If You Have Any Ideas On How Skype Can Make Money, Please Skype eBay

from the calling-for-cash dept

We pointed out back in April that Skype's financial performance didn't look like it would be strong enough to meet some performance metrics to trigger some of the $1.5 billion in earn-outs that were part of its deal with eBay. Now, there's speculation that those goals were indeed missed, amid further questions about just how eBay will monetize Skype. eBay's strategy for Skype has never been clear, and many of the things it touted in the deal -- like the ability for eBay sellers to put a Skype link in their listings, so potential buyers could easily call them -- haven't paid off. While sales are expected to have tripled in 2006 to $195 million, that's still not enough of a money-spinner to validate the billions eBay dropped for the company. Skype faces a big challenge in converting users of its free services into paying customers, but its strategy remains questionable. An exec says that they're focusing on adding content and e-commerce into the mix with things like ringtones and multi-user chats about certain topics called Skypecasts, but it seems like Skype's missing out on some markets that could prove more lucrative. For instance, Skype could be a valuable tool for many businesses, particularly small ones, but its efforts to target this market have been pretty paltry, and it seems to do very little marketing to bolster awareness of its services as business tools. Few of the oft-hyped "synergies" have failed to materialize, though further integration of Skype and PayPal could boost the latter's transfer volume. Overall, eBay's strategy to build Skype's business remains as unclear today as it was when they said they were buying it.
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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2007 @ 4:15pm

    How about a Skype in # I can use?

    They still don't have any numbers in my area code, so they are effectively useless to me.

    Or, how about an 800 service for Biz?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Rick, 11 Jan 2007 @ 4:20pm

    Look at your service.

    Skype is 'almost' VOIP - in fact it acts just like VOIP without 911. Sell that and profit.

    I've been using Skype in place of my land line service for almost a year now. I spent $60 for a USB adapter so I could hook my favorite Panasonic cordless phone with the service. I then bought a year worth of SkypeIn, which gave me a local incoming phone number that anyone can call me with, for $39 a year. This month I added SkypeOut for $15 a year, so I can call anyone in North America free. My total costs came to $114 for a full year of unlimited local and long distance calling, plus all the incoming calls I can get as well. That's about $9 a month for phone service.

    AT&T CallVantage or Vonage charge $25 a month for the same thing. That does include 911 service though - but is that worth an extra $16 a month? Especially since my cell phone handles 911 just fine if I need it.

    If Skype would market themselves a little differently, they could easily pick up 5-10 million new users, who pay. My suggestions:

    1. Offer a self install package.
    A $99 or $129 per year package, that includes the equipment to use your home phone, would go over very well - for the technically literate.

    2. Offer an installed package.
    Charge $199 for those who need a little help getting it started or installed.

    If customer service or technical support is what scares them - charge for it or offer online public forums so users can help each other. They will, to save a few dollars.

    Land Lines are a thing of the past. They need companies like Skype to proove that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    • identicon
      hi, 11 Jan 2007 @ 4:31pm

      Re: Look at your service.

      when I heard of skype for cell phones, I was stoked. Here is what I thought I would do.

      Switch to a Cell phone plan with the lowest minutes.
      Buy unlimited Data transfer
      and just use skype to make calls.

      but it doesn't work that way, so I forgot about skype.

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2007 @ 4:35pm

    Looking at the long term investment?

    I'm not going to pretend to know the ins and outs of Skype's technology. The fact is DSL is all I have available in my area so I'm stuck with paying for the POTS line if I want a broadband connection.
    It does seem to me that Skype could turn very lucrative if public access broadband wireless becomes a reality. This would leave skype in the position of providing a "cellular like" service anywhere in most major metropolitan cities.
    I'm sure there would be a couple of hurdles to overcome along the way, but it seems like this is the inevitable conclusion for this technology.
    Of course, that would mean someone bet big on public access broadband wireless. *shrug*

    PS - I'm sure apple will try something similar with the iPhone but it will ultimately fail when they try to embed DRM into our phone calls

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    misanthrpic humanist, 11 Jan 2007 @ 4:40pm

    extra connectivity services

    Don't they still sell three premium services, skype-in, skype-out and skype voicemail? Without the connectivity to POTS that always seemed
    like the income generator to me. Why aren't they leveraging that properly?

