Charlene Li has a very interesting write-up on Verizon’s Pay For Call (PFC) offering. Of particular interest:
– Provisioning of local vs. toll-free numbers; the devil’s in the details, and some smart product manager somewhere figured out that offering local businesses a phone number with a local exchange makes a lot of sense (nice!). OTOH, there are local businesses that one might call remotely (e.g., a florist in the town that I want flowers delivered to, stadiums/arenas, etc) that should consider toll-free vs. local carefully.
– Verizon plans to create generic category ads (e.g., “Taxi”), that redirects calls to the current high-PFC-bidder, from, and this is key, a single, unchanging number. As with Charlene, it’s a big question in my mind if consumers will call a generic number… but the notion of re-intermediating your own marketplace is facinating…
– Verizon’s getting into the arbitrage biz, buying clicks on Google to flow traffic at its PFC customers. This is fine so long as you don’t mind sharing revenue with Google, but eventually you need a healthy portion of these people coming to you for free (SEO) or, better yet, directly. (Working at a search start-up, I undersand this in practice and principal.)
All in all, it looks like they’re thinking and innovating, good signs indeed. Now where’s the kick ass mapping?