TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Competitors Challenge MapQuest

Competitors Challenge MapQuest

Monty Solomon (
Sun, 27 Nov 2005 23:00:08 -0500

By CATHERINE TSAI AP Business Writer

DENVER (AP) -- Initially, the great thing about Internet mapping
programs was their swiftness and ease for obtaining directions,
printing them and driving the course you plotted.

Now those Web maps can travel with you, too. And get updated on the
road. And, on some wireless handhelds, show you exactly where you are
and if, say, an Ethiopian restaurant is anywhere near.

MapQuest Inc., acquired by America Online Inc. in 2000, was the first
mover and remains tops in Internet cartography as it heads toward the
10th anniversary of its Web site in February.

"As Google is to search, MapQuest has been to mapping and driving
directions," said Greg Sterling of The Kelsey Group, which researches
electronic directories and local media.

But a bevy of deep-pocketed competitors threatens.

"Google, Yahoo and MSN are certainly on (its) heels," Sterling said.
"MapQuest is in danger if (it doesn't) continue to innovate."

Of all people going to mapping sites, 71 percent visited
in September, roughly even from a year ago, according to comScore
Media Metrix. Yahoo Inc. drew 32 percent, also about the same as last
year, while new arrival Google Inc. had a 25 percent share. (The
numbers do not add up to 100 percent because some people visit
multiple sites.)


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