Infospace, Jambo Partner For Pay-Per-Call

Local search engine Infospace and pay-per-call firm Jambo have struck a deal that will allow Infospace to offer Jambo's services to advertisers, the companies are expected to announce today.

Once Jambo's technology is integrated into Infospace's engine, the business numbers that Infospace supplies its users for local business will direct calls to Jambo, which will then redirect the calls to the local merchant. When merchants take the call, they will receive a branding message, which tells them that the lead was sent their way by Infospace.

Jambo also will follow up with merchants to offer them other services. One product that Jambo intends to make available is the opportunity to buy pay-per-call services at a flat, per-call rate based on the sector they're in, without any keyword auctions.

Jambo CEO John Melideo said the company hopes to make pay-per-call easier for local merchants. "There's a burden on the local merchants to be net-savvy. The burden's on them to go online, bid for keywords in a local or geographic reason, and manage that campaign," he said. He added that Jambo was in talks with other companies, and also had signed up local merchants.

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Kelsey Group analyst Greg Sterling said that simplifying pay-per-call should drive quicker adoption. "The idea of delivering a lead and then following up is, at least in theory, a good one," he said. "The advertiser sees the value of the product demonstrated and then has the opportunity to get more out of it." Sterling added that several other pay-per-call firms in the field also use branding messages after a lead is generated to promote their services, including JingleNetwork and thinkingVOICE.

Sterling predicted that pay-per-call ads will eventually be commonplace, and sold either bundled with or along side pay-per-call ads. "Calls are going to be just another form of advertising that you can buy, and they will be everywhere, either as call tracking as a support for a click product, or as a separate market where you can buy calls separate from clicks," he said. "All the major engines have evaluated or are evaluating what they want to do with call tracking--it's just a matter of time before it's more widely available."

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