Today it released its latest mapping API, MapQuest Advantage API v5. This new version includes AJAX programming to enable dragging, panning and all of the other online mapping features that have only recently become table stakes.
This follows suit with Microsoft, Google, and Yahoo! which have each released APIs for their latest mapping features. The difference is that MapQuest holds a commanding market share lead in the online mapping space (68 percent in November according to Nielsen, compared to Google Maps' 28 percent and Yahoo! Maps' 27 percent).
The company hopes to carry this lead over into emerging areas of mapping where most new business growth will take place, i.e. mobile and mashup development. Utilizing the collective wisdom and manpower of outside developers (via API release) has become a popular way to accomplish the latter.
Next comes monetization, which is well planted on Mapquest's radar screen. The company has barely scratched the surface of mobile product development and monetization according to VP and GM Jim Greiner, whom I spoke with last week.
The company is currently running a trial of click-to-call advertising on mobile devices with Ingenio, and it is also testing mobile banner ads. Limited info is available now, but trial results will be available in the first quarter according to Greiner.