MapQuest Dropping Local Blog Support
In one of the first articles on Hyperlocal Blogger, I showed and wrote about an opportunity for local bloggers to get exposure through the popular MapQuest web site: MapQuest Wants Your Local Content.
They don’t want it anymore.
Greg Sterling first mentioned in passing that MapQuest Local — the company’s excellent local start page — is going away, and that immediately made me wonder if the local blog content would be, too. I spoke today with MapQuest GM Christian Dwyer and he confirmed that it is … although MapQuest may bring it back in the future.
If you’re not familiar, take a look at local.mapquest.com and you’ll see what this is about. That’s the home page for MapQuest Local, and it should default to your current location. You should see, somewhere near the top, a “Blogs in…” widget like this one from the Seattle page:
You can see that there’s an “Add Your Blog” button, and some real estate agent has wisely taken MapQuest up on that offer. I don’t know how much exposure she’s received, but this was always a pretty brain-dead simple thing to do. Even if it didn’t lead to a ton of new visitors to your hyperlocal blog, it also didn’t require a ton of effort to setup … so any exposure was a fair trade.
MapQuest Local will eventually go away, Dwyer tells me, and the support for accepting local blog content will go with it. He says there’s no timetable for this to happen, though; it depends on how quickly MapQuest users adopt the new MapQuest home page at new.mapquest.com. When there’s substantial adoption there, the “classic” version of MapQuest, along with MapQuest Local, will go away.
For now, MapQuest is bringing in local blog content … but, as an AOL-owned property, it’s focusing on content from AOL’s growing Patch network. Dwyer showed me Maplewood, NJ, restaurant listings in MapQuest’s system that are pulling business information from the Patch hyperlocal site covering Maplewood.
But all isn’t lost for local bloggers. Dwyer did say that MapQuest is thinking about how to capture local blog content from non-Patch sources and make it part of the main experience on the new MapQuest.com. A likely addition to come sooner than that will be local news sourced from AOL’s news property.
Bottom line: It may be many months before MapQuest Local goes away, so if you want to submit your blog to the local site covering your area … go for it. Just be aware that it won’t be around forever.
(PS – while you’re on MapQuest, do check out the new site. It’s got some pretty darn cool mapping tools that I’ve not seen on Google Maps or anywhere else.)