Monday, October 31, 2011

Google Maps To Charge - A Scary Halloween Story?

The BBC recently reported that as of January 1, 2012 Google will begin charging for the use of the Google Maps API service. The charge is intended to only apply to extensive use of the API, classified as more than 25k hits per day. It is expected that the charge will amount to $4 per 1,000 hits above the 25k threshold.

In the local search marketing world we become somewhat anxious whenever we hear about proposed changes to Google Maps. And certainly news that Google is going to charge for something related to Maps is somewhat disconcerting. However it is not time to panic or scream... yet.
As of right now this change will only affect third party sites that make extensive use of the Google Maps API, such as travel websites. Furthermore, it is estimated (albeit by Google) that this charge will only impact 0.35% of users.  Therefore, businesses who market via Google Places are in the clear for now.
So, maybe this is just a scary Halloween story that does not have a frightening gory pay-off.
Or, maybe this is just the beginning of that scary story where the monster killer starts out on the first step and then creeps onto the second step and then the third and so on until he is right outside your bedroom door. Everyone get ready to scream.
Happy Halloween.

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