[OSM-talk] advertising

paul youlten paul.youlten at gmail.com
Fri Jul 6 13:16:56 BST 2007

Let's not get distracted by smoking... let's stick to maps.

So here is the thing: Maps and commerce are closely linked. Always have
been; always will be.

Commercial services very clearly add value to maps used by car drivers: A
road atlas without ferry links, toll bridges, motorway service stations,
petrol stations isn't as valuable (to drivers) as one with this information.

Ditto public transport - train stations, airports, bus stops... no one would
argue that these are all necessary for a useful map... but they all relate
to some sort of commercial service. In fact a map without any commercial
data would be of very limited appeal - even marking a pub or a youth hostel
on a walking map would make sense to walkers.

But value of the commercial services marked on maps depends largely on the

If BP offered to mark every petrol station in the world on OSM would that be
a problem? Maybe not for car drivers but is doesn't add much value to

If HSBC offered to mark everyone of their ATMs? Sounds like a useful idea -
but how about people who bank with Fortis or BBVA? Are they being

If McDonalds offered to mark every one of their restaurants? NO!!! Bad!!!...

So let's agree commercial information needs to integrate with maps but not
be "in the map" - Layers of services make total sense - want hotels? show
hotels. Want to see restaurants? show restaurants.

If, having added every petrol station, BP wanted to add information about
opening hours... another useful idea... and the price of petrol? That too
might be useful - but this information doesn't belong in the map - but
on-top of it. What if McDonalds wanted to offer a free milkshake with every
burger sold in Paris? That isn't map data, it is advertising. It might be
geographically based but it is still advertising.

This is the commercial reality of the world we are mapping.

It seems to me that what Mappam are doing on OSM is testing their technology
to see how it can add value to users (maybe not map makers but certainly
users) and businesses. Remember pay-per-click only really works for both
groups when it is "in context" (i.e there is no point for Nestoria to
advertise in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

It is early days and clearly it needs refining. But if you want to buy a
house in the UK Mappam's advert for Nestoria does add value to the map.

I don't know what Mappam's plans are (and I think it was a mistake to break
the no-ads option) but they will discover that the real value to advertisers
and users comes from adding layers of different services and allowing users
to select what they want to see. Let's not get too upset over the early
experiments in a project that should see us all benefit from more useful
maps as well as more funds to pay for hardware, bandwidth, and evangelizing
(marketing) OSM.

As a group we should be helping Mappam get it right - not being so
uncompromisingly confrontational about their project.

Paul Y

On 7/6/07, Frederik Ramm <frederik at remote.org> wrote:
> Hi,
> > Stefan Baebler wrote:
> >
> >> b) There should be a friendly way to hide the ad layer, or users
> >> *will* find one.
> >
> > Go to the layer control in the top right and deselect 'mappam'.
> Seems like the programming gurus at OSMF, un-tiringly working for the
> project's benefit, have found a way to remove this choice in the mean
> time.
> Bye
> Frederik
> --
> Frederik Ramm  ##  eMail frederik at remote.org  ##  N49°00.09' E008°23.33'
> _______________________________________________
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