≡ Menu

Google Talk Business Model

There has been an ongoing dialog (see Om Malik’s Guessing Google’s VoIP Plan, for instance) in the blogosphere on Google Talk’s business model (and Microsoft’s for their new Teleo acquisition).  The current favorite theory is that it will be a pay-per-call system attached to search.  Click-to-call enabled advertisements — a replacement for the yellow pages.  Aswath Rao points out that Skype already has this capability, and states that there is no money in this model.  Indeed, Stuart Henshall over on the Skype Journal recommends that every business get a Skype ID, and use call forwarding to forward the incoming call to various people in the office — the VoIP equivalent of an in-bound 800 number customer service center.

I’m not sure I believe, as Aswath does, that there is no money in pay-per-click advertising linked to pay-per-call VoIP.  It seems logical to me that:

  1. A click through / call through event would be more valuable to an advertiser than a simple click through.  Advertisers might be willing to pay a premium for this.
  2. Mobile click through / call through might be even more valuable.  "I’d like to eat at a chinese restaurant.  Can you help me make a reservation?"
  3. Advertisers might also be willing to pick up the cost of the PSTN leg, if they’re not already VoIP enabled, allowing Google to perhaps build a PSTN interconnect network on the backs of their advertisers, and maybe even provide free PSTN interconnect to Google Talk customers.

Anything’s possible.

{ 3 comments… add one }

  • Bradley September 5, 2005, 6:08 pm

    Interesting idea. I'm sure Google has some surprises waiting.

  • Aswath September 5, 2005, 7:20 pm

    I was sloppy in my posting. In another place I wrote what I should have written in my post as well: PPCall is NO MORE lucrative than PPclick. If Google thinks otherwise, then technology is available to use PPClick to set up a call. That is true in scenarios 1 and 2 that you describe. If voice is indeed just an application, why would "Advertisers [] be willing to pay a premium for this"?

  • Alec September 6, 2005, 2:49 am

    I agree that technology exists to set up PPClick/PPCall calls without paying Google a bounty of any kind. Indeed, you can set up click through ads without paying Google a bounty. Just put any of dozens of rotators on your website, and start serving up banners.

    In that case, the burden of administering the advertising server, measuring the effectiveness of the ads, and selling the ads, falls on the owner of the website. But obviously there is a business doing this — that's what Google does.

    So, the application isn't voice. It's more effective advertising, with all that entails, including measurement.

Leave a Comment