Jan 162008

AT&T Shies Away from Adult Chat Unit

LOS ANGELES – In its acquisition last November of privately held pay-per-call, search and directory solutions provider Ingenio, AT&T received an unwanted bonus; control of the NiteFlirt phone sex and Keen psychic hotline services.

“Ingenio’s technology and products deliver an innovative approach for lead generation and help advertisers efficiently place themselves in front of consumers who are ready to act,” Mark Britto, president and CEO of Ingenio, said. “Combining Ingenio’s capabilities with AT&T’s resources and YellowPages.com’s strong reach and brand is great news for advertisers and creates a foundation to expand this business.”

One area of its business that may not see any expansion is its adult offerings.

According to an AT&T spokesperson, however, the company is not interested in adult operations.

“We are acquiring the pay-per-call and earn-per-call portions, but we are not acquiring the adult portion because it is simply not consistent with our brand,” the spokesperson said.

The Ingenio acquisition was intended as a means to bolster online productivity for traditional print-based Yellow Pages advertisers who may not have their own website, by implementing unique phone numbers for advertisers that allow for efficacy tracking and performance-based pay-per-call billing.

“As advertisers add performance-based advertising to their marketing mix, this investment makes sense for our business,” Ray Wilkins, AT&T group president for diversified business said. “Ingenio’s technology will allow AT&T to expand our robust service portfolio for print, online and mobile advertisers, and that will further differentiate us from our competitors.”

AT&T also expanded its mobile search offerings to include a new online application for iPhone users; along with downloadable, localized search tools that will incorporate the company’s Yellow Pages listings.

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