Internet search titan Google and online auction juggernaut eBay today announced a deal whereby Google will exclusively supply eBay will text-based advertising outside the United States. Furthermore, eBay and Google will collaborate to unveil “click-to-call” functionality in advertisements which enables users to immediately initiate VoIP calls to merchants, customer service, sales representatives, or advertisers directly from Web-based advertisements using either Skype or Google Talk. The financial terms of the deal involve revenue sharing, but specific numbers were not disclosed.
“This agreement underscores how much we value eBay as a partner,” said Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, in a statement. “Our technologies will allow us to connect users to relevant advertising across eBay’s international properties. By working together to promote click-to-call functionality through Google Talk and Skype, we are offering advertisers another innovative way to connect with customers.”
The new international ad relationship with Google doesn’t entirely kick eBay’s advertising partner Yahoo to the curb: Yahoo and eBay struck a deal back in May to handle the company’s U.S.-based advertising.
The eBay deal is just the latest in a string of new partnerships announced by Google in the past month, including a partnership with Viacom to push ad-supported online video, and a deal to supply Web search capability and ads to online hotspot MySpace.
The deal may wind up being significant for both companies as eBay increasingly relies on paid search advertising to attract bidders to its sales and online auctions. Similarly, when users fail to find what they’re looking for on eBay, ads from Yahoo (and now Google) will likely direct those users to advertising partners and online merchants offering the sought-after goods and services. eBay has also said it may increase the amount of advertising appearing on its site, including placing ads alongside auction listings.
Click-to-call functionality in online advertisements provides a way for merchants already set up to offer telephone-based sales and support to tap into online advertising, a move which could be lucrative for both Google and eBay. Similarly, the announcement would make the first significant synergy between eBay and Skype since the VoIP provider was acquired by the auction house in 2005.
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