Click here to call Google

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 – 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.

Local Search and Online Shopping Go Hand In Hand

According to a new survey of consumer search behavior conducted by The Kelsey Group and BizRate.com:

  • Over 75% of respondents stated that comparing prices and/or merchants was their favorite aspect of shopping online
  • 72% of the participants use general search engines nine or more times per month
  • 43% of respondents said that they preferred to research and shop online, while around 28% prefer to combine offline and online research and shopping
  • 37% of online consumers are already very familiar with shopping search sites
  • More than 52% of Internet Yellow Pages (IYP) users are loyal to one IYP site
  • 42% use “two or three” different Internet Yellow Pages sites.
  • 52% of the respondents reported that general search engines are the leading types of sites that lend themselves to personalization, while 41% of indicated that about shopping search sites
  • 33% have actually personalized search web sites
  • 35% of the participants indicated loyalty to one search engine
  • 44% of the respondents have downloaded a toolbar, 68% of whom said their objective was to block pop-up ads, while 36% had done so to be able to search from any web site.

Google in Alliance With BellSouth Enhances RealPages.com With AdWords Advertisers

Andrew Googman pointed today on the SEM2discussion list that RealPages.com, the Yellow Pages web site run by BellSouth, has become the first yellow pages publisher authorized to sell advertising through Google AdWords(R) to small and medium-sized local businesses. On one hand, this announcement is no different than other press releases of Google expanding the distribution base for its AdWords pay-per-click advertising program. On the other hand, it might turn quite significant as it creates a precedent of including a big third party reseller of Google AdWords for the SMS business market place.