Skype back to Europe?

In April 2007 i noticed that the RSS feed of Skype for data on number of downloads and users online, changed somewhat: the hour was the “New York” time instead of the GMT+0 time, and i blogged on this: Headquarters in New York?

From November 12 on, the RSS feeds were down for almost one month, and came back some weeks ago. Better late then never, but this weekend i noticed that something else happened:
the time was set again to GMT+0: 9969495 Users Online Now Tue, 18 Dec 2007 20:40:01 +0000.

Good! But it could be that something else is happening anyway! Is Skype moving back to Europe, and loosening the chains with eBay?


Latest hidden emoticon

Not really a funny one, but through a chat with another crazy fanatical Skype user i found the latest hidden emoticon: type “(myspace)” in your chat window, send it, and you get it!
Read here why they added the MySpace emoticon: MySpace, Skype to offer calls on social network.

The Skype calls through MySpace will be web based! Perhaps the beginning of a new surge in Skype users?

All the emoticons, including the hidden ones (but still not the MySpace emoticon) and all the flags can be found here: Skype Emoticons Cheatsheet.


Again Skype RSS feeds!

The RSS feeds of users online and Skype client downloads are working again, after one “frozen” month. This will make my number analysis easier again! It got stuck since November 12!

And on the graph below (from nyanyan.to), we can see that Skype reached an “all times” record number of concurrent users online: i saw 10.649.190 on my Skype client!


Skype for businesses

Through the Skype Forum, i discovered that full time USA graduate student Charmaine Walker, who will soon become a school librarian, just completed a paper on Emerging Technologies and chose Skype as her topic. She says on the forum: “I have been a user since its inception in 2003 and think it is truly marvellous”.

I picked some interesting phrases out of her 9 pages work, which could convince businesses to use Skype (some minor editing by myself):
  • install the program where and when needed on as many computers at no cost;
  • as the equipment is owned, it eliminates the need for another company to maintain and upgrade an existing VoIP tool;
  • as Skype is simply a software program, it does not have any operational, maintenance, or management expenses;
  • there are no early termination fees associated with a VoIP provider contract if it no longer meets the business’s needs;
  • businesses can simply uninstall the Skype program without incurring a penalty and/or returning another company’s equipment;
  • aside from the expense of a microphone and speakers or handset to make and receive calls, Skype’s optional extras are extremely low in comparison to other VoIP providers.
Valid arguments for small businesses (my opinion!).


Encryption = no wiretapping?

Quite a lot of Police corpses, CIA, FBI, KGB and others are worried about the encrypted calls that Skype users can place: no possibility to wiretap Osama Bin Laden or Georges Bush when they call to each other through Skype!

There were even voices (official and non-official) asking for a "back door" in Skype!

Recently the German Police made some comments on Skype, but didn’t say they would ask for a back door: We can't decipher it. That's why we're talking about source telecommunication surveillance - that is, getting to the source before encryption or after it's been decrypted.

Indeed, Skype and other new communication techniques are challenging the creativity of those who want to monitor conversations.

But "creative wiretapping" already happened, and German Police was indirectly involved:
Fourth suspect Rudy Hermann Guede allegedly spoke (through Skype) to a friend who, unknown to him, was inside a Perugia police station.The suspect appeared to be hiding in Germany! In fact, Police asked a friend of the suspect to try to reach him by Skype, and wiretapped him … indeed “after decryption”!



51 million Skypers in China

I read the following: China becomes Skype's biggest market with 51 mln users, yet to make profit.

As usual, let me correct this statement: they mean “registered user names”, not "registered users", and this isn't equal to "active users".

Like i do usually, let us assume the numbers are however correct, this would mean that:
  • 20 % of the active Worldwide Skypers are from China
  • 3.9 % of the population of China are Skypers
  • 5.4 % of the “active” population of China are Skypers (discounting people older than 65 years, and younger than 14 years) [EDITED ON 25/11: The number in red was edited, as i made an error in my calculation]
  • 34 % of Chinese internet users are Skypers
Bear in mind that the second, third and fourth numbers above are very exaggerated. Reasons are:
  • 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
So, like always, this 51 million users statement is marketing exaggeration!


avoid Skype Pro

I have complained several times about the fraudulent SkypePro advertising in the past.

