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MapQuest Maps dominates Online Maps

Thanks to innovations like Aerial Satellite Images, Draggable Street Maps, Street Level Photos, Business Locators, Web APIs - traffic to online map websites continues to grow at a rapid rate. More than 65 million people, or 38 percent of the total internet audience, used Map sites ifn March 2006.

And that traffic is driving an ongoing battle between the big portal players. Yahoo! has already added satellite images of Yahoo! Maps, bringing it in line with competing products like Google Maps (Google Local) and Microsoft Windows Live Local.

While Google Maps made an impressive debut, AOL owned MapQuest remained the top player in the Maps category. Yahoo! Maps ranks a distant second.

Still everyone's making money out of maps. Google is integrating results from Google Base with Google Maps in a big way. Businesses can pay Google to place brand icons, logos or photos next to their correct locations on the map after a user searches a proximate location using a certain keyword. Yahoo! shows paid ads at the bottom of the page, but not on the maps themselves.

The web based maps have also helped satellite imagery data companies like Navteq, DigitalGlobe, TeleAtlas, EarthStat and GeoEye that deal in digital satellite and topographical maps.

The high traffic to web maps is despite the fact that most features offered by online map services are limited to residents of United States. Imagine the level of traffic when these services expand to China and India.

Sources: Charting Map Site Traffic | Making money from Online Maps