1/8 video callers

Hmmm … i don’t know what to think about it but i read this in the Associated Press (again some numbers):
Jonathan Christensen, Skype's general manager for audio and video, said a quarter of all Skype calls have at least one talker on video. The service claims 246 million users

Let me correct this somewhat:
  • If it is true, at least one out of 8 callers uses video!
  • 246 million “registered user accounts” … NOT users, probably only 50 million users!
I repeat why it is “USER ACCOUNTS” therefore why there are less active users than registered user names:
  • lost password, and therefore inaccessible user name, therefore the need to create a new user name
  • testing Skype, and abandoned use of the user name
  • spare user names, registered for alternative or future use (i have several!)
  • the owner of the user name died (yes, this also happens!)
  • the person switched to another VoIP tool
  • the person registered a temporary name for a temporary past situation
  • spammers also register multiple usernames to "attack" their victims


Hidden curiosities

Skype has its collection of hidden emoticons. There are fourteen of them, not including the 238 country flags. You find all the codes for them here.

Today, thanks to a question from RAKISHI on the Skype forum and the answer of the “proud Bulgarian Калин” i can unveil two other hidden curiosities.

When you open a chat window, and begin to chat, normally your contact person will see a typing indicator: a pencil writing!

However, when you press 3 alphabetical keyboard keys at the same time, the typing indicator is changed by something else. Try c+a+t for instance (and keep the keys down), you get an animated cat. Or try q+s+d and you get two fists grabbing a pencil. Funny.

[EDITED]: this works only with the new 3.6 beta Skype client version!


+2.5 % this week!

Last week we reached for the first time 10 million concurrent Skype users online. Completely to my surprise, this week we went over 10.270.000 users online. This is an increase of 2.5% in one week!

Is the deal with MySpace already harvesting new Skype Users? Perhaps, because i noticed also an increase in the number of downloads of the Skype client! The download speed is twice as high as some weeks ago.

Below i published the updated graph of the evolution of users online since the beginning of Skype in August 2003 (my data samples).
Users online fluctuate during the day, week and months, but reach now sometimes 10 million users online, and never go below 4 million users online (see the two blue curves, representing “upper” and “lower” limits of users online over the last 4 years). Some reasons for the fluctuations are:
  • At night some people log off;
  • During the weekend, less people are online;
  • Holiday periods (summer, New Year, other public holidays) are also “bad” for the online number.
Although the growth of users online has been strong the last two weeks, i still don’t believe we will reach the 11 million mark this year!


Skype minutes

On the “downloadable presentation” of the eBay quarterly results i found these facts:
  • Skype to Skype (S2S) minutes: 6.1 billions
  • SkypeOut minutes: 1.4 billion
  • Or, dividing revenue by SkypeOut minutes: 0.07 US$/SkypeOut minute
My interpretations or guesses concerning these numbers:
  • S2S minutes are diminishing, although the number of users is raising! One factor that has probably influenced this quarter is that it includes the Holiday/Summer period, traditionally a period with lower Skype usage. But this quarter is quite lower than the corresponding quarter of 2006. Are people using Skype to chat instead of talk?
  • SkypeOut minutes are not raising anymore, although income is still raising (see my previous post). Is the increase in revenue therefore only due the weak dollar? Indeed, the weakening of the dollar compared to the euro is about 8.8% since the beginning of the year. According to Skype, 83% of their income is generated outside the USA. Therefore we could extrapolate and say that 7% of the US$ income is due to currency fluctuations, and therefore not to "real SkypeOut minutes"!
  • The higher income compared to 2006 is also due to the “hidden” price increases of SkypeOut calls since the beginning of the year (connection fee, SkypePro, etc.).


Skype Revenue

eBay published its quarterly results. Quite good growth for Skype, not what eBay expected when purchasing it, but still … not too bad!

And some good news, like "MySpace to offer free Skype calls" and "Skype goes mobile".

