Peter Kafka

Recent Posts by Peter Kafka

Google Tries Redialing “Click to Call” Again

Here’s an interesting side note to GPhone (a.k.a. “Nexus One”) Day–Google is still experimenting with its “click-to-call” program for advertisers on “high-end mobile devices.” Coincidence?

From Greg Sterling at Search Engine Land:

Google sent out notification to its AdWords advertisers that this month “your location-specific business phone number will display alongside your destination url in ads that appear on high-end mobile devices. Users will be able to click-to-call your business just as easily as they click to visit your website. You’ll be charged for clicks to call, same as you are for clicks to visit your website.”

Note that this offer doesn’t appear to be specific to phones running Google’s (GOOG) Android operating system. And it appears to be running in addition to Google’s practice of providing phone numbers in organic search results, which also essentially provide “click to call” options for smartphone users.

In Sterling’s words: “This is a version, effectively, of “pay-per-phone call” but the cost per call is the same as a click–a bargain (generally speaking) for the advertisers to receive a ‘warm lead.'”

Google first started playing around with “click to call” programs for conventional Web search four years ago. In that scenario, you gave Google your phone number (this was designed for landline use, really), and it connected calls to advertisers on your behalf.

Google eventually moved on, since no one seemed to use this option (though you can still see traces of the program here). But connecting mobile users with advertisers ought to be a very lucrative proposition, so no surprise that Google is still chasing after this.

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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald