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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