Tony Austin, has posted a long but interesting explanation with the following title in ITWire: “1300 reasons to avoid Skype Pro in Australia”.

He begins his explanation with the phrase:
There are examples all around us of misleading and deceptive advertising, inflicted upon us either deliberately or due to the lack of attention to detail or even the incompetence of the advertisers. Where does Skype Pro stand in this regard?

And ends with:
Skype needs to change its Skype Pro documentation to read something like: "Pay nothing per minute for calls to landlines within the same country -- except for certain classes of landlines for which we'll charge the SkypeOut rate and not the Skype Pro rate and this will cost you much much more than nothing per minute!"

I have to agree 100% with Tony!
And Skype can't say they are not aware: the regular questions concerning the SkypePro costs on the Skype Forum don't go unnoticed by Skype Staff.

How much money is Skype taking from customers in Australia, Brazil and a lot of other countries with this misleading SkypePro advertising?


Skype contribution

I got a very interesting comment of Sascha Vitzthum on a previous post, and i distilled the following graph out of it:
According to eBay …
"Direct contribution consists of net revenues from external customers less direct costs. Direct costs include specific costs of net revenues, sales and marketing expenses, and general and administrative expenses over which segment managers have direct discretionary control, such as advertising and marketing programs, customer support expenses, bank charges, site operations expenses, product development expenses, billing operations, certain technology and facilities expenses, transaction expenses, provisions for doubtful accounts, authorized credits and transaction losses. Segment managers do not have discretionary control over expenses such as our corporate center costs …"

This means Skype had a 15% contribution compared to revenue in the last quarter. This is quite OK. From the graph we also see that 2007 will be probably the first year that Skype contributes really to eBay’s profitability.


Skypers on Map

Through the blog of Jan, i found the following two graphs on the Japanese “Skypers on Map” website.
Skype Online Users
This one displays the same information as the other Japanese website Nyanyan but instead of one week, a whole month! (Click on the image to have the full view).

SKMap Status summary
And this one displays the status of the Skype users who registered on SKMap!

Both graphs are very interesting, although the scale of the first one is not optimized.

The second one is generated by using the data of Skype Users who accepted to show their Skype status on a Google Earth map (almost 1000 right now!).

Quite interesting. Add your Skype status here on http://skmap.gatagata.jp and click on the "how to" link in the upper left corner for instructions! Fun!


Borderless Communication

My Skype friend Hudson Barton blogs again! Hurrah! See his interesting graph on Skype concurrent users online by continent! Based on his personal calculation.
His blog is called Borderless Communication.
In fact a very appropriate title for a Skype blog:
  • Skype originated in Europe but …
  • My first contact was my Brazilian brother in law Cassio;
  • From the beginning on Skype was multilingual, there are 29 different languages for the Skype client and you can even edit your language file to your local slang, or create a new one!
  • Skype users are everywhere, just look at the different nationalities that visit my blog;
  • There is SkypeIn in 19 different countries on 4 different continents;
  • Skype belongs now to eBay (USA), has it official registered office in Luxemburg (for tax reasons), its marketing and commercial people mainly in the UK, but also elsewhere, and – last but not least – the technical staff mainly in Estonia;
  • Even on the Skype Forums there are now subforums in 5 different languages;
  • I keep in contact through Skype with people i know (people i met personally at least once!) living in Belgium (of course), and 20 other countries on all continents (i was myself surprised by this number)!
  • I keep in contact with friends and colleagues travelling abroad for business or holidays;
  • I used myself Skype when travelling abroad in at least 6 countries to communicate with family or professional contacts;
  • And, last but not least, i keep in contact with a lot of Skype Crazy Fanaticals (Bloggers, Forum (Super) Users, Beta Testers, and Staff) like Hudson Barton!


a real useful obsession ;-)

Quite some bloggers copied and made comments on my post “+2.5 % this week” of October 27, and …
I got a very nice compliment from Russell Shaw at ZDNet: “Jean has this real serious but frankly, real useful obsession. He runs the Skype Numerology blog, a resource dedicated to the evolving and statistically quantifiable aspects of Skype’s download, usage, and related metrics over time.

