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MapQuest.com: Exciting Trip to the Net

Despite its name, MapQuest.com (MQST) has been in existence before the creation of the Internet. That is, the company was founded in 1967.

In those days before PCs, MapQuest developed traditional mapping products. However, the company was smart enough to evolve with the march of technology.

For example, it was in 1989 that the company moved into digital mapping. Then, in the first quarter of 1996, the company hit the Web, with its MapQuest.com site.

New Opportunities

The market for traditional mapping products was about $1.6 billion in 1998.

However, with the emergence of the Net, the digital mapping market should start to show strong growth.

Mapping has become a permanent part of every portal. And most of these portals choose MapQuest.

A great feature of digital mapping is the opportunity for targeted advertising. For example, if someone is looking for directions between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, that person probably needs a hotel room.

And the audience is massive. According to Media Metrix, about 12 million users accessed MapQuest.com maps in June, which is about 19.7 percent reach of the entire Web. That is a bigger reach than eBay, CNET and even Amazon.com.

MapQuest.com has a blend of revenues. The company derives advertising and sponsorship revenues from its own portal site, MapQuest.com. The company also generates licensing revenues with other Web sites, such as Yahoo!, Lycos and Infoseek.

New Uses

The company has been very innovative in evolving its product. Recently, MapQuest.com signed an agreement with SpeechWorks to use speech recognition to get over-the-phone directions.

Another smart use of the technology is for wireless technologies. For example, MapQuest.com signed an agreement to implement its technology in the Nokia 7100 media cell phones.

MapQuest.com has similar agreements with Sprint PCS and Yahoo! Mobile.

There are also global opportunities. MapQuest.com entered an agreement with quepasa.com to provide Spanish-language mapping to the online portal. After all, there are about 30 million Hispanics in the US. This population segment is expected to grow to 41 million by 2010.

A big advantage with MapQuest.com is that its technology may be customized. Take its agreement with Travelocity.com. The company needed the technology to allow for searches based on approximate location information. MapQuest.com found a solution.

Conclusion

Mapping is a huge endeavor, requiring tremendous resources and time. It would not make sense for a company to develop this in- house; rather, it is something to outsource.

Yes, so far, it looks like MapQuest.com is going the right direction.


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