The promise of Local Search is yet to flower. But the pay-per-call search advertising solution may be just what the doctor ordered.

The pay-per-call advertising model is designed for small and local businesses as well as firms that sell a "high-touch" product or service that can benefit from personal contact. Advertisers bid for phone call leads starting at $2.00 and up. Services offer geographic targeting and provide a dedicated toll-free number in the text ad, which is also used for tracking and billing. Once dialed, the phone rings through to the business' regular phone line. The service also provides a business-information landing page for companies that do not have a website.

Pay-per-call is a fairly simple solution compared to the complexity of pay-per-click. Many small merchants have not been able to use pay-per-click advertising, either because they don't have a website or because the pay-per-click bid management tools are just too much to handle. With pay-per-call, these merchants can now tap into the power of the Internet and receive targeted phone leads from customers in their area.

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