Now, Russell thinks that the 2.5% in one week is “natural growth of the Skype user base”, and therefore not linked to the MySpace deal. Let me try to explain why i really think “something” is happening.

When you look at the inserted table, you will notice that it is the first time in 4 years that the growth of concurrent users online has been higher in October than in September! But there is more …
The download speed in October had a mean value of 890 downloads per minute, double as high as September (425 downloads/min.).

As my Blogger-friend onlyebay remarked, “It could be all the free publicity that Skype is getting”. Here the HUGE list of October events:
Did i forget something? Anyway, enough events to wake up sleeping potential customers!


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!


6.6% of USA population?

I read the following statement of Peter Parkes, a Skype official blogger, on the Skype Blog:
"Skype reached its 20 millionth registered user in North America!"

As usual, let me correct this statement: they mean “registered user names”, not "registered users", and this isn't equal to "active users", see my explanation here in Skype Journal and on some of my previous posts!

Let us assume the numbers are however correct, this would mean that:
  • 8 % of the active Worldwide Skypers are from the USA
  • 6.6 % of the USA population are Skypers
  • 10 % of the “active” population of the USA are Skypers (discounting people older than 65 years, and younger than 14 years)
  • 8.6% of USA internet users are Skypers (not 10% like stated on the Skype blog!)
Bear in mind that the second, third and fourth numbers above are very exaggerated, and you can read why there are less active users than registered user names in my "Japanese blogpost"! I would like to add one reason to these:
  • Spammers also register multiple usernames to "attack" their victims
So, like always, this 20 million users statement is marketing exaggeration!


Respect my choice!

Today i received for two of my Skype spare user accounts an e-mail from Skype! I was shocked! I got both in French! My language account settings were for both accounts in English.

- What if i don’t speak French?
- What if i belong to the Dutch speaking community (60% of the country)?
- What if i belong to the small minority German speaking community?
- What if i belong to the many foreigners living in the country (immigrants from Morocco, Turkey, etc.), and more particularly in Brussels (European Community employees, and others)?

This is a complete lack of respect for the cultural identity of the inhabitants of my country! And i guess they made as usual the same mistake in other countries (Switzerland, etc.)!

And it isn’t the first time they make that stupid mistake! I blogged about it on Skype Journal in the past in “Is Skype forgetting its Customers?”, and there were also some complaints on the Skype Forum about it in the past!

Won’t they learn from their mistakes? I regret to say, but this lack of respect for the customer is something that happened often since they were Ebayed! Shame! (Yes i am angry!)


Skype VoIP ranking

I found through the “VOIP IP Telephony” blog the “VoIP Ranking by Subscriber: Q2 2007”.

Skype is in fourth position, but the data of paying SkypeOut customers is from July 2005! This was just before Ebay swallowed Skype! There were 1.8 million paying customers, according to Skype. No information anymore on this number since then.

End of June 2005 there were a maximum of 3.2 million concurrent Skype users online. End of June 2007 we had a maximum of 9.5 million concurrent users online. This is about 3 (three) times more.

Therefore we could conclude that the number of paying SkypeOut (and other calling plans) customers has also tripled.

With this assumption the ranking table looks as follows:And therefore number one again!


Skype website popularity

How can an outsider like me try to have some indications about the speed of the growth of Skype?

Some numbers are publicly available, like:
And sometimes Skype independent data, like the one i want to show today:
This graph shows the ranking of the Skype website visits compared to other websites. Until the end of 2005, there was a clear increase in the ranking position. From 2006 on the popularity of the Skype website has gone down. Is this also an indication of the slower growth of Skype? I would guess so!

The blue arrow points to a sudden website popularity increase in August 2007, but this was due to the “unpopular” Skype outage.


Download counter repaired

Some days ago (two posts earlier) i explained that in my opinion the download counter of Skype was flawed.

Today, everything went back to normal with an “artificial and sudden jump” of 4 million downloads in a fraction of a second (see the blue curve on the graph!).

This indeed proves that there was some error in the counting system.

But again, why did this error start exactly on “Worm Day”?


We once were advocates :-(

I just came across a blog post of Stuart Henshall. Stuart Henshall is the guy who launched Skype Journal years ago!

