As posted on the Yahoo! Developer Network Blog:

...we have lifted many of the restrictions associated with the Yahoo! Maps APIs. Until today, the APIs were available only for non-commercial use unless you applied for an exception. The concept of commercial and non-commercial has gone away and exceptions are no longer necessary in most cases. We have given you explicit Usage Policies to help guide you.


Not too long ago I was in a meeting with Vince and other folks from the Yahoo! Maps team. We were talking about what should happen next with their APIs.

I'm glad to see that this happened quickly and hasn't been watered down. With a few exceptions (like using our services to directly compete with the companies who license data to us), you can use the Maps API quite liberally.

Posted by jzawodn at June 12, 2006 07:51 PM

Reader Comments
# John Handelaar said:

What's next?

They could try launching the only map site on earth with street searching on addresses in Ireland...

Recent (-ish) acquisitions mean they do have the data.

on June 12, 2006 08:42 PM
# alan taylor said:

How interesting that on the same day (pre-Where 2.0 conference), Google officially announces "Google Maps for Enterprise" - starting at $10,000.

on June 12, 2006 09:12 PM
# Dave Dash said:

That's great, a lot of people were curious when I added a Yahoo! map over a Google map to, I explain my reasons breifly in my blog, but essentially the Geo RSS support made it very slick, and yes, Yahoo! Maps is everybit as ajaxy as Google's.

on June 12, 2006 09:20 PM
# Dave Dash said:

... and the other thing, my only hang up about using Yahoo! Maps was the clause about comercial use, I am very glad that's lifted as it makes it a lot easier for me to justify this over Google's.

on June 12, 2006 09:29 PM
# Ray said:

Actually Dave Dash, it's much more flashy than ajaxy... but the point is it's useful, regardless of the technology behind it. :)

on June 13, 2006 01:06 AM
# Jacob Kaplan-Moss said:

[I tried to post the following directly on the Yahoo developer blog, but it seems the comment form posts to a 404. So you get to read my whining here. Lucky you.]

To my eyes these new terms seem more restrictive, not less. I'm not sure since I can't seem to find the old TOS to compare, but I'd hardly say these terms aren't restrictive.

I still can't "include Yahoo! Maps in applications for which [I] charge users" -- how's that in anyway removing the concept of commercial vs. non-commercial?

It also seems that Yahoo's added a ban on the storage of geocoded data (which puts the kibbosh on a few neat projects I'd been working on). In fact (reading closer now) it appears that the only thing I'm allowed to use the geocoder for is to display data on a Yahoo-provided map, which means even simple stuff like "calculate the distance between these two addresses" is quashed.

I also see for the first time a restriction on using the map APIS "in a product or service that competes with products or services offered by Yahoo!" With all the different arenas Yahoo competes in, that's actually going to be very hard. I work for a newspaper; as I read it this means I can't use Yahoo Maps on *any* newspaper site because of Yahoo News.

Now, this is Yahoo's party and it's competely within their rights to have any terms of service they see fit. It's hard to tell from my complaining above, but I'm a huge fan of Yahoo's APIs -- they've made my life easier in so many ways.

Just don't go announcing that you've lifted restrictions when in fact they've been made more severe!

(Oh, and is there any chance that Yahoo will launch a pay-for-play service that removes some of these nasty restrictions?)

on June 13, 2006 05:25 AM
# Ray said:

First, remember that a company like Yahoo! has to buy that map and satellite data from a third party. So they can't let you gather, store, archive, etc., because the data belong to someone else.

Second, you should probably have your lawyer read the terms rather than trying to interpret it yourself; just because Yahoo! has a news site doesn't mean they compete with a newspaper in a way that would make a licensing deal unworkable.

And even if the wording is clear, that's not the end of the story. Having been counsel to various web companies (not Y!), my guess is that if your newspaper has a usage for the API that would benefit Yahoo! in extending the reach of their audience into your newspaper's audience, giving you a side license that lets you do what you need to is a no-brainer.

on June 13, 2006 01:06 PM
# Jacob Kaplan-Moss said:

Ray --

Everything you say is true, but you missed the point of my comment.

