Click-to-Call Ads Offered by eBoogle

Michelle Megna
August 28, 2006

Google and eBay dominated not just the Internet today but the headlines too with their plans for Google to supply eBay with Web-search advertising outside the U.S. and to jointly offer "click-to-call" ads linking shoppers to customer-service operators. (Yahoo!, which in May began providing all of eBay's U.S. ads, apparently was not invited to the party.) The companies plan to begin testing the text-based advertising and click-to-call initiatives in early 2007, according to the Google news release. Both will be evaluated over a period of several months, with implementation depending upon initial test results. Under the click-to-call model, shoppers who click on a link or icon within an advertisement will initiate an Internet voice call to participating eBay merchants or Google advertisers directly from either company's respective sites, the release says. This will be done using Skype, purchased by eBay last September, or Google Talk, marking its one-year anniversary this week. This model lets businesses without a Web site or those who use local directories reach online customers. Starting in the near future, Skype will offer its users the option to download the Google Toolbar, to which Skype will add a custom button. The companies will also explore interoperability between Skype and Google Talk through open standards to enable text chat. No Site? No Worries
Even with all the news about the partnership, Google's far-reaching business practices and eBay's fee hikes, the show must go on. Given that, there are still announcements of new products and services that will equip you to run your business better when dealing with these online behemoths. In another effort to link online ads to brick-and-mortar retail purchases, Google recently began letting merchants post printable coupons at its mapping site. Vendors can arrange to have icons placed next to their listings on the Maps pages, with users then clicking on the icon to print the coupon. Right now the coupon service is being administered through a partnership with ValPak, but soon AdWords advertisers will be able to participate. Google will eventually arrange for those without Web sites to create a coupon page that will be linked as a pay-per-click destination. Au Contraire: Checkout added to Cash Site
In other Google news, PayByCash ironically added Checkout, the new credit-card payment system from the search giant, to its roster of more than 40 non-credit-card payment options. Typically, PayByCash gives Web shop owners a way to extend sales to those who do not use credit or are unable to do so. Kevin Higgins, PayByCash's president, says, "Remarkably, we've been seeing increasing requests from our customers to pay via credit card through our service. With our Google Checkout integration, we can enable our merchant clients to parlay that consumer trust in Google to improved customer conversions." On the search front, Trellian's KeywordDiscovery recently unveiled an upgrade. The new version provides seasonal trend graphs that help identify how searches are influenced by factors such as holiday shopping, addresses data skew and discloses search-engine market share per individual search term. This trend graph data is unique, the company says, because it contains the history of searches for people who are looking for specific products, and, these tend to be customers who are ready to buy. Data Quality, Skew and Market Share Analysis
Another issue addressed with the upgrade is "skew," traditionally a major problem that with keyword-suggestion services. Typically search statistics reported on popular queries are impacted by various automated agents such as search engine crawlers, rank and bid checkers. These inflate the true search numbers making it difficult to accurately estimate available traffic. KeywordDiscovery, however, provides a database of 4.3 billion keyword searches based purely on user-panel data. Therefore, the new database is free from the skew caused by automated agents. Different search engines tend to attract a different user demographic. As an example, Google may hold the largest market share, however Yahoo and MSN often perform better for certain search queries. A new KeywordDiscovery feature enables advertisers to segment the search engine market for all popular search queries. For each of these queries, KeywordDiscovery can now quantify the percentage of search volume that each major engine contributes to the overall total. Pricing begins at $39.95 a month; for a free trial visit here. FYI...Contextual Ads
In other search and eBay news, See Fusion Search Marketing recently unveiled a comparative-shopping engine called Find-Your-Item that lets you search for items by category, keyword or through advanced queries. It is also offering a contextual ad service for eBay affiliates called fyiAds. The new service lets affiliates post ads on their sites that relate to content on their pages. Content is matched to appropriate merchandise listed on eBay, so, for example, if a site mentions kitchen appliances, the fyiAds will display ads for appliances on sale at eBay. Michelle Megna is managing editor of

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