He posted a long comment just after the Skype Outage, and was as many others quite unhappy with the crisis communication of Skype. But his feelings are deeper, some extracts here.

"… their Brand has evolved from being community led around sharing to something corporate and out of tune with those that once loved Skype but now just use it.

The outage just confirms once again that "Skype's" crisis management and handling of communications is poor; as it has been since eBay took control. In the end Skype has damaged its reputation because they failed to act in a transparent manner and continue to act a wee bit too secretly. We will continue to use the service yes. Does it make me feel warmer about Skype no ...

I'm convinced (and needed no real convincing) that Skype's network works.

Skype has become a faceless corporation and we're just "users" where once we were advocates, storytellers, testers and happy Skypers. Today we are "Everyone" and Users. I'm sorry, I'm still a Skyper and I Skype.

That is almost exactly how i feel!

Read the whole story here: Outing Skype Communications


Download counter flawed?

I noticed that the downloads of the Skype client fell down to almost zero. Well, at least if i believe the numbers of the Skype RSS Feed (see the link on the left of my blog).

This is also visible from the blue download curve in the graph from nyanyan.to. (They also use the data of the Skype RSS feed).
Since September 10, it seems that the Skype client has been downloaded only 2000 times, compared to 2 million times in a normal period of 4 days! But i don’t believe this: i saw quite a lot of people on the Skype Forum with questions or problems concerning their newly installed Skype software, and i downloaded it myself 5 times (just to test) without any problems.

The only weird thing: the RSS feeds provides “false” data since the very same day Skype announced its Skype worm! Strange … related or not, and why?


Skype Worm !!!!!!!!!


Today i got a strange message from a known Skyper (NOT a spammer!) with whom i only chatted once one year ago:

X says:
It is a worm, and Skype warns its customers in the post “On the worm that affects Skype for Windows users”.

You can find a somewhat technical description at Trend Micro .


Spammers and Skype accounts

Skype is continuing to abusively “market” the number of registered users! You can find this phrase on their website: “over 220 million people from almost every corner of the globe have registered” . As i explained several times, and the last time here in “6% Japanese are Skypers” this is false.

But today i found an interesting comment from “Jim” on the Skype Forum concerning Skype SPAM:
"A Skype search reveals a list of 42 user names. 42 people using the same e-mail, or 1 spammer with 42 names? The choice is yours!"

I did a fast search on some of my Skype spammers (in my history tab) and i found 7 spammers. Including the one from Jim this gives 8 spammers totalling 173 usernames!
(Jim’s spammer had now already 51 usernames!)

So … i advice Skype to change its marketing phrase: we measure our success by the growing amount of Spammers registering usernames


Brazil off today

On Friday we always can notice a lower number of users online. Usually, compared to the day before (Thursday) concurrent users online go down by about 4.5 %. And it goes even lower on Saturday and Sunday. For some (Muslim) countries weekend begins on Friday, and for a lot of other countries it starts on Saturday. A lot of Skypers leave their computers to do other things on weekend.

But today, Friday September 7, 2007, the concurrent users online went down by 8.2 % compared to yesterday! Why?
It was Independence Day in Brazil, and my “Samba, Futebol and Carnaval” friends prefer to be on the beaches. Brazil has quite a lot of Skype users!

Could i conclude (from the numbers above) that 3.7 % of Skype Users are Brazilians?


Summer recession finished!

Today i noticed we are definitely out of the summer recession period. Indeed i saw we reached 9575334 concurrent users online, slightly higher than my highest recorded number some months ago. Is this summer recession new? No, i already explained it in the past in “Holidays are bad”, but there is something deceptive about the Today, September 4
The graph shows:
  1. Summer recession 2005
  2. Christmas – New Year 2005-2006
  3. Summer recession 2006
  4. Christmas – New Year 2006-2007
  5. Summer recession 2007
But, the last two years i always saw the new “all times high number” around August 20. We are therefore 2 weeks late with recovering from the summer disease! Is Skype getting old?


Skype Pro Fraud

Quite a lot of people complain (on the Skype Forum) about the fact that calls to national landlines are charged, even after subscribing to SkypePro.
People should read the small text on the bottom of the page:
When you click on it, you find the very limited list of countries where it is valid (click on the image).

