On Facebook, VoIP Has a Sore Throat

[qi:090] The VoIP community, like so many others, got swept up in the Facebook platform euphoria. Not a day passed without some startup or another unveiling their Facebook application amid much fanfare. Well, the party is over, and it has become clear that VoIP apps have lost their voice on Facebook.

This was first noted by one of my readers on his blog; now Stuart Henshall, Alec Saunders and other VoIP bloggers have joined in pointing out the sorry state of VoIP on Facebook.

“The majority of Facebook users are students — mobile phone users — as well. In fact, 27% of Facebook users are users of Facebook mobile,” writes Saunders.

Given how easy mobile is, he wonders, who is going to take the trouble to fire up a PC and log onto Facebook just to make a call? Let’s extend this argument to all VoIP widget offerings — they don’t offer a vastly improved user experience when compared with the simplicity of the phone. Sure they save pennies per minute on international long distance calls, but even those costs are coming down quite sharply.

Actually the situation for VoIP apps on Facebook is pretty bleak.

We emailed Ryan Nitz, founder and CTO of Deft Labs and maker of AppHound, a Facebook apps analytical tool company, to help us get a better sense of what is going on with VoIP-related Facebook apps.

When Nitz ran queries using the keywords Skype and VoIP, AppHound found that the combined installs for all VoIP applications was 435,481, with 11,615 daily users. That’s about 2.7 percent. (See chart for the full breakdown.)

facebookvoipappstats.gif

Talk about a sore throat.

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