On the inevitable ads in Google Maps

Written by Adrian Holovaty on November 9, 2005

A reporter from the Associated Press interviewed me about Google Maps hacks, and during the "any other thoughts you'd like to add?" portion of the interview, I brought up the fact that Google Maps' inevitable addition of advertising is a bit of a bait and switch.

I'm glad the resulting article used that quote. In my opinion, this is an important, looming gotcha with Google Maps that needs to be discussed more often.


Posted by Rick Burnes on November 9, 2005, at 8:57 p.m.:

It would certainly be nice to have more clarity on this issue, but I don't know if it's a bait and switch. I don't think it's in Google's interest to force big glaring ads into the mashup ecology. The ads wouldn't work well and the backlash would weaken the brand.

If Google is really concerned about monetizing these mashups -- as opposed to just driving people back to their local product -- they should offer an optional AdSense for Maps program. That would allow every masher to find their own optimal advertising integration.

Posted by Adam on November 9, 2005, at 9:26 p.m.:

Agreed on the AdSense point, Rick. It should be as easy as a click and one line of code for current AdSense customers.

I don't think "Bait and Switch" is too harsh. We've been given no concept of how ads might look and we need to plan for the future. Will they add markers to our maps? Will they overlay AdWords ad chunks?

Posted by Jeff Croft on November 9, 2005, at 10:14 p.m.:

I am a bit concerned about this, as well -- but I wondered if the update to Yahoo! maps would slow Google down. I mean, it would be easy for Google to add the ads if there wasn't a quality alternative, but now they might be concerned that adding the ad will just cause a mass defection to Yahoo?

I dunno.

Posted by Eron Wright on January 5, 2006, at 12:39 a.m.:

Google's John Hanke confirmed that Google Maps will have advertising. He mentioned that, as with AdSense, there will be a mechanism to suppress your competitors. They are also toying with allowing you to suppress ads altogether with a small fee.

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