Google and eBay in
‘click-to-call’ ad alliance

28 Aug 2006

Search company Google has signed a multi-year agreement with eBay to engage in text-based advertising and to deploy a “click-to-call” advertising functionality.

The move follows revelations that Google is going to bring out its own rival offering to Microsoft Office.

As part of the agreement with eBay, Google will become the exclusive text-based advertising provider for eBay outside the US.

Both companies also plan to integrate and launch click-to-call advertising functionality that leverages both Skype and Google Talk in each company’s respective shopping and search platforms.

The click-to-call capability will allow a user to click on a link or icon within a product or service advertisement to initiate an internet voice call to participating eBay merchants or Google advertisers directly from either company’s respective sites using Skype or Google Talk.

Click-to-call advertising is an emerging e-commerce model that brings buyers and sellers together by opening up new ways for advertisers and merchants to generate customer leads using the internet. It is particularly valuable for merchants or advertisers who may not have a website or who currently use channels such as local directories to reach potential customers.

EBay chief executive and president Meg Whitman explained: “People continue to evolve how they shop, communicate and advertise online. By combining the power of eBay in e-commerce and Skype in communications with Google’s leadership in search and advertising, we can increase the usefulness of the internet for shoppers, merchants and advertisers around the world.”

The companies said that the financial terms for certain components of the deal involve revenue sharing but would not disclose specific details.

“Our technologies will allow us to connect users to relevant advertising across eBay’s international properties,” said Eric Schimdt, CEO of Google. “By working together to promote click-to-call functionality through Google Talk and Skype, we are offering advertisers another innovative way to connect with customers.”

In related news, it has emerged that Google is planning to release its own suite of online productivity tools that will square it up against Microsoft. Later this year Google says it intends to offer a paid-for version of the software that includes calendaring and word processor technology.

The revelation coincided with the launch of Google Apps For Your Domain, an expansion of the Gmail for Your Domain service that launched in February 2006. The product currently includes Gmail web email, the Google Talk instant messaging and voice-calling service, collaborative calendaring through Google Calendar, and web page design, publishing and hosting via Google Page Creator.

In June, reported that Google was performing a limited test of Google Spreadsheets, which will be free and secure and allow users to work collaboratively on spreadsheets over the internet.

The search company described the product as designed for users who create basic spreadsheets that need to be shared or updated by several contributors.

By John Kennedy