less contribution :-(

eBay published some days ago the SEC filings. There is - as always - some additional cost data in it, and between others the “contribution”: this is more or less equal to “benefit before paying a management fee to eBay”, see the explanation in a previous blogpost.The “contribution graph” shows a downward tendency, the first time since i get the data! Hmmm!!!!!
Anyway: Skype is still contributing, therefore profitable for eBay!


More Skypers than Computer users?

I am really tired of the false marketing bullshit, nonsense and misleading exaggerated information of Skype! Soon there will be – extrapolating - more Skype users than Computer users, and soon afterwards there will be more Skypers than people on the earth! Ok, monkeys, aliens, and ants can also open a Skype account, I agree! It is clear, they want to make “it” big for potential buyers! (Google? Microsoft?). I begun to complain about that false "users" statement 3 years ago!

In the previous days I watched the reactions to the following claim of Skype: Skype growing by 380,000 users a day.
Some people copied it and said “WOW”, others even extrapolate it to 138.700.000 per year, some very few expressed their doubts!

How does Skype explain that there are only 16 million people online at the peak time of the day, and 8 million at “down time”, if they add more than 100 million users every year?

In fact they know very well what they omit to tell to the Press: it is not “users” but “user accounts” or better “user names” that people should hear. Skype-eBay mentions this on their quarterly results presentations: “Cumulative number of unique user accounts. Users may register more than once, and as a result, may have more than one account.”! Unique "user accounts" is not equal to unique "human beings". This is a huge difference!

Again, let me explain why this “users” statement is false information, and why there are much more "user accounts" or "user names" than people using Skype:
  • Some people give it a try and abandon the username (and usage of Skype)
  • Some people die (my father last year for instance, or Russel Shaw) and their usernames stay with Skype, no way to delete it.
  • People register often several accounts for multiple purposes:
  1. They forgot their password and created a new account
  2. Somebody stole their account (Yes, this can happen!)
  3. They created a new account because they wanted to get rid of some of their annoying contacts
  4. They have a work account, a home account, a desktop account, a laptop account, etc.
  5. They are professional spammers and create several hundreds or thousands accounts
  6. They have a primary account and one or more test accounts
  7. They created spare accounts for their kids, wife, mistress, grandma, etc.
I have myself registered about 25 usernames!

The question is therefore:
  • Is the Skype user base growing? The answer is definitely YES, and faster than ever, but not as spectacular as they claim.
  • Is the revenue of Skype growing? Almost not!


x Skype accounts on 1 computer?

I made a comment on running several Skype instances on one computer in my New Years wishes.

And I got interesting corrections from several people. They told me: “type /secondary as a “command line” in Skype.exe”. I had to search on internet how to do it (years I didn’t do that, this is DOS stuff!).

Why is this interesting anyway? Well, suppose your partner has a Skype account, you have one yourself, and your kids have one. Shit … only one computer in the living room, who will run his Skype account? Well, running several Skype instances solves the problem!

Step 1:
Locate your Skype.exe file in (usually) C:\Program Files\Skype\Phone
Right click it, move your mouse to “Send To” and choose “Desktop”:
You have now a shortcut on your desktop.

Step 2:
Go back to your desktop. Right click the Skype icon. Click on properties (the last item on the bottom of the list).
Right click the Skype.exe button:
In the Shortcut tab you see a “Target:" field. Add the following text to it (without the quotes, WITH the space): “ /secondary”.
Close the screen. Done.

From now on, even if you have already a Skype instance running, you can open as many other instances as you want, as long as you log in with another username. In the screenshot below you see 2 accounts running, one logged off.
The only thing I would like is that, when you wander with your mouse over the small Skype icons in the taskbar, that it says which account is using which client. Now it only says “Skype”!

This post is only applicable to Windows computers. I apologize for Linux and Apple users. And, it works only with the 4.0 Skype version.


Why did they do this?

Sometimes I can present numbers, but I don’t have an explanation. Yesterday was the official launch of the 4.0 Skype version. The (40 hours) graph below shows the concurrent users online (red curve) with the typical fluctuations over a 24 hours span and the ever rising download curve (blue curve).However, the speed of the downloads seems to have lowered suddenly and dramatically from about 600 downloads per minute to 250 per minute during a 30 hours time span and back to more than 520 downloads per minute (see the blue dotted arrows that I drew on the screenshot). The change was sudden and unexpected, therefore this was induced by Skype.

Strange also that this happened at a time that we would expect an increase in downloads!
  • Could it be that the counting system was temporarily flawed?
  • Did they shut down some of their download servers?
I don’t have any clue!

And ... since quite a lot of days, the RSS feed of concurrent users online doesn't work anymore: it shows 0 (zero) concurrent users online! Another flaw?


The fastest million ever

It is the second time in 3 months that I have to use the same blog post title. Indeed, it took only 21 days or three weeks to add another million. I made a very wrong prediction in September last year and believe it or not, I am very happy that I was wrong! This is the first time ever that Skype crosses 4 times a million milestone in a Northern hemisphere “fall-winter-spring” period, or "School Year"! And, this 10 months period is only half way, therefore we could see at least one more million, or perhaps even two! Exciting!


SkypeIn for Belgium?

Often I get the question: “when will SkypeIn be available for Belgium?". I am not Skype Staff, therefore i will probably know it at the same time or later than the press!

Jan Geirnaert is from Ghent, the same city as I am from, but he lives in Malaysia. He seems to like me a lot because he contacted me twice this weekend (see my previous post). I am worried .

Today he asked me to call him on his Belgian number 09298xxxx with my fixed line 09222yyyy. But, I know he is still in Malaysia, and Skype hasn’t added SkypeIn countries in ages! Belgium isn’t available yet!
Well there is an equivalent solution:
I called him, the call was diverted to his Skype account in Malaysia and the quality of the call was OK! I only paid for a local call. He paid nothing for the call itself!

Some price comparisons
  • My fixed line in Belgium (Belgacom): 7.50 €/month
  • SkypeIn for 3 months (not yet available for Belgium): 5 €/month
  • Virtuphon: 5.30 €/month
Virtuphon is available for 39 countries, SkypeIn available for 22 countries only! Dominican Republic, Germany, Hong Kong and Japan are only possible with Skype. Therefore, if we join both, we have “virtual phone numbers” for a total of 44 countries!
[EDITED:] Thanks to the comment of Phil ... SkypeIn also in South Korea, numbers above were adapted.

By the way, Skype seems to rename SkypeIn in “Skype Online Number”.

And thanks to Jan for pointing me to that. I guess he will also blog on it!