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Ingenio, Verizon Start Pay-Per-Call Services

Ingenio Inc. launched a platform yesterday that lets agencies, search optimization companies and other third-party firms manage Ingenio’s pay-per-call ad campaigns for their clients.

The San Francisco company debuted pay-per-call ad technology late last year within the Miva Network. In April, AOL was the first major search engine to serve Ingenio’s pay-per-call ads. Now, agencies and others can customize pay-per-call campaigns for their clients, using Ingenio’s new Application Programming Interface program.

Meanwhile, Verizon SuperPages.com debuted its pay-for-calls ad service at last week’s Search Engine Strategies 2005 show in San Jose, CA. Using its own technology, SuperPages’ print and online advertisers can choose to bid on pay for calls, which generates calls based on bidding for ads, like SuperPages’ pay-per-click model.

Advertisers bid $2, $4 or $6 per lead, depending on the category of their firm. Restaurants, for example, would pay $2 a lead while law firms would pay $6 a lead because those leads generate more dollars.

A dedicated toll-free or local telephone number appears in the ad and rings through to the advertiser’s regular phone line. Then, pay-for-calls ads are integrated with, and appear on, the same search results page as SuperPages.com’s pay-per-click ads.

Pay-for-calls advertisers also will have a chance to reach callers in Verizon’s print phone books, where generic category ads, such as “Need a Florist? Call this number,” will appear, then calls to that number will be forwarded to a local online advertiser — the highest bidder — in that category.

“This makes the static directory a dynamic advertising medium,” SuperPages.com president Scott Laver said.

Meanwhile, Ingenio executives said search engine optimization firms can use the company’s pay-per-call API to obtain new clients, such as certain service companies, that rely more on phone calls to generate business than clicks.

“It also allows them to cross-sell pay-per-call products to a subset of their existing clientele,” said Marc Barach, chief marketing officer at Ingenio.

Search firms and others can add their own creatives and reporting on top of Ingenio’s data.

“They could add their own reporting on top of ours and analyze what their client is doing by click and by call … or look at their entire customer base by click and by call in one report,” Barach said. “It allows them to do what they really do best, which is to optimize campaigns.”

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