Ma Bell Strikes Back

Recently I wrote an article titled Ma Google which discussed how Google needs to do anything – everything it can to have a direct pipe to customers so they can bypass service providers who could block their access.
Now it is AT&T which is gearing up to take on Google head on. How you ask? By acquiring Ingenio the pay-per-call advertising company. Initially AT&T will integrate the service into its directory assistance products but it is easy to see how the company could try to build a huge advertising network similar to what Google has done with Adwords.
Just think about how many businesses AT&T already has as customers. Over time this network could be evolved into pay-per-click as well.
Currently Ingenio has a number of advertiser partners such as AOL and infospace. It is not tough to imagine the company adding Yahoo! and MSN to this network over time.
Now it’s Google’s turn… I wonder what they will hit the service providers with next. What do you think?

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