Microsoft Buy Opens Pay-Per-Call Possibilities

With the acquisition of VoIP start-up Teleo on Wednesday, Microsoft has gained click-to-call dialing capabilities. The purchase raises the question of whether MSN’s adCenter will offer pay-per-call pricing.

Pay-per-call advertising, which has been implemented by players like Verizon SuperPages and America Online, is thought to be especially appealing to small business advertisers. These players may lack a Web site or be unable to assign value to a click, whereas a call represents a valuable lead.

MSN wouldn’t say whether it planned to add pay-per-call to its upcoming ad platform, but said it was one possible feature it could enable for its customers.

JupiterResearch analyst Gary Stein said a pay-per-call capability is one thing Microsoft gets from Teleo that it doesn’t already possess.

“That seems like the most interesting thing they got that they don’t already have,” he said. “I would imagine they would want to include that in the adCenter. Pay-per-click isn’t that attractive for local advertisers.”