Mapping Company Adds Dynamic Ads to Online Maps

Each day, Internet users view more and more online maps to plan a trip, search for a local business, or access any number of other applications. One mapping technology provider believes there’s a better way to provide advertising to them than a series of unchanging ads along the side of a page.

Idelix software is currently testing an application programming interface (API) for its map-based advertising model called Lat49, scheduled for full release in August. The API is intended to integrate with mapping software from companies like Google, Microsoft Live Search Maps, Yahoo Local, Mapquest, Pushpin and others. Using the Idelix API, map developers will be able to offer advertisers the ability to place ads directly onto map results and to update those ads as viewers move their perspective to other portions of the map.

Many map advertising opportunities are lost as newer Flash and AJAX maps don’t need to refresh their pages and therefore don’t have new ads served, according to Chloe Morrow, VP of operations for Idelix.

“On a site where there’s a map, your initial page shows up and a person can spend 15 minutes on the site zooming in and out and the ads don’t change,” Morrow said.

Using the Idelix system, developers will be able to offer ads that can be placed directly on maps on a street, city, or brand level. Each ad would “own” a part of a grid overlay of the map. As viewers move their perspective to new parts of the grid, they’re presented with a new targeted ad.

Some map developers are eager to add monetization. Greg Sadetsky, CEO of Poly9, a creator of 2D and 3D mapping applications which has created maps for customers ranging from MSNBC and NORAD to UFOMaps.com, said, “A lot of developers will take a look at this to monetize their work. There’s a large number of mash-ups companies doing maps right now, and they have no way to monetize them.”

Idelix isn’t the only company looking to add advertising to map results. Google recently announced it’s working on an AdSense for Maps API to provide opt-in push-pin style advertising directly from the widely used Google Maps system. Idelix is continuing the test of its API system regardless, with the idea of providing a complementary system to Google’s AdSense for Maps, while also working with other map providers.

“Conceivably, a developer using the Google Maps API could integrate both advertising options. The key there being that only map mash-up users developing with the Google Maps API will be able to use the advertising option from Google,” said Tiffany Chester, director of marketing for Idelix. “So, map mash-up developers using Microsoft Live Search Maps, Yahoo Local, Mapquest, Pushpin, etc., will not have the option to integrate AdSense into their maps and monetize their work. That’s where Lat49 comes in. We offer a solution to all online map developers.”

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