It is a very nasty trick from nasty companies to place very essential information on another webpage! I still do believe Skype is a friendly company!

Therefore i would like to suggest to Skype to adapt their webpage in the following way:
This isn’t difficult! And this would be honest customer information!


4th Birthday 4 Skype

Today is the 4th birthday of Skype.

It is somewhat a disappointment: last year, at the same date we reached also a milestone of 7.000.000 concurrent users online, see my Birthday post.
Today we didn't even go over the 9.6 million concurrent users online, the former highest number ever reached some months ago. This clearly demonstrates the slower growth.

Slower doesn't mean "no growth"! There is growth, and i guess we will reach 10 million concurrent users online somewhere in September, much later than i would have expected 6 months ago.
Anyway, HAPPY BIRTHDAY SKYPE! It is still my favorite P2P application!


About the Nyanyan graphs

My favorite Skype "concurrent users online graph" can be found on http://nyanyan.to/skype/40hr_chart.php. The graph below is from August 2005.

The Japanese author of the graph made a short explanation (in English) on his blog (click here).

He tells us he has two sources:
  • the Skype RSS feed (see a link on the right side of my blog)
  • the Skype client "people online" information
I am grateful he is providing his graphs. Thanks a lot!


6% Japanese are Skypers?

I read the following statement of Shinichi Iwata, general manager of Skype's Japanese office, on www.skype-news.com:

The number of registered users in Japan totaled 5.7 million at the end of July.

As usual, let me correct this statement: they mean “registered user names”, not "registered users", and this isn't equal to "active users", see my explanation here in Skype Journal!

Let us assume the numbers are however correct, this would mean that:
  • 2.5 % of the active Worldwide Skypers are Japanese
  • 6 % of the Japanese population are Skypers
  • 10 % of the “active” Japanese population are Skypers (discounting people older than 65 years, and younger than 14 years)
Bear in mind that the second and third numbers above are very exaggerated, and i repeat 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
Question to Shinichi Iwata: how many user names did you register?


Outage & Forum

Of course, not surprising …During the outage of Skype some days ago, quite a lot of people registered on the Skype Forum to find the answer to their “common” problem (not everybody reads blogs of course!).

While the last months about 300 new Forum users were registered every day, it rose to almost 1500 new Forum users on August 17.

That is good! Most people who try to find a solution to their problem on the Skype Forum want of course to continue to use Skype!


Nodes and Supernodes

There is a very nice picture and explanation about "nodes and supernodes" and why the Skype outage, found on the blog of Mike McGrath! Click on the picture below to go to the post ...
However, i think the picture is oversimplified: i thought ordinary hosts also could have direct links with each other, even when not in a call, therefore transferring a small part of the "sound/data" packages of other people.


Shut Up!

I repeat what i said yesterday: i think the explanation after the outage was quite OK. And they provided some more clarifications today!

But, why did Skype communicate so badly during the crisis? Almost no concrete information, apart from the usual “we are doing all we can”, and “it isn’t a hacker”! Niklas Zennström … who is this? Never heard of him … during the outage hurricane!

(lips sealed)Some Skype Beta Testers have a blog, and don’t hide they are Beta Testers: not any one of them commented on the outage! Not a word. Not even after the recovery! Very unusual! The only comment was from Tamas Henning “Nope! Sorry guys, there is nothing here”. But wander with your mouse over the link here, it says: “Overwhelmed or the inevitable(lips sealed) has finally come?”. Another Beta Tester posted something, then removed it! I was however too late to read it!

Were they told to “shut up”? Probably, but this looks like good old style communist or dictatorial practices!

Jaanus Kase, the former main blogger and communication man of Skype, commented however, and he showed clearly his disagreement with the Skype communication policy DURING the outage: the right thing to do would be to have an ongoing public incident report and debriefing of what’s going on. … Skype should do (this) if it still wants to be an open friendly company!

We can’t say Skype didn’t communicate at all of course! Villu Arak and some others kept the public informed, but in a very cleaned up language.

I think that next time they should improve their crisis communication!

[EDITED] Tamas Henning made a comment on his blog, after this post!