Skype (owned by eBay) has partnered with several local directories to allow localized search through their toolbar.
The countries available are:
While this is mostly European, it does have some very interesting applications in the future of Pay Per Call:
Have you tried the toolbar on our local search partnersï¿½ websites? If you do, youï¿½ll notice that the telephone numbers on their sites arenï¿½t just highlighted ï¿½ theyï¿½re transformed into call buttons.
Source is now offline and non-linkable.
Is Skype and eBay testing out the possibilities of pay per call?
Are they just trying to give additional features to users?
Are they ‘enhancing’ the user experience with eBay and Skype products to maintain loyalty?
Does the toolbar collect other information about users (maybe for more targeted eBay ads)?
All of these questions are just speculation at present, however, eBay paid 2.6 billion for Skype and stockholders will want to see a return on those dollars.
With rumors surrounding Google Talk and Google PPCall; rumors of Yahoo testing PPCall; rumors of more instant messengers becoming VOIP friendly; and of course, Google Base as a possible competitor – eBay must stay on top of the constantly changing internet climate with new offers.
I suspect this is just the first of several announcements eBay and Skype will make towards the local marketing arena. Local auctions, local shopping, local phone numbers, call capability, and local search – it seems eBay is looking to test its foray into the local marketing arena – which will only grow over time.
If this is a success (even very moderately), expect USA and Canada to be added in the short term.
The longer term vision I can see eBay and Skype having is a more seamless user experience. Local search with the toolbar (i.e. replace phone books). Call with Skype (i.e. replace telephones). Bring a seamless local search user experience to the web. This may very well be the wave of the future, and it’s being brought to us by eBay.
Who will eBay compete with? It’s difficult to say. It could be they aren’t seeing it as competition and just leading the web in new features.
The VOIP arena is heating up between Vonage, Skype, and local cable providers such as RCN. Skype’s new local search addition makes them a clear leader in this area – for now.