Organic Maps adding KAYAK referral links to mobile app


“No ads” maps provider adding ads.

Here is link on their pull request and plenty of negative feedback about their idea.


Well, from my point of view there will be no ads in Organicmaps, just a sponsored link available if you select some hotels on the map.
There are no tracking nor data collection in the app.
I see that like Firefox adding google as default search engine.


It’s not advertising but non-invasive sponsoring links that only appear on hotels and make it easy to compare offers.
Organic Maps does not collect or sell anything


It seems there are plans to add a disable toggle in the settings and on the fdroid build, it will be off by default.


this isn’t ads, this is referals. The difference is important because your title implies that they are adding banner or fullscreen advertisements to the application.

instead of outright calling it advertisements, it should be clearly stated that they are adding referals, not ads.

EDIT: Note that I have changed the title to reflect what is actually happening here.


While it may be an ad, I think it is critical we let apps actually try and make themselves sustainable and this seems to be a pretty non-invasive way of doing so.


I don’t have an issue with this in theory, but I do think they should add a little “Promoted” badge or something next to Kayak links in their app.


So, it is an ad. Organic Maps is pointing us to a specific business and getting money from said business if we make a purchase using their link. I personally have no problem with sponsored links, lets just not contort ourselves to claim ads are somehow not ads just because we got used to seeing obnoxious invasive ads on the internet




Is pretty obviously this, isn’t it?:

Referral marketing when paired with UX features like this is a subset of advertising.


As @jonah points out, those definitions are not mutually exclusive. Were talking about a “notice … in … electronic media … designed to attract … patronage”

In short, they added referral link to KAYAK that TRACKS you (see this discussion: Main discussion)

And some issues about this:

Most of issues with requests to remove integration closed to avoid them being hated because of their actions.

If you need explanation about why f-droid marked them, just read this thread on official F-Droid repo. In short they ignored all users that asked to remove that (or at least make it opt-in) and even closed PR with making it opt-out (github_com/organicmaps/organicmaps/pull/6720). They have been even making excuses that this is useful link, but there is many open source solutions that don’t track you instead (they rejected request to replace this with open source solution (proof: github_com/organicmaps/organicmaps/issues/6774)

In short that just want more money and they don’t care about community.


… that tracks you if you tap it.
I don’t like it a lot either but I’m just not going to tap it. :slight_smile:


That’s bad. Not the link (but it is bad too), but the fact developers doesn’t care about community opinion…

Well it’s good to know this at least. Not a great change but not really as impactful. Hopefully someone will just fork it to remove the clutter.


I remember a pull request that detailed a setting to disable to links, but I dont know whether they still plan to implement it.

Probably not because close to noone will opt-in and then the monetisation effect would be zero.

I mean this is fine.

we need to have income streams to privacy respecting products, that’s how they mature, get adopted and not die.

We just have to see if it breaks some fundamental privacy rules we as a community can’t tolerate.

pretty much.

Also “you were refereed by organic maps” is a data point i can live with.


Well, people will just move from the original app and use a fork, same thing happened with Simple Mobile Tools.

I don’t agree with you. I think it’s too much for open source project that promises to be clean of “crap” (not my words)

Look at this (from privacy policy of kayak):

- Personal details (such as your name, age, birthday, gender)
- Contact information (such as email address, address, phone number)
- Booking information (such as, for each traveler, the traveler's name, frequent flyer details, passport number, redress control number, country of citizenship, booking reference number, and itinerary, which may include name of airline or carrier, hotel accommodation and/or vessel, port of destination, port of arrival, date and time of departure and/or check-in, date and time of arrival and/or check-out, meal preferences, luggage information, and layover information)
- Account information (such as login credentials, including email address and password, and account settings)
- Social media data (if you choose to link your KAYAK account with a social media account, KAYAK may collect personal information such as name, age, gender, photograph, and other personal information relating to your social media account)
- Billing information (such as credit, debit, or other payment card information and billing address)
- Your contacts (such as contact information of people you add to, or notify of, your reservations or itineraries through our Services)
- Your preferences (such as your home airport, seating preferences, meal preferences, communication preferences, and other preference information you provide us)
- Reviews you submit (including any screenname you publish under or any personal information you include about yourself or others in such review)
- Content you publish (including your travel recommendations and any personal information you include about yourself or others, or in content you publish in your Guide or other mediums provided by us)
- Photos of you (such as when you add a photo of yourself to your profile, upload photos to a review, or link your social media account to your KAYAK account)
- Communications you send us (such as questions, conversations, complaints, or other information that you may submit to our support team)
- Promotion information (if you choose to participate in a contest, sweepstakes, or similar campaign, we will collect any information you provide in relation to such activity, such as photos, images, captions, or other content, in accordance with the terms provided at that time)
- Other information you may provide (including other information you provide about yourself or others through our Services or to which you provide us with access via third-party platforms)

That is what they can do with users data:

- Send you marketing communications, including communicating with you about services or products offered by KAYAK, our group companies, or our business partners…
- Provide services and information to travel partners, such as providing user feedback and usage details
- Provide you more relevant advertising on and off our Services
- Comply with our policies, procedures and legal obligations, including complying with law enforcement or government authority requests
- As otherwise consented to by you and as required or permitted by applicable law

Does organic maps even have a sizable user base that a sponsor would pay them a considerable amount and the devs will go against the community for adding them.