MSN mobile search tool to list clickable ads

Advertisements on Windows Live Search for Mobile to make use of a service from AOL partner Ingenio.

Marguerite Reardon Former senior reporter
Marguerite Reardon started as a CNET News reporter in 2004, covering cellphone services, broadband, citywide Wi-Fi, the Net neutrality debate and the consolidation of the phone companies.
Marguerite Reardon
2 min read
Microsoft plans to place advertising on MSN's Windows Live Search for Mobile service that will let users click on an advertisement to place a call for more information.

The software powerhouse said Monday is partnering with San Francisco-based Ingenio to provide the embedded ads when mobile search requests are performed with Windows Live Search. An ad will be placed above the regular search results when mobile phone users are searching with Windows Live Search. Then users can click on the advertisement and make a phone call directly to whoever is advertising--restaurant, store, service provider and so on.

The database and technology used to serve the advertisements comes from Ingenio. Searching is free for users, but the company charges advertisers for calls that mobile users make when they click on a particular ad. Advertisers vie for the top spot in the list in an online auction, much as in other paid advertising models on regular online search sites, such as Google.

Ingenio has a similar deal with AOL, which has been using the service and technology since 2005 as part of its own mobile search offering.

Combining these types of click-to-call advertisements with mobile search makes sense because many people are likely using their mobile phones to search for local information they'll use immediately, like finding the address and phone number of a nearby restaurant. Adding advertisements to the mobile search is expected to generate new revenue for mobile operators and search companies offering the service.

Search on mobile handsets is heating up, as big names such as Yahoo and Google launch new services. Last week, Yahoo said it would add advertising to its mobile search tool in the United States and the United Kingdom, including the click-to-call advertisements.