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But, it sure sticks in my craw whenever I see one on my own sites, it feels like the advertiser is cheating, and even if it doesn't, in reality, hurt us, I don't think the big G should allow it.
Then again, there's lots of things they shouldn't allow, but they do...
It is a blatant attempt to get business without paying for the click. Simple as.
For some maybe it is an attempt. I have worked with AdWords ads with phone numbers in them and they have a higher click through rate than other ads. Not by a lot, but it seems consistant.
As a seller you may think you might get something for free. As an AdSense advertiser, you may think you are giving something away for free.
But as a shopper looking on the internet - would you EVER pick up the phone without clicking an internet link first? I know I wouldn't.
Sending traffic to an affiliate via CPA ads and then finding that the affiliate manager has changed the landing page to make it near impossible to do anything but call the company is a cheap tactic. It denies you registering a completed sale despite having completed the requirements.
What does clicking the link tell you? Anyone can put up a website. Boiler rooms make millions every year doing so from those taken in by a "glossy" website.
Would I EVER phone without clicking? Of course I would. And plenty of others would too.