Why eBay Bought Skype

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There are a few thoughts, as you can well imagine, floating around today on why eBay bought Skype. Some are truly insane, but some are pretty interesting i think.

Dan Gillmor thinks it's all about having customers presense online. He raises some good points about the closed doors on Skype's crypto, and subsequent privacy issues aswell.

Dana thinks it's simply proof of the 2005 internet bubble. Maybe he's having a bad day, there's way more to it that THAT.

Ross thinks it's about conversations and markets. This fits well with me the most i think - eBay customers do much talking outside of "band", eBay want to enable them to communicate outside of the auction norms in a fashion controlled/enabled by them.

I also saw one opinion, just one, that said it was all about pay per call - (ish) - but it got lost somewhere heh.. Lots of voip in Search at the moment as it adds all kinds of interesting things to the mix: Presense, stickiness, ad ops, AND PPCall openings - maybe something in that, though i'd bet Ross has the right of it...


Yup, all sorts of uses.

Pay-per-call is interesting. Their PayPal division has toll numbers for most of its customers in terms of support. Pay-per-call can redirect that cost (for the customer) from the RBOC coffers to the eBay/PayPal coffers.

Also, they could forgo pay-per-call and now offer toll-free support. That may make customers happy but it could drive up costs for eBay/PayPal in terms of support (i.e. "it's free so we may as well call about my broken fingernail").

The other aspect is the eBay/PayPal machine is big (in terms of employees), I imagine they could use the technology internally and cut some operating costs.

Oh, and lets not forget the "Contact [Power] Seller Now" for more information about an auction item, buy-now item, or other items that may not be listed. I keep hearing complaints about "yeah, like I would want a buyer calling me"...well, I think most sellers, especially Power Sellers with an online store, would find the free, toll-free like service a nicety. Saves them the hassle of getting their own (expensive) toll-free number.

Also, if you want to pretend that eBay is really worried about their declining growth (yeah, right), then it does open up another market to explore and conquer.

I am sure there are other uses too that we may be overlooking.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.



Ahh... Greg found it in the release

The acquisition also enables eBay and Skype to pursue entirely new lines of business. For example, in addition to eBay’s current transaction-based fees, ecommerce communications could be monetized on a pay-per-call basis through Skype. Pay-per-call communications opens up new categories of ecommerce, especially for those sectors that depend on a lead-generation model such as personal and business services, travel, new cars, and real estate.


or whatever,

The president was featured on one of the talking head news shows. And *all* of the conversation revolved around ppc. They intend to have a button labelled, get this: SKYPE ME.

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