Google inks click-call ad deal with eBay

Google Inc. has signed a deal to become the exclusive provider of text-based advertising for eBay Inc.’s Web sites outside of the U.S.

Under terms of the agreement announced Monday, Google and eBay will also work on interoperability between their “click to call” advertising services, they said. The technology allows users to click on an advertisement or a product listing on eBay and be connected to the seller via a VOIP (voice over Internet Protocol) call.

Specific terms of the multiyear deal weren’t disclosed, although parts of it involve revenue sharing, the companies said.

EBay signed a similar deal with Yahoo Inc. earlier this year. In that case, Yahoo became the exclusive provider of graphical ads for eBay’s U.S. Web site, and Yahoo and eBay also agreed to work together on click-to-call technologies.

In Google’s case, users will be able to connect with eBay merchants or Google advertisers using either Google Talk or eBay’s Skype service, the companies said. They’ll also “explore interoperability” between Skype and Google Talk to enable text chat and online presence, they said.

The companies won’t begin testing the text-based advertising and click-to-call initiatives until early 2007. They’ll be evaluated for several months, and the roll-out of specific components and timing will depend upon the test results and vary from region to region.

EBay has already started offering a click-to-talk service to its sellers using its own Skype service. It went live in the U.S. in June and is now available in other countries, including the U.K., said U.K. EBay spokesman James Gordon-MacIntosh.

eBay doesn’t expect the agreement to have a material impact on its financial results in 2006 or 2007, it said.

The Google tie-up marks the latest in the jostling to sign potentially lucrative advertising deals on the Web. Google signed another exclusive deal earlier this month, to provide search functionality and advertising to and other News Corp. Web sites. Microsoft Corp. followed last week with a less sought after deal to provide banner and text ads for Facebook, a social networking Web site.

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