Skype 3.0 And No More Free North American Lunch

by Bruce Stewart

Skype did always maintain that the free North American calling promotion would go away at the end of this year, and they've now made it official. Skype 3.0 for Windows has gone gold today along with the news that starting in January it will cost $29.95/year for outbound (Skype Out) calling to the U.S. and Canada. There is a $14.95/year introductory rate for those who sign up for the plan during the first month.

$30 a year pretty drastically undercuts most other comparable calling plans, but it's a whole lot more than free and it can be difficult to get people to change their habits and start paying for something they've gotten used to getting for no cost. Especially with the inconsistent and sometimes extremely poor quality that many (including myself) experience with Skype Out calls to the PSTN, this may put a dent in their North American usage. The change is being hailed by some as a welcome move towards a business model that might actually generate some real revenue though. IP Democracy points out:

The $29.95/year charge is slightly noteworthy because it reflects the first viable attempt by Skype to start generating serious mass-market revenues since the VoIP pioneer was purchased by eBay in October 2005 for $2.5 billion, a figure scoffed at by some industry experts as exhorbitant. Now, at least, eBay is on the road to getting a reasonable payback from Skype.


Alon Cohen
2006-12-14 05:48:23


Launch of Skype 3.0 to Include the "Trusted Advice from Real People" Service

TENAFLY, NEW JERSEY AND LONDON - December 14, 2006 - BitWine Inc., the online provider of 'Trusted Advice from Real People," announced that it has been selected by Skype, the Internet communication company, to be included in the new Skype 3.0, to be released today. With the new BitWine Extra, Skype users not only have enhanced audio and video capabilities, but also the ability to personally charge or pay for their time while using rich media calls.

The "BitWine Taskbar Skype Edition" is fully integrated into Skype 3.0, which allows users to provide paid advice or instantly purchase the advice or knowledge urgently needed using Skype and PayPal.

"We followed bloggers and answer leaders on different forums, and a recurring theme was the desire of skilled, knowledgeable individuals to be able to charge for the advice that they had been dispensing for free," stated Alon Cohen, BitWine's co-founder. "By combining the power of Skype's rich media audio and video communications, we can now open our service beyond dispensing advice to a whole set of diverse rich media services ranging from music lessons to language tutoring to securing a second opinion on legal and medical issues."

BitWine's features are designed to promote instant trust between the service purchaser and supplier. The buyer does not have to prepay for service. Both parties can hear and see each other, and the buyer only pays if he feels comfortable with the interaction. Using the patent-pending payment system on the BitWine Taskbar, Skype users will now be able to securely pay and receive instant checks. In addition BitWine offers an interface for bloggers to invite readers to call them for personal discussions that can be converted to revenue in real time. BitWine's service also provides scheduling for optimal time management and a highly developed feedback and ranking system.

"The launch of Skype 3.0 provides an exciting portfolio of selected applications" said Paul Amery, Skype Director of Developer Programs. "We have been working to enable Skype as a distribution platform for third party add-ons. Applications such as BitWine Extra that use both Skype and PayPalTM are important in enabling end users to generate revenue while further integrating Skype into their day-to-day work or life. "This is an outstanding opportunity to present our service to an audience that is already sophisticated enough to appreciate Skype's many advantages," concludes Cohen. "We are very pleased that Skype shares our vision of bringing people together for their mutual benefit in this way."

About BitWine
BitWine connects skilled individuals from a wide range of fields with the people seeking to learn from them. Operated by a team of professionals who are committed to the philosophy that each one of us possesses talents that can be shared in a mutually beneficial way, BitWine facilitates the mutual enrichment of both partners in the helping relationship. BitWine is a privately held company with headquarters in Tenafly, New Jersey.

"Skype and PayPal are eBay companies (NASDAQ: EBAY)."

BitWine Taskbar, BitWine and the BitWine logo are trademarks of BitWine Inc. All other trademarks are property of their respective holders.

For more information, please visit or contact us at .

M. David Peterson
2006-12-14 12:14:04
Hey Bruce,

While I agree it will most definitely put a dent in the usage, I'm glad to see the trend that it's okay to charge for services rendered beginning to make its way into the market. In fact, it would seem logical to assume that charging for the service will not only bring in revenue but also immediately increase the quality of each call due to the fact that less demand is being placed on the system. Of course, logic would then follow that with revenue they will be enabled to increase the networks capacity which, of course, should mean the ability to maintain an expected level of service quality which, following the same logic stream, would mean at the reduced rate of $29.95 for outbound calls would lure more people into paying to use the service.

Of course to get from point A to point Z requires that they don't first get eaten alive by a mass defection of their current customer base base, as well as a "see, I told you so!" attack from the press.

Guess time will tell...

2006-12-15 13:32:19
fuck skype i won't never pay penny for it