EBay, Google Forge Ad Alliance

BOSTON Google and eBay have strengthened their hands in the Internet advertising marketplace, forging an alliance through which Google will sell international text-based ads for eBay. The companies will also facilitate phone communications between consumers and online merchants via “click-to-call” functionality.

“People continue to evolve how they shop, communicate and advertise online. By combining the power of eBay in e-commerce and Skype in communications with Google’s leadership in search and advertising, we can increase the usefulness of the Internet for shoppers, merchants and advertisers around the world,” said Meg Whitman, eBay CEO and president, in a statement. (Skype is eBay’s voice-over-Internet-protocol capability; Google’s is known as Google Talk.)

According to Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, “Our technologies will allow us to connect users to relevant advertising across eBay’s international properties. By working together to promote click-to-call functionality through Google Talk and Skype, we are offering advertisers another innovative way to connect with customers.”

Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Click-to-call will allow users to click on ad-supported links or icons to initiate an Internet voice call to participating eBay merchants or Google advertisers directly from either site.

The companies plan to begin testing the text-based advertising and click-to-call initiatives early next year. Specific components and the timing of implementation will depend upon test results and vary by market.

The text-based initiative will not apply to U.S. ads, as eBay in May inked a deal with Yahoo that covers domestic advertising.