The Long Tail, by Chris Anderson
This Is Digital Cable 2.0?!

Soon Everything Will Be Bought on eBay via Ads from Google…

…or at least that’s the scenario both companies would like to see play out, according to this alliance announcement. It’s interesting that eBay selected Yahoo for their U.S.-based text advertising needs (back in May) and now Google is preferred overseas. If I’m Yahoo, I’m quickly checking the terms of my eBay agreement and anxiously waiting for Google to knock me out of the U.S. deal as well. A multi-vendor approach sounds smart, but how much does eBay give up in the U.S. by sticking with the #2 player?

The whole “click-to-call” element is also a fascinating direction to consider. I realize there is some significant segment of the buying public that’s uncomfortable closing a transaction without ever speaking with a human. Maybe that’s the segment click-to-call will finally drag into the modern world. If so, great, but I feel that nothing is faster and smoother than buying on Amazon or any of a number of other e-commerce sites, all without human intervention. Plus, it’s got to be significantly less expensive for an advertiser to close a deal online vs. introducing a human representative to the equation.

Speaking of costs, the search engine charge of $2-$10 per call will obviously appeal to Google and their shareholders. Maybe it will also help kill off the click-fraud problem currently plaguing the industry. Then again, the same click-fraud experts will probably just start having their “employees” click-to-call instead…



Sure, it's more expensive to take a call than it is to complete a sale online, but what if the customer has a question or just isn't comfortable purchasing online? Wouldn't it benefit companies to offer these kinds customers a chance to speak to a live person and thus complete the transaction?

Even Amazon uses click to call in a strategic way to mitigate the customer experience when an online browser shows signs that they may abandon the transaction. Offering the calling option increases the likelihood that vendors will get incremental phone sales from browsers that would not have otherwise purchased online.

The fact is that the kinds of products and services that can be found online are becoming more and more complex. We're not just buying books on Amazon or Ebay anymore, we're buying TVs, Cars and Boats. For these kinds of interactions, consumers have traditionally shown that they're more comfortable researching online and buying offline. Click to call services bridge that gap.

Additionally, Google and other advertising platforms are using these services to attract advertisers that have traditionally avoided online advertising because they either did not have a web presence or they did not see any value in bringing leads to their website. For example, if Joe the plumber is doing his job right, he won't be around the office to follow up on a lead that comes in through his website, but if that lead calls him directly...there's real value in Joe the plumber advertising online.

Joe Wikert

Hi Dan. All valid points. Further, if Google can really charge a significantly higher rate for the call-through's, that will indeed only make them even more profitable, which is quite impressive.

Michael Miller

eBay has it all wrong with the click to call thing. Maybe some potential buyers might want to use it, but few sellers will. How many individual sellers want to sit by their computer phones all day waiting for the Skype to ring? And if you're big enough to actually have a customer support staff, you don't need eBay's click-to-call connection; you already have your own 800 number and email support. It's all a way for eBay to justify their idiotic acquisition of Skype, which doesnt' make sense no matter how you look at it.

But that's just my opinion.

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