MapQuest Points To Future Of RealTime Marketing

    March 26, 2004

MapQuest called recently to talk about the new MapQuest Advantage API that they’re licensing. Craig Barton, Director of Product Management for MapQuest Business Solutions, shared some interesting current uses of the MapQuest API, as well as a tanalizing glimpse into the future of maps and marketing.

Share your thoughts on MapQuest’s role in the future of marketing.

MapQuest Is Targeting YOU!
MapQuest Is Targeting YOU!

First I had to ask the obligatory search engine question – does MapQuest supply maps to Google and Yahoo?

They do supply maps to Google. They do not supply maps to Yahoo, though they used to. Yahoo, said Craig, thought they could do better. “We’ve gotten feedback that users don’t think that’s the case.”

I checked into it and it seems that Yahoo uses maps by NavTeq, who recently changed their name to NavTeq from Navigation Technologies (perhaps not recently though – the site still has a 2003 copyright).

Since Craig works in the Business Solutions division of MapQuest he couldn’t answer my burning questions about how MapQuest currently facilitates local search. He did fill me in on some of the current uses of the MapQuest API.

There are now more than 1400 businesses using their enterprise mapping products. The most basic application is the store locator, which allows chains such as Chuck E. Cheese to list in realtime new locations on their website’s map. Some chains pick up 7-10 properties a day and the yellow pages can’t keep up.

One start-up plans to use MapQuest to track children for concerned parents. If the kids pass out of a zone on the map parents receive a phone call. Other common licensees include companies who manufacture devices that monitor the location of parolees and sex offenders.

Throughout our interview Craig alluded to some interesting MapQuest developments. As people search the web for local businesses, information builds up about their decisions, preferences, and how they select information. “Packaged,” said Craig, “this information is very interesting to marketing people looking at info about product and facility demand.”

Local search, especially mobile local search, provides real time user behavior that marketing folks could use for real time marketing.

When will we see this kind of MapQuest-enabled real time marketing? When you get a call from Best Western letting you know, as you pull off the express way, that they have a great deal on rooms that night and they’re only 2 minutes away from the first stop light.

Garrett French is the editor of iEntry’s eBusiness channel. You can talk to him directly at WebProWorld, the eBusiness Community Forum.