These are the results for quarter 3, 2007 (rounded numbers):
  • 100 million US$ revenue
  • 250 million registered user accounts (total all quarters)
  • 700 million downloads of the Skype client (total all quarters)
  • 10 million concurrent users online at peak time
  • 4 million concurrent users online at “low tide”
  • 0.4 US$ revenue per registered user account
These were facts! Now my guesses or speculations, or whatever you want to call it:
  • 50 million regular or active users
  • or 2 US$ revenue per active user
  • 6 million paying customers
  • therefore 17 US$ revenue per quarter per paying customer
  • or 67 US$ per paying customer per year
I would like to have some more reliable numbers from Skype!


10 million, hurrah!

Hurrah, 10 million concurrent users online today! Nice! Fantastic number! See also the announcement on the official Skype Blog.

But, it is anyway a big disappointment for Skype believers. It took “us” 261 days to go from 9 to 10 million. The longest period ever, if we exclude the first million users!

The growth of Skype is clearly slowing down! I am curious about the report of Ebay concerning the last quarter of Skype ??? Will it improve without Niklas Zennström?
Read also this: "Five Reasons Nokia Should Buy Skype From eBay". Interesting point of view of Stephen Wellman! And Nokia is Finnish, Skype is Estonian (at least where the technical staff is located): geographically and culturally very close!


Monetizing Skype

I found this post by Larry Barrett : Skype Co-Founder Admits Expectations Were Too High.

Some interesting phrases caught my attention:
  • Skype now generates only $1.60 (revenue) per subscriber per year
  • the barriers to competition are low and alternative offerings from the likes of Yahoo, Google, Microsoft and AOL have emerged
  • Skype outlined part of its plan (in September) to monetize its communications platform by launching its first Web service for developers looking to build mashup applications in the Skype environment
  • Skype plans to incorporate more payment options for users who want to play games or buy widgets and applications developed on the Skype platform.
And also in The Times:
Looks promising! Skype is still alive. The only items i don’t feel good about are the games and widgets!


Where is the Skype soul?

There are official Skype blogs in 11 different languages. As i speak 5 languages, and also can understand somewhat Italian and German, i checked all these official blogs! For some i even didn't need any understanding: i checked the last post date (the Japanese blog for instance)!

Not one "official Skype blogger" made a comment on the change of their CEO!

I also checked the blogs of some of the “known” Skype beta testers, and the private blogs of some Skype Staff, or at least those i know. Nothing either.

Old CEO gone, new one … No emotions? Not important? No consequences? No soul anymore?

But, the website was adapted!


Are they (eBay) crazy?

Yesterday Amy-Mae Elliott wrote this: “Skype owner eBay removes JAJAH VoIP buttons
She writes:
The email from eBay to sellers using JAJAH states: "The listing was removed because it violated the eBay Inappropriate Links policy ... links or other connections to live chat systems are not permitted."

Inappropriate decision indeed! Do they want to chase customers away?

This was an opportunity to promote Skype:
  1. let customers choose for Jajah if they want
  2. but make it more easy to place a Skype button!
  3. and tell them why Skype is the best tool on the market!
But no ... they prefer to make customers angry! More on this stupidity here and here.


Skypers don’t love eBay?

Or is it the other way around?

Some days ago i posted the feelings of Stuart Henshal (USA) in my post “We once were advocates”.

Some more “old” feelings …

I came across a post of Chris Toohey, Pennsylvania, USA, with the title “It's Official: Ebay purchases Skype!” and date 12 September 2005:
Not too sure where I stand on this. I love Skype, and the Paypal integration sounds interesting... but I can't help but feel like I'm going to get hit in the VOIP wallet and my favorite way to communicate with people around the world will suffer.

Was this a premonition?

And then i found this comment on the blog FutureLawyer from Richard M. Georges (also USA) with the title “Windows Live Messenger” from June 22, 2006:
I am still using Skype … Skype's acquisition by EBay has removed its patina of the little guy fighting the monster software company”.

Hmmm … Skype should do something about these feelings! And today they did: they laid off Niklas Zennström. Some blogs and news sites even pretend that "eBay should immediately sell what's left of Skype to ...". Perhaps that is a good idea!

So, is it: eBay doesn't love Skype?

[EDITED] See also the very interesting explanation of Janus Friis, the co-founder of Skype, thanks to my friend MuppetMaster on the Skype Forums!