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 -- Adam heads developer relations at Orchestrate, a database-as-a-service company. He's spent many years analyzing APIs and developer tools. Previously he worked at SendGrid, edited ProgrammableWeb and wrote for Wired and Webmonkey. Adam is also the author of mapping API cookbook Map Scripting 101.