they are not disruptive and that people from these companies have seen their product. I could not find a similar clause in Yahoo's Maps API TOS. Will Google let Mappam compete with its new Adsense product?

adsens eon maps image

Steve and Nick's prominent status in the geohacker community are reflected in these partnerships. They are developing a platform for people in their community. Their work on Open Street Map is serving them well. Hopefully a definitive answer will come from the larger mapping portals and no one will have to worry about issue #2.

[Disclosure: Nikolaj, fellow Radar writer, is a an adviser to Mappam]

tags: geo, web 2.0  | comments: 3   | Sphere It

Previous  |  Next

0 TrackBacks

TrackBack URL for this entry:

Comments: 3

  Philip [08.12.07 11:34 AM]

Have a look at what Google is currently doing in terms of acquiring local businesses to create rich listings on their maps and make them AdWord clients in one go:

Post A Comment:

 (please be patient, comments may take awhile to post)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.