Google Starts Click-To-Call Ads

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Users who find a green phone icon in the sponsored search results on Google can click on it to call the advertiser, as Google begins testing the pay-per-call advertising method.

Google Starts Click-To-Call Ads
Google Initiates Click-To-Call Ad Service

AOL has enjoyed a successful partnership with Ingenio and the pay-per-call advertising it powers. Google has begun to test the waters of profits by telecom itself, calling its scheme click-to-call, Search Engine Watch reported.

Google is only making a few details about the program available on its website. Google pays for the call, whether it is local or long distance:

Here’s how it works: When you click the phone icon, you can enter your phone number. Once you click ‘Connect For Free,’ Google calls the number you provided. When you pick up, you hear ringing on the other end as Google connects you to the other party. Then, chat away on our dime.

We won’t share your telephone number with anyone, including the advertiser. When you’re connected with the advertiser, your number is blocked so the advertiser can’t see it. In addition, we’ll delete the number from our servers after a short period of time.

The plan appears to be limited to a certain subset of IP traffic right now. A blogger named Greg Yardley posted about the new test and provided screenshots of the AdWords blocks another person found with the phone icons. Yardley is in New York and can’t get similar results, and in trying the same search terms at WebProNews we don’t see the phone icons either.

In theory, it looks like Google calls the advertiser and calls the user’s phone number at the same time, since Google advises that calls to cellphones could incur airtime charges:

Am I charged to connect to an advertiser?

No. Google foots the bill for all calls – local and long-distance. However, if we call a cell phone number, you may incur airtime fees depending on the cell phone plan. Check your cell phone provider for details.

UPDATE: Greg Yardley emailed me with a couple of corrections to the article, which I’ve now made. Yardley and the person who found the click-to-call results are both in New York City. Greg, however, is Canadian by birth, hence his .ca domain. I regret the error and will forego whipped cream on pumpkin pie tomorrow as penance.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.

Google Starts Click-To-Call Ads
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