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Google, eBay form ad sales alliance

SAN FRANCISCO -- In a deal between two of the Internet's most prominent players, Google will begin selling advertising for eBay outside the United States and help buyers quickly ring an online merchant to do business.

The arrangement disclosed yesterday promises to introduce ``click-to-call" website technology to a broader audience . It will allow potential buyers to call eBay merchants or Google advertisers by clicking a link on a Web page.

Under the partnership, Google will become the exclusive provider of text advertising on eBay outside the United States. In May, eBay disclosed a deal with the number two Internet search engine, Yahoo Inc., to serve all its domestic advertising.

The click-to-call component of the alliance calls for the two Silicon Valley companies to work together on developing a service that lets Web surfers place telephone calls through their computers or handheld devices when they click on a link in an Internet ad.

Its advocates, including some merchants who have tried it, say customers who call are ready to buy and aren't just browsing the Internet; thus, search engines can charge more -- $2 to $10 or more per call, compared with less than $1 per click with traditional search ads.

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