Chitika Pay You to Use Their Maps

by JoHarrington

As Google and Bing demand payment for their maps, Chitika provides a free alternative. Webmasters will get commission for using their services.

At a time when other on-line map providers are starting to charge for their services, Chitika is going in the opposite direction.

Maps can be useful in a variety of ways, especially when you have a real world business for people to visit. Now you will be able to not only direct customers to your premises, but get a commission when they use the map to do so!

I think that they call that a win-win situation, in the trade; particularly when the alternative is you paying for it!

Google and Bing Will Be Charging for Maps from January 2012

eCommerce businesses will need to become more savvy, in order to maximise their own revenue.

Online maps have long been a staple of internet usage. Any time that someone on a forum or in a chat channel wants to show a location to a friend, then a link to a map is produced. Directions to a house party are e-mailed alongside a map. More importantly for online businesses, an interactive map can draw potential customers right through their real world door.

Image: The Somme in France on Google MapsFor years, most people have defaulted to using either Google, Bing or Yahoo maps to do this. But that might be about to change.

In October 2011, Google announced that they would start charging some of their customers for doing this.

It is likely to only affect large businesses, who can attract thousands of visitors to their website, but even the most heavily used forums can expect some charge.

Google maps will allow 25,000 free hits, on any particular map, before the webmaster will receive a bill. It's likely to be $4 per 1,000 hits over that limit.

Bing have always charged high level users for their maps, though their limit is higher. 125,000 hits can occur before Microsoft will be asking for money. Then a one-off administration fee of $250 will be incurred. Future maps can be served to that site only with a licensing agreement. This involves a monthly subscription to a plan, on a sliding scale between $99.95 and nearly $500.

For businesses used to accessing maps for free, this is worrying news. Their growth in terms of popularity could see a large payment lurking in the future. This would be true regardless of whether map usage translated into actual customers and profit.

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Map Scripting Manual

Chitika Introduces Online Maps as a Payment Stream

One company bucks the trend by stating they will pay users to display their maps.

Just when wide-eyed executives were gulping nervously in boardrooms around the globe, Chitika offered a solution. Not only would they provide the same functionality in their own maps for free, but they would allow users to make money off them!

Traditionally, eCommerce businesses have monetized maps indirectly. These were displayed in order to provide extra information (and therefore better website content for those browsing their websites) or to bring customers to a real world location.

Stores, restaurants and public arts facilities, like galleries and museums, found an obvious benefit here. Interest would be piqued by websites or advertisements, then the map would be consulted so people could find their building. Sales could then take place face to face.

Chitika offers all of this, but also a secondary revenue stream. Those selecting to display their maps will also receive commission from the clicks. In this way, the business gains a small profit, even from those customers who never sought them out in person.

Chitika Maps v the Competition
Chitika Maps v the Competition

Chitika's maps are still currently in beta. However, they are already available for use. Developers have promised the full version by early 2012.

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How to Create a Chitika Map

Early glimpses of a map-making program that's still in beta form.

Chitika Maps will be created from each webmaster's adserving account there. Therefore the first step would be to register with them. There is also the opportunity to test the demo version without signing up.

Once approved, the registrant is able to log in to display their dashboard. Alongside the advertisement set-up and reports, there is a new tab. It reads 'Chitika Maps'. Clicking on that will open up a form table. This is where the maps will be both created and monetized.

Image: Chitika Map Form

The table (displayed left) appears both simple and self-explanatory:

The size should be entered in pixels. If you don't fill in this section, then the map will automatically be set to the standard: 512px x 512px.

The zoom stretches from level 1 to level 17, which provides plenty of scope for customization.

The center shows where you wish to place the focus of your map. A 'bottom bubble' is currently the only option available under 'monetization'.

For local businesses, or simply those wishing to highlight a specific spot on the map, then the location and pop-up sections will be the most useful.

These will allow the webmaster to place a pin in an exact position (a store, restaurant or the house where your great-great granny lived).

Anyone running a mouse over that pin will gain extra information. At the very least, this will be the address, though these can be edited. In short, you can decide what people should be reading there. For example, it could be an address with a short slogan like, 'best restaurant in town!', or a telephone number for more information.

Programmers who prefer to code their own pages can also easily do so. Chitika have provided step by step information on how to insert their maps onto your website.

Chitika maps have the capacity to be fully geo-coded, with hourly updates and the ability to include advertising. Developers have promised that a 'get directions' function is next on the agenda and should be released early in 2012.

Screenshot of a Chitika Map

The pin has been placed over Buckingham Palace in London. On the live version, the hover text reads 'the queen lives here'.
Image: Buckingham Palace on Chitika Maps
Image: Buckingham Palace on Chitika Maps

The Future for Online Maps

Only time will tell whether Google and Microsoft can survive monetization on brand name alone.

The choice appears cut and dried. No business worth their healthy bottom line is going to pay for a service, when the option is to be paid for the same. But there may be two factors which intervene.

The first is that Chitika maps are currently untried and untested in the marketplace. Frankly, they might be rubbish, though the existing examples show them to be clean, bright and attractive. If Chitika can't provide the service that they promise, then they will be sunk before they've even taken on the big boys. That's just common sense.

The second potential obstacle is familiarity. People have been using Google, Bing and Yahoo maps for a long time. They are a common and trusted brand. Those browsing websites expect to see them and know how to use them. They might not have the bells and whistles that are anticipated in Chitika's version, but they are known.

In Chitika's favor is the fact that the internet is a fast changing environment. In the Age of Technology, everyone has learned to be flexible and to adapt to new tools, as they emerge on the market. Those ready and waiting with their maps may even be seen as having their finger on the pulse of change. Chitika's maps might become fashionable, as the bright, new thing.

As the opening shots are sounded, it will be interesting to see who wins the Battle of the Online Maps in 2012. Or, indeed, whether the competition will force Google and Bing to back down from their map profiteering.

Will you be switching to Chitika maps?

More on Chitika

Wizzley is one of the few on-line writing platforms which allow publishers to monetise with their Chitika advertisements.
Chitika provides on-line advertisements that complement, or act as a replacement for, Google Adsense; but they work in a different way.

How to Sign Up for a Chitika Account

Clicking this referral link will gain me commission at no extra cost to yourself!

Updated: 06/17/2014, JoHarrington
 
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JoHarrington on 03/21/2012

Sorry, Sheri, I didn't realize that you meant on Wizzley. Unfortunately we can't on here yet. The map module is set up for Google Adsense. I did mention this to the Wizzley team before, so I believe that it's on their extensive 'to do' list.

Sheri_Oz on 03/21/2012

OK. I went to my chitika account and found the maps tab, got the code. Now what? If I want to add the map to my wizzley article, what do I do with the code? Sorry for being so dumb.

JoHarrington on 03/21/2012

Good luck with it; and please do let us know how you got on. :)

Sheri_Oz on 03/21/2012

This is VERY interesting. I'm going to check it out.

JoHarrington on 12/27/2011

It's only just been properly rolled out, so you may have tried a test version. I'm going to give them a go next time I need a map. Let us know how you got on. :)

mivvy on 12/27/2011

I tried to use it some time ago but it did not work for an address in Amsterdam. maybe i should try again.

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