Google Nixes Click to Call

The image “http://www.google.com/images/google_sm.gif” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors.Several blogs, including Loren Baker at SEJ, are reporting that Google has discontinued its Maps “click to call” feature. Here’s a discussion group that confirms the move. Group members protest in response.

I asked Google for a comment, and haven’t received a response at this point (see below for response). Krillion said that 10% of its users were using the eStara-powered feature on its site (eStara was not behind Google C2C). But that was in the specific context of checking local store product inventory information.

There’s much debate about the utility and value of C2C out in the market. Windows Live Local still has the feature called “Call for Free.” Superpages used to offer it but apparently no longer does, while YellowPages.com still has the option. (Correction: I’m informed that it’s still present on the Superpages site, though not as prominent as it was.)

While most people do pick up the phone and call local businesses, my guess is that Google found the capability was underutilized and decided to discontinue it for that reason.

____

Addendum: What does this say about Google’s attitude toward PPCall? Maybe nothing, but maybe it says that the company is not going to roll out PPCall online after all — although it may well do so in mobile. Will be following up with them to see . . .

Google’s public statement: “Google is always working to improve the local search experience. We are constantly testing new features and iterating based on feedback from our users. Click-to-call was a valuable experiment that enabled us to learn more about the preferences of our users. While we are no longer providing this service, we expect to incorporate our findings into future developments for Google Maps.”

About these ads

5 Responses to “Google Nixes Click to Call”

  1. John Federman Says:

    A study eStara conducted last year of consumers using national IYP services found that 84 percent were more likely to call listings displaying a click to call button versus those that do not. This makes it an ideal up-sell feature for premium listings (as is still the case with Superpages.com). But that doesn’t mean it’s just a “nice to have” capability.

    Obviously, just from looking at the user responses on Google Groups, one can see that there’s value to click to call beyond it just being a “cool” feature. Since we were not working with them, we can’t speak to Google’s rationale for ending their own click to call experiment, but we can speak to our experience working with hundreds of enterprises around the globe that use click to call and are seeing tremendous results.

    However, companies that deploy click to call should be aware that not all solutions are created equal. In a local search application, click to call must be much more than just a proxy for a regular phone call. Companies must work with vendors that can geo-target callers to ensure local advertisers get the most relevant leads, route calls dynamically to guarantee no lead goes unanswered, prevent unwanted calls, and above all…scale to their needs. Additionally, truly robust click to call solutions offer data and real-time analytics that complement traditional Web analytics technology so that companies can track results across channels and deliver added-value to advertisers.

    The reality is that most local businesses are not armed (with either the technology or the personnel) to deal with digital (online) leads. They require integration to their preferred mode of contact – the telephone – in order for local search to be able to deliver real, actionable leads. This includes call tracking (both unique toll-free and local phone numbers), click to call and send to phone features.

    Ultimately, the true value of local search and directory listings to advertisers comes in being able to track leads and prove performance. Click to call is just one tool in the arsenal, publishers need to close the loop and provide a comprehensive suite of offerings that allow for measurement across channels.

  2. Superpages Video Launch Update « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] They said that it had “plateaued” after ramping “up to a point.” Google recently discontinued click to [...]

  3. Google Showing Renewed Interest in PPCall? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] Google Showing Renewed Interest in PPCall? Apparently Google is testing its click-to-call feature again for AdWords, which may be another run at PPCall. The company tested a click-to-call box in 2005 and 2006 but “nixed” it in mid-07. [...]

  4. Skype & YP for CtoCall and SEO? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] both discontinued using the feature in their respective directories. Google stopped using it less than 9 months after the test began. Though Google never directly answered my question “why,” one must infer that there [...]

  5. The Return of Click to Call? « Screenwerk Says:

    [...] At one time Google offered it as a feature to contact local businesses on Google Maps. But that was discontinued in 2007. Similarly the pre-Bing Windows Live Local also had “call for free” (C2C), which was [...]

Comments are closed.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 117 other followers

%d bloggers like this: