[OSM-talk] Survey: How to pay the OSM bill

Robert (Jamie) Munro rjmunro at arjam.net
Wed Jul 11 14:29:54 BST 2007

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Christoph Eckert wrote:
> Hi all,
> while OSM is a volunteer project, it is obvious that it needs money to 
> keep the needed infrastructure (hardware, bandwidth, ...) up and 
> running. Currently there's some discussion about the newly introduced 
> ads on our beloved map. Some agree, some disagree with ads on the map.
> All who disagree on advertising on the map have to elaborate 
> alternatives. IMO there should be a polpular vote whether we agree on 
> maps or even not. If someone votes against the ads, he/she also needs 
> to vote for fundraising alternatives.

There's nothing wrong with some ads on the home page (or other pages) a
long as they are clearly outside the main map, like the old Google Ads.
The only problem with the old ads AFAIK was relevancy. If we make a
series of search engine food pages as someone suggested, so that we have
one page per place with the name of the place and a map of the place in
the centre of the page, hopefully the Google ads may be relevant to the
places themselves.

While these ads may well make enough money to pay for hosting fees or
the occasional new server, they are unlikely to make a real income for
the foundation - e.g. enough for the foundation to employ developers and
 admin staff.

The main way I can see the foundation making enough money to employ
people would be to sell the data for commercial use, but still allow it
to be used for non-commercial use for free. For an example of how this
can work, see MusicBrainz - who we are much closer to in mission than we
are to Wikipedia. They've just announced that the BBC have signed a
license to use their information, the fee of which will allow "paid
people on staff". Note it says "people" not "a person" (which they
already have).

For the foundation to do this, it needs to unambiguously own the data,
which means a change in terms and conditions, and it may be painful, but
I think it is absolutely necessary, even if we don't go down the selling
data, and the sooner it happens the less painful it will be. Hopefully
we can discuss this at State of the Map

Another possibility is if the foundation had a membership fee of, say
£5/month, and 1000 members, (just like the Open Rights Group), then it
would be close to employing someone full time.

Robert (Jamie) Munro
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