VC Funded Map Mashup Zooms Out

Adam DuVander
Mar. 01 2010, 09:01PM EST

The writing has been on the virtual wall for some time, but it's official: mashup pioneer Platial (our Platial profile) is shutting down. Former CEO Di-Ann Eisnor cites server costs of $7,000 per month in an interview with GigaOm.

Platial/Frappr map awards

Eisnor moved on to crowdsourced traffic company Waze in July. Last week Platial announced an export tool in anticipation of the shut-down.

What went wrong? No reliable source of revenue, as we covered in 2006. At the time Platial was ahead of the curve, but no business model ever appeared:

"We all assumed that the location-based advertising market would heat up a lot faster than it has. We’ve worked with all of them over the years: ReachLocal, AT&T/Ingenio. Advertisers are still thinking that within a city means location-targeted, so all of the benefits we were providing around a specific location were not very real."

The company was once a poster child of mashups. It was VC-funded and had a vibrant community. Eisnor notes there were potential acquisitions along the way, but nothing panned out. Platial made an acquisition of its own when it bought a similar mashup, Frappr. But both were hurt when Google announced My Maps, which had similar functionality.

What's this mean for today's location applications? Eisnor believes it's a better time to be a geo startup:

"I'm still bullish. Even if no dollars are made till 2011, people raising money now will be able to get over the gap."

Hat tip: Jeremy Crampton via @spatialsustain

Adam DuVander Hi! I'm Developer Communications Director for SendGrid and former Executive Editor of ProgrammableWeb. I currently serve as a Contributing Editor. If you have API news, or are interested in writing for ProgrammableWeb, please contact editor@programmableweb.com Though I'm a fan of anything API-related, my particular interest is in mapping. I've published a how-to book, Map Scripting 101, to get anyone started making maps on websites. In a not-so-distant past life I wrote for Wired and Webmonkey.

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