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Google, eBay Form Click-to-Call Alliance

Google's competitors can't stop partnering with it. eBay, which recently saw its PayPal unit receive a direct challenge from Google's new online payment service, Google Checkout, has now partnered with the search giant once again. The newest arrangement promises to introduce "click to call" Web site technology across eBay's sites. Potential buyers will be able to phone merchants by clicking on text ads that appear on eBay's pages. Says Meg Whitman, eBay's chief executive: "We have a chance to create a whole new way for buyers and sellers to connect online and to create what we hope will be a significant revenue stream for both eBay and Google." Both Google Talk and Skype, the voiceover Internet Protocol company eBay purchased last year, will be the technologies used in the service. Further details of the partnership were not included. Why did eBay decide to bring in Google's technology to help implement pay-per-call ads? It already has Skype, one of the most important VoIP providers on the Web. It's more a matter of Google's ad technology and its massive advertiser base. Google merchant listings will now appear on eBay--just as they would on Google. More potential advertisers, higher bids, relevant ads. Google will benefit from having Skype, too, which is a superior VoIP technology. Once again, if you can't beat 'em, you gotta join 'em. One wonders how long eBay can keep doing that.

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