WLL Uses Celebs to Promote Mashups

Social media and mapping are starting to converge. This has been going on in the developer world for some time but soon it will hit the mainstream. Just take a look at this article on MSNBC.com about the weekend box-office performance of the Da Vinci Code.

Scroll to the middle of the page to see the Windows Live Local ad (the ads are dynamic so you might not see it). If you click the ad it sends you to this site, displaying a Windows Live Local interface with Alex Rodriquez’s favorite New York places plotted on a map. (Alex Rodriguez is a NY Yankees pitcher). If you don't know who Rodriguez is (or if you do and are just hungry for more information) the site prompts you to "Find more information about Alex Rodriguez on MSN Search." So, cleverly, it also promotes MSN search at the same time.

By exploring the site, you will learn about the hotels, restaurants, museums, stores and attractions that are purportedly Rodriguez's favorites (with many Birdseye views). In addition, other American celebrities have provided their favorite places in their respective cities: Anna Kournikova, Brad Paisley, Brittany Murphy, Eva Longoria, Jeff Bridges, Matt Leinart, Stacy Keibler.

After exploring the celebrities' favorites, you're prompted to "create your favorites," which sends you to the front door of Windows Live Local. Unfortunately, there isn't a step-by-step guide to creating your own mashup. Despite this failing, this is a clever campaign and will expose Windows Live Local to some people who have never heard of it. Undoubtedly many of those people will find it pretty interesting and, in our celebrity obsessed culture, will be prompted to explore the maps.

Here's the Hitwise data on mapping market share among the top sites:

  • MapQuest: 56.3%
  • Yahoo Maps: 20.5%
  • Google Maps: 7.5%
  • MSN Virtual Earth/WLL: 4.3%
  • Google Earth: 2%

Microsoft is seeking to gain an edge by making mapping and mashups more accessible to ordinary people. There's more to come. And as these tools become easier to use by non-developers, mapping and mashups become even more interesting.


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