Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Google and eBay

Google and eBay just announced an advertising alliance between the two companies. Google is now responsible for selling ads on eBay outside the U.S. (Yahoo! has the assignment for eBay U.S.) The interesting thing about this announcement is the emphasis on integrating "click-to-call" technology (from eBay's Skype unit) with Google web advertisements. Interested users will be able to click on a Google ad and immediately be connected to the advertiser, via Google Talk and Skype.

I'm not hip on this whole click-to-call thing. I'm not sure too many consumers will want to talk directly to advertisers, and I'm less sure that many advertisers will want to spend the money to staff a 24/7 call center to handle these click-to-call communications. While there are apparently some market segments where this might make sense (mortgage brokers seem to be keen on the idea), I think this is yet another attempt by eBay to justify its ill-thought-out acquisition of Skype. (eBay has already added click-to-call as an option in its online auctions; sellers are not flocking to embrace it.)

In any case, this is more confirmation that Google is really in the advertising business, not the search business. It's all about the ad dollars, folks.

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