[OSM-talk] advertising

Frederik Ramm frederik at remote.org
Tue Jul 3 10:31:27 BST 2007


> I understand the need to generate income

That "need" should perhaps not be overstated.

Firstly, we don't need income for everyday operation, as we all work  
for free and we incur only neglibile cost by running the servers  
because badnwidth, power consumption etc. have been donated. We may  
need income for cool things beyond that, but we *can* operate the  
most important things without.

Secondly, the revenue we've had through advertising so far is small  
compared to the money freely donated by memebers of the community. So  
even if a need for income was detected, advertising is not  
necessarily the best way forward.

Turn it around and it becomes true: We all need a source of personal  
income. Those of us, like Steve, wo spend a huge amount of time with  
the project, thus have a greater interest to see some kind of  
commercially viable business "spin-off" (whether they're on their own  
looking to start a business, or already employed by a generous  
employer who allows them to dedicated paid work time to the project).  
It is only natural that someone working a lot with mapping wil try  
out business ideas that have to do with mapping, and some of them  
might be combined with OpenStreetMap in a way that benefits both.

This is obviously what has been tried here; Steve created (or helped  
create) Mappam and put it on the OSM site, hoping to generate income  
for OSMF and popularity for Mappam. Of course the interests of Steve  
(or Steve's company) and OSMF must be kept strictly separate - this  
means, for example, if someone else shows up and offers geo-targeted  
ads that are like Mappam's, then OSMF must evaluate the offers and  
chose what's best, and not unfairly give an advantage to Mappam just  
because there's a Mappam director who spends a lot of time on OSM. (I  
know that Mappam does not currently take a cut so at first glance it  
seems hard to beat this, but I could well envisage a Mappam  
competitor willing to fork out a little bit of money for the chance  
to try their services on our main page.)

I don't like advertising on the map and I think that the income  
generated for OSM has to be balanced with the negative effects on the  
user experience. But if the people in charge value the money higher  
than the user experience, so be it.


Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'

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