I'm pretty peeved that Yahoo (and Jeremy) is announcing that Yahoo has loosened the restrictions, which in fact they've made them stricter. I'm much more annoyed at the spin than the terms.

on June 13, 2006 01:21 PM
# Jeremy Zawodny said:

In the past, as I understand it, we've had lots of request for use on commerical web sites (the kind that don't charge for access to the maps). They were confused about what they could and couldn't do, so we simplified things a lot.

Also, note the lack of rate limiting.

Jacob: I'm still not sure what seems *more* restrictive to you. Can you elaborate?

on June 13, 2006 01:32 PM
# Jacob Kaplan-Moss said:

Jeremy -- what I said in my initial post. To my eyes, these restrictions seem new:

* the "you can't compete with Yahoo" clause,

* the ban on storing geocoded data,

* the ban on using geocoded data for any other purpose except displaying on a Yahoo map,

* and the ban on using maps in apps that you charge users for strikes me as more restrictive than "non-commercial" (I could have a non-profit site that charges a fee to cover costs, for example).

Again, I don't have the previous TOS to compare (are they online anywhere?) but to my eyes the new terms seem more restrictive, not less.

on June 13, 2006 02:28 PM
# Joseph Hunkins said:

Very cool and hope this soon is extended to Flickr embeds.

I think as Yahoo and Google continue to create great publishing environments we'll see a renaissance in online publishing with increasingly great mashups. Ongoing challenge for all is that spammy sites still monetize as well or better than quality sites.

on June 13, 2006 07:21 PM
# Andrew Bidochko said:

> We were talking about what should happen next with their APIs.

Did you talk about lifting API calls limit?

on June 14, 2006 11:19 AM
# Alfredo said:

Wow, Yahoo is doing the Google Dance! I think I should stick with my Google Maps for now, but i'll keep on watching the development of this Yahoo! Maps.

on June 15, 2006 10:49 AM
# Anthony said:

Looks very promising!

on June 16, 2006 05:04 AM
# Shana said:

Watered down? Quite the contrary.

on June 16, 2006 04:31 PM
# Rob Taylor said:

I have questions about this as well. I have been reading the Yahoo documentation and it does, in fact, appear that
#1 - You cannot store geocoded values
#2 - You cannot use a map in an area of the Website that costs money
#3 - You cannot display Geocoded values on the screen

Now, how #1 is possible I have no idea but their FREE mapping services are marketed as a way for developers to make maps without needing data driven code. In other words, you have to hand code the values.

I submitted one of my applications for review that does show the geocoded values on the screen. We will see what they say.

on June 29, 2006 03:42 PM
# Mr French said:

I am looking to use and tag a world map for a commercial venture I am looking at at the momment. I don't want adverts of the map provider to appear. From what I understand, this can be avoided by Google's Enterprise scheme, but you have to pay (at a starting cost of EUR10,000).

Does anyone know what the situation with Yahoo is on this? I would not mind paying per impression if it gave me greater freedom and meant that I did not have to display their ads? From the comments above, it seems that Yahoo's free version does not actually give you this freedom.

However, I may be missing the point - do Google/Yahoo share the proceeds on any advertising revenue that they make on the free versions of their maps?

on December 29, 2006 04:00 AM
# Ashwani Tyagi said:

We want to use Yahoo maps API on our corporate intranet. Who can provide the info about pricing and licensing?

on March 8, 2007 08:10 AM
# bharath said:


We will be developing a GPS tracking application and will be selling it to potential customers. Do we have to register our application? what is the terms and conditions? also can anyone provide me the pricing information for commercial use.

Thanks and Regards

on November 5, 2007 05:24 AM
# Stuart said:

I'm fairly sure this is wrong. From the Yahoo terms and conditions:

Sell, lease, share, transfer, or sublicense the Yahoo! APIs or access or access codes thereto or derive income from the use or provision of the Yahoo! APIs, whether for direct commercial or monetary gain or otherwise, without Yahoo!'s prior, express, written permission;

on February 6, 2009 03:32 AM
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