MapQuest Adds Features to Make Site Quicker and Stickier

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MapQuest.com Inc. yesterday relaunched its consumer Web site to make it stickier and quicker for directions-seeking users.


The redesign is intended to make the site easier to use, less cluttered on the home page and attract new users through viral marketing.


"We expect it to increase the loyalty of our current visitor base and also expand our user base," said Dave Ingerman, New York-based vice president of marketing at MapQuest, who was given charge of the site six months ago.


Top of the list is the express lane. Users can now get directions through one-click access on the MapQuest home page itself, and e-mail or fax addresses and maps for free to friends and work colleagues. In addition, the maps themselves are 20 percent bigger.


The chief attraction, however, is more to do with building a database. MapQuest users can now permanently store their home or office street addresses, plus their e-mail addresses, to avoid repetitive entry of the starting destination details. Users are then asked to opt-in to receive offers from MapQuest's travel partners.


Ingerman said MapQuest would use the opt-in data to "pull people in" and pitch offers tailored to specific user needs. The data will not be sold to third parties other than MapQuest partners, he said.


In another gesture to increase repeat visits, business travelers, vacationers and local town residents can now read news, content and services targeted to them.


According to measurement service Media Metrix, MapQuest last month recorded nearly 4.5 million unique visitors. In-house research at MapQuest shows that site traffic has grown 35 percent in the past two months, way ahead of the relaunch.

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