Update: As many of our readers have pointed out in the comments, it appears that the Click to Call feature is quite common among Indian websites, with sites like AskLaila, TimesCity, AskMe.in, all proving a free call to consumers, connecting local businesses and potential customers. It is clearly a cost factor for the websites, but with so many websites providing the service, I wonder if it remains something that businesses will pay to enable.
Meanwhile, Rediff informs us that the advertiser does receive the callers number via SMS. I didn’t notice any explicit warning or disclosure telling me that my number will be provided to the business if I use the click-to-call feature.
April 12th 2010: Rediff.com has introduced a click-to-call feature on its local information service Rediff Local Search (not LocalAds?) that allows users to call up businesses for free, via the Internet. Try one out here. Confirming the development, a Rediff spokesperson told MediaNama that Click to Call is being provided free of charge to classifieds users. I chanced upon Click to Call feature while checking the Intrasoft stock page at Rediff Money. It’s worth noting that, after Rediff’s redesign, the Click To Call service works via both Internet and Mobile.
Click to Call is a format that was first introduced in India two-three years ago by Google, and from what we’re told, it was pulled because of massive misuse, with users playing pranks by entering someone else’s number. Rediff’s Click To Call has an additional step to prevent misuse: users who enter their mobile number receive an SMS (from TM-57333) with a code, which they have to enter online.
Once the code is entered online, you receive a call, connecting the advertiser with the potential customer. I received a call from +912656698880, but there was no answer. Almost immediately after, Rediff sent across the advertisers number to me via SMS.
The one thing that would worry me, is whether my contact details are also shared with the advertiser. We’ve asked Rediff for a clarification. As we’ve reported in the past, that was (is?) a source of monetization for Just Dial’s call-in services, wherein they pass on the leads advertisers.
Rediff LocalAds, according to Rediff, has alliances with companies such as Yulop.com, Infomedia18, BookMyShow.com, Upto75.com, 100Floors, among others. The Infomedia18 tie-up is unexpected, since it owns competing listings site AskMe.in, which also has a click to call feature.
P.s.: I don’t quite understand the rationale behind listing a Shadow Puppet Workshop as a consumer durable.