Seems that everyone's jumping on the VoIP bandwagon these days. Yahoo buys Dialpad. eBay buys Skype. Now, according to the IAB SmartBrief, "America Online announced it would launch its TotalTalk VoIP service, the successor to AOL Internet Phone, on Oct. 4" and "Microsoft and Qwest Communications said that beginning next year they will market VoIP service to small- and medium-sized businesses."
All part of the pay-per-call trend? You have to assume. VoIP normally wouldn't even be considered as part of my blog subject material, but when Google, Yahoo!, MSN and even eBay all jump on a trend, you've gotta figure there's going to be a marketing opp in there somewhere. These guys don't do anything unless it presents enormous income potential...
As I hinted earlier, this is a pay-per-call model that could be the “VoIP” play for Google. A lot of start-ups have already started mucking around with it. The leader in this space is Ingenio, which has a deal with AOL. The pay-per-call results typically make more money for sites that use pay-per-call model, and this includes various publications and portals. Another start-up that has jumped into the fray is Insider Pages, an Idea Lab company. Jupiter’s Gary Stein has some thoughts on this trend, as he tries to come-up with reasons for why Microsoft bought Teleo.
We know that local merchants would rather pay for a call than a click; having pay-per-call as a product is pretty much a must for anyone looking to get into the local directory business.
I guess, as Voice-over-IM tries to find its footing, the first application that becomes popular is this “pay for call” feature. Yannick sums it up nicely when he writes:
So could all the talk about Google’s VoIP plans really be all about extending its advertising franchise into pay-per-call, rather than offering plain old consumer minutes, a la everyone else?
An obvious, simple and practical observation!
Obviously, this post was made prior to the eBay-Skype deal, when Google announced plans to go vocal...but it does gives some insight into the trend.
Update: Here's another take from Andy Beal on Google's move to the audible web.