September 30, 2004, 12:00 AM

Dial, don’t click

Internet marketing company is adding a pay-per-call option to its pay-per-click services.

If you don`t have a web site, are you shut out of immediate-response, online advertising? Not if can help it. is adding a pay-per-call option that inserts marketers` phone numbers into search marketing results. Rather than have retailers pay whenever consumers click on an ad, retailers pay when consumers call to inquire about the product. "Our research shows the value of a call is much greater because the customer who calls in is typically closer to the buying decision," says a spokeswoman. "Also, the company has the advantage of having an experienced sales rep right there on the phone with them to promote the products."

While he won`t reveal customers` names, Rick Szatkowski, senior vice president and general manager of the Network and Private Label Division, says the new offering has had strong interest from a wide range of providers of goods and services, including painting contractors, furriers, flooring contractors, relocation companies, and even a bee supply company. "It is a broader spectrum of advertisers than what we see in the click world," he says.

Because the value of having an interested buyer on the phone is perceived to be greater than someone who has simply clicked on an ad, the cost of the pay-per-call model will be higher. Advertisers who pay for calls will start with a minimum $2 per lead bid while pay-per-click has a 5-cent minimum. Customers will call in on special 800-numbers.

"The market potential for attracting offline advertisers to pay-per-call is enticing, especially since there is no need on their part to develop a web site," Szatkowski says. "In the U.S. alone there are approximately 14 million small to mid-sized businesses, 98% of which we believe are not currently able to take advantage of pay-per-click advertising."

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