I am glad to know that you are involved in this, and very hopeful that an alternative is in the near future. My understanding was that $200 is required upfront for the first 28,000 API calls, after which we pay additional amount. Google has turned off the service, obviously because we haven't paid anything. What a flex of monopoly muscle by Google!
The idea that we have to pay a minimum of $200 per month per site to keep
Google map is not good. At the very least, please activate the Open Street Map. After all,
the location map is one of the tools that sold us on the BLOX CMS. Now, this has adversely affected our product both on the editorial and advertising side. Stories no longer have the usual location maps, and all
our classified ads and marketplace listings have lost their valuable appeals without the maps.
Customer support service by UserEcho