So starting January 1st 2007 (or I should say ending December 31st 2006) Skype will no longer have the free outgoing calling features they have allowed over the past few months. Skype is now offering a similar service with unlimited outgoing calling for $14.95 per year to the U.S. and Canada only. This does not include Skype In service which allows for your own phone number + voice mail.

The goal of this promotion was clearly to get people using the Skype service and comfortable with the free calling feature, only to convert these users to paying customers in the new year. I know many people that used the service over the past 3-6 months and I have received many Skype calls from friends with the typical +000986357 crazy caller id phone number. I have begun asking over the past few weeks who if any of them will be purchasing the unlimited outgoing service next year; to my surprise none have said yes.

This marketing promotion I am sure worked to boost Skype’s user base, but it is unclear whether this will work to convert the mass free users into paying subscribers. I like the model and I feel that it is a valid and cheap deal compared to what is out there now, but it still does not easily cover all your computer calling needs. I personally recently needed a new phone number and considered Skype in my choices but soon found it was a poor option. The Skype In + Skype Out option just did not fulfill my needs and relying on a computer for all phone needs was also out of the question.

For mobile warriors in 2007 there are now more choices than ever to handle free calling like the Gizmo Project. Most services also have paid options that may work better for some users that are already on the messenger services to begin with like Yahoo messenger and AIM phone line where you actually get a free incoming number in your area (including 212 by the way at the time of my signup). Others are new services like Wengo.

Although the real usage may never be disclosed by Ebay and Skype we may be able to see the success or failure of the new paid service by how or if they alter their offering in the new year. I for one will no longer be a user – its just to easy to use another free option out there.

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[tags] skype, voip, gizmo project, 2007, marketing.fm, marketing, ebay [/tags]

One response to “The Great Skype Conversion of 2007 (or so they hope)”

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    Anonymous

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