Skype today announced a new business funded click-to-call product and a strategic partnership with European Directories that will turn online search for businesses into calls for businesses.
Skype's business funded click-to-call delivers great value and convenience by making it easier and free for consumers who are using Skype to call local businesses they search for anywhere on the internet. A call that is funded by a business will be highlighted with a blue "Free Call" button that appears anywhere online where a phone number is displayed, including search engines, internet yellow pages or local search sites. This automatic phone number recognition allows Skype's more than 480 million registered users to call a participating business for free. Calls that are not funded by a business can still be connected via Skype, but at a low cost charged to the Skype user.
The partnership between Skype and European Directories will offer consumers free calls to up to 700,000 businesses across Europe. Participating European Directories advertisers will have the opportunity to be highlighted with Skype's blue "Free Call" button anywhere their number appears on the internet.
"Partnering with European Directories is a key part of bringing our new business funded click-to-call product to market and providing advertisers with solutions that can help them connect with customers in new and innovative ways," said Don Albert, GM and VP of Americas and Advertising for Skype. "When a call is free and only one click away, we believe it can have a positive impact for a business because there are fewer barriers to start a call. That can result in more qualified leads, more engagement, and possibly a higher rate of conversion for a business."
"This partnership is a great example of our evolution from a print centric company to one truly focused on lead generation. By working with Skype, European Directories can now offer its advertisers leads from yet another source in addition to existing channels such as mobile applications, print publications, our own online search sites and those of our partners. The new Skype 'Free Call' button will turn search for businesses into calls and leads for businesses. It will make our advertisers stand out from competition everywhere on the internet, including in search engines," said Cornel Riklin, CEO of European Directories.
"Skype is in a unique position with more than 480 million global subscribers that use it to make free and cheap calls," said Michael Boland, Analyst and Program Director for BIA/Kelsey. "Working with European Directories to drive calls to its local advertisers is a natural extension, and a revenue diversification move that taps into the $31 billion global Yellow Pages market."
Skype's business funded click-to-call product requires a user to have the latest version of Skype for Windows 4.1 and the latest Skype browser plug-ins in order for the blue "Free Call" button to be displayed. To download Skype for Windows 4.1, visit http://www.skype.com/download/skype/windows/.