NY Times Covers Google Mashups

Thursday's New York Times covered the maps-mashing phenomenon in an article entitled "A Journey to a Thousand Maps Begins With an Open Code". The core of the story is not new to readers here but it does cover a number of interesting examples (most or all of which can be found at the excellent Google Maps Mania):

Perhaps the most notable part of the story is towards the end when discussing how Trulia, a for-profit business and not just a hobbyist site, is beginning to run into one of the core mashup issues: data ownership, royalties, and how to share revenue. As their business grows, Google has expressed an interest in sharing. And not that Realtors would try to control their data either...


Comments (6)


Julian, agreed that sometimes that may be true, but not so sure in all cases. And revenue/cost sharing can be a mutually-beneficial model, as in the case of eBay. They've successfully developed a model whereby developers pay for every API call they make, but, as long as the developer can leverage that to make more money than it costs them, ok. Not to say that perhaps eBay couldn't make even more money if they charged nothing. That's part of the give it away to grow the pie vs. take a bigger slice of the existing pie debate.

<strong>Google Maps Mashups and the Elusive Business Model</strong>

John Musser over at ProgrammableWeb (a great source for info on APIs, I might add!) has posted about the NY Times article* on Google Maps mashups. John has picked out some fairly cool mashups that are worth mentioning:

HomePriceRecords: Combines...

There's an issue here that is raising it's ugly head.

When an API is provided by a commercial company, to what extent should they be entitled to share in profits generated by a commercial company using it?

My gut feel is "None, No way". If they want to share in the profits they can buy me. And/Or they should share *their* profits with me because I've made their service more valuable.

Web API's are another service and there are many services in this world that are free and paid. I figure there will be all sorts of business models that will work depending on the API.

For now lots of businesses will offer free API access tell they have a good user base. Then companies will start charging when they can make money or they are forced to due to cost to run.

EDI is a example of an API that has been around for quite some time and many paying customers.