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Skype hits prime time

Posted by Michael Bloch in ecommerce (Thursday March 8, 2007 )

Skype Prime, announced yesterday, is a new feature that allows consultants to charge clients for Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls; either by the minute or per call.

Currently in beta, when a person calls a Skype Prime consultant, the call starts as free, but then can be changed to a paid call once a fee has been negotiated and the client agrees to the terms. The clients’ Skype account is debited for the call and fees earned by consultants are then paid via PayPal.

I haven’t given it a whirl as yet, but Skype Journal has a great walk-through on the service and its current limitations. Darren from ProBlogger points out that Skype retain 30% of the fee a consultant charges which is fairly hefty in my opinion, especially when you factor in PayPal’s charges on top of that – these costs definitely need to be factored in when deciding on your rates.

Skype Prime Time currently only works between users who are running v3.1.0.134. I do believe that the service will do very well once a few of the kinks such as Skype Journal raises are worked out and Prime becomes part of their general production releases; but Skype do need to consider dropping their cut a bit to speed up adoption.

Skype has also announced they’ve topped half a billion downloads of their software to date and are currently averaging over six downloads a second. With 170 million active users, they’ve certainly got a sizeable captive market to promote Skype Prime to, especially given the number of business users in their ranks. I’ve been using Skype for quite some time now and it’s certainly saved me a packet in phone charges, much to my Telco’s displeasure :).

If you’d like to try Skype 3.1 beta; which contains the Prime feature, you can download it here.


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