Skype Prime has created somewhat of a stir in the blogosphere. It basically gives you the ability to charge someone for calls (either per-call or per-minute). Phil Wolff at Skype Journal points out the limitations, which are as follows:
- $0.50/min minimum all charge
- Skype takes 30% of whatever you charge
- You have to wait at least 120 days to get paid.
These usurious rates really limit the potential uses of this, particularly when you consider that most calls are peer-to-peer and they aren’t really doing anything except payment processing. If they drop their cut to, say, 3% (that’s all PayPal charges for credit card processing), drop the minimum call charge limits, and reduce the amount of time it takes to actually get paid, I could see this really taking off in some of the less affluent countries.
Assuming Skype reduces their cut of the action, pays people in a timely manner, and improves the Skype Prime service, there are a few places where Skype Prime could be used to make some money:
1. Skype becomes a way to “pay” for shareware software. Call the author, he “charges” you for the call, he sends you the activation code in Skype and/or file transfer the unlocked version. Now it’d be nice if Skype opened up their API a little more to make it practical to automate this kind of thing. It could become it’s own eCommerce platform for automated software (or license key) delivery. Would fall right into the kinds of things eBay does.
2. Think eBay seller and eBay buyer. Buyer wants a visual confirmation of the item they order, so they call he eBay seller. eBay seller shows them the item “live,” the seller pays “okay, you can pay now thru Skype.” Buyer clicks, and everyone’s paid. No muss, no fuss. This one could be done without Skype Prime, e.g. pay through PayPal, check your email, and get confirmation over the phone of receiving the payment.
3. The usual technical support scenarios by independent consultants. Charge per-incident or per-minute for support. Add something like Webdialogs Untye to the mix for the “let me look over your shoulder” experience.
4. The obvious horoscope/phone sex angles, the top use of 900 numbers. I don’t see the terms of service being a deterrent for anyone setting these kinds of services up. Even if these kinds of services were against the TOS, it would be difficult to enforce them anyway.
5. As part of a video dating service. If you want to hook up with a potential mate, it’s going to cost you. The trick here is that a “third party” would have to control the charging, not to mention some changes would have to be made to ensure anonymity of the participants.
Do you have any clever ways you can think of using Skype Prime to make some money? Post your ideas in the comments.