Ingenio Touts Pay-Per-Call at ad:tech

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CHICAGO -- Ingenio Inc. has an alternative to pay-per-click search advertising that targets companies with no e-commerce platform on their Web sites. That's its message to prospects at ad:tech Chicago.

The San Francisco company works with search engines and online directories to provide advertising that redirects online leads to call centers. It charges clients on a pay-per-call basis.

"There are no associated fees other than the call itself," said Marc Barach, Ingenio's chief marketing officer. "You only pay after [the ad] works."

Advertisers bid within a business category for a top listing in Ingenio's network of online, free 411 and mobile directories. Entries appear in a sponsored list category or, in the case of the free 411 service, as a 15-second audio commercial that redirects customers to a call center.

Clients can choose to appear only for specific geographic locations or only at times when call centers are open.

The phone lead lets Ingenio track each call and show marketers the number of collected leads, and from there it can track sales rates. The company has 10,000 advertisers using the service.

Mr. Barach said that pay per call would grow as an alternative to pay per click. Verizon, for example, has developed a pay-per-call service within its own directory.

Ingenio ads run on AOL and Microsoft search engines. The company is also expanding into newer forms of media such cell phones and podcasts.

"Desktop search is where advertising is today, but mobile search is where it is going," Mr. Barach said.

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