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Brad, 11 Jan 2007 @ 5:43pm

    Cellular vs Free WiFi

    Here is how I see it:

    * cellular phones are expensive
    * Skype is nearly free
    * Free WiFi networks are expanding rapidly
    * WiFi/Skype phones are becoming more reliable

    I've purchase 2 Belkin WiFi /Skype phones. The voice quality on most networks is as good as cellular. Aside from the limited network rang of WiFi (you pretty much have to stay in one location to talk) and the Skype connection slowness the WiFi-Skype phones are an excellent solution. Savings = $40/mo - $3.33/mo. = $6.66 . Thats about 90% of cellular and an excellent value proposition.

    If I were the man behind the curtain I'd be looking to replace those expensive cellular devices .

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 11 Jan 2007 @ 7:26pm

    I still son't see why people pay for the Skype service when you can get SIP/IAX service for even cheaper. Plus, you can build your own VOIP server (running Asterisk of course) and handle your own voicemail. You can hook up cordless and/or wired phones, add extensions throughout your home, even get WiFi SIP phones. Plus, it's an open standard too, something Skype is not....

    I replaced my landline with my cell phone. I don't use a ton of my minutes, and when I start getting close, the ol' SIP phone comes in really handy. And with services like IPKall.com providing free incoming numbers so people can call you from land lines (360 area code, but who cares), I couldn't afford not to do it! Total investment so far, $30 and I'm going strong for 2 years.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Tarky7, 11 Jan 2007 @ 9:02pm

    encrypted chat

    In my industry Skype encrypted chat is the best thing since sliced bread. I have bought all Skype's services so far because I want to continue to support Skype in any way possible.

    The idea of VoiP on cell phone and PDAs is the future. My friend just bought a Nokia E70 from the UK (he lives in NYC, ordered in over the web and had it shipped) with a T Mobile account UK and the True Phone service and is able to make VioP calls now over WiFi networks and call all over the world paying only for a 900 minute plan.

    This is a real category killer for the wireless telcos based in the US, and they seem to be doing everything possible to stop this from being a widespread event, but it is only a matter of time.

    The writing is on the wall and I believe Skype will succeed int the long run.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, 12 Jan 2007 @ 3:45pm

    closed, proprietary dead-end

    Skype uses proprietary protocols, with undisclosed security systems of dubious value. People who put too much faith in Skype obviously haven't learned the lesson of the Microsoft monopoly: give a single company that much power over you, and you will be disappointed.

    There is an open standard protocol for IP telephony: it's called SIP. And there are loads of different implementations of that, both hardware and software. And of course there's the open-source Asterisk with its IAX2 that also has wide hardware and software support. If you're going to put your trust in something, put it in a broad ecosystem like this, where no single company has the power to dominate the market, or to bring it down by going bust.

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    online auctions, 10 Feb 2007 @ 11:41am


    Yes, after all, it appears that eBay overpaid the Skype. With this pace it will take them 8 to 10 years to get a return on investment. That is a very long time...

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  • identicon
    sharon clarke, 13 Apr 2008 @ 10:07pm

    An idea,how to make money on skype

    My idea for making money on skype is to use the network marketing system and sign up every single person who has high speed internet on their computer. Get them using the service.The more people we signed up to use the service,the more we should get paid.We should also make more money each time those customers or members we signed up buy skype credit.

    I personlly would target the people who make international calls and have them give me their families email address and connect them,If I have to go to their home to get them started.
    The more people we get using the service,the more I should get paid and we should also make more money when skype users buy skype credit.
    I think this is a great idea.

    Sharon Clarke

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

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