Google posted on their help FAQ pages hints for a new service to be called “click-to-call”. “We’re testing a new product that gives you a free and fast way to speak directly to the advertiser you found on a Google search results page â€“ over the phone.”
As the Financial Times commended, Click-to-Call “appears to be aimed at the many small businesses that cannot use Google’s existing online advertising service because they have no web presence of their own”. This will go in direct competition to the Pay Per Call service provided by Ingenio which are rumored to be courted by Yahoo. According to the Kelsey Group, which has vested interest in the growth of local search, linking web users to advertisers by means of a voice call, though still in its infancy, could become a market worth between $1.4bn and $4bn by 2009. Other possible competing services would the the one offered by eBay after their Skype purchase and AOL’s own version, to be linked through its AIM service.
The FT article goes further to quote the CMO of Ingenio in his comment that the Pey per Call approach warrants higher advertising fees because the service gives better chances for turning the call into a sale. According to Ingenio, the average price paid for a call by the 5,000 advertisers on their network is $9-$10.