November 24, 2005

Enough Already with Pay Per Call

Om has posted some information on Google’s Click-to-call beta service. Alec and Venkatesh have posted their thoughts and have speculated how Google could have implemented it. I am decidedly not excited, though I am supposed to be in a festival mood.

In a nutshell, when a user clicks on the phone icon that is displayed in a text ad, a popup window requests the user to enter the phone number at which Google can initiate a third-party call connecting the user and the advertiser. Not being evil, Google assures us that they will maintain the user’s privacy. We are also informed that the call is their “dime”. Now it is not clear how long will these two last. It is reasonable to expect that eventually Google will charge the advertisers for the call. When that happens, wouldn’t the advertisers want to get additional information on the callers? After all, even the Bells have to share callers’ information on toll-free calls.

Om, Alec and Venkatesh have speculated on the specific mechanism used by Google. It could be native PSTN system based on TAPI or it could be some sort of VoIP platform. Whatever it is, Google has inserted itself in the middle and as such it is violating the end-to-end principle. That is why it is not so exciting. Now instead of this Click-to-call icon from Google, consider the case where the advertiser places a “Call-me link” as suggested by FWD. Same click-to-call feature is realized. But Google gets only pay-per-click revenue instead of the inflated pay-per-call. No user information needs to be exchanged. And best of all, end-to-end principle is upheld. Now it is time to be jolly.

Posted by aswath at November 24, 2005 02:17 PM
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Nice blog on Google Dials-In The AdWords

Posted by: Steven Ivester at November 25, 2005 12:14 PM

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