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Skype Prime – Online Consultants Tool

Skype today announced a new beta version of their Windows offering (v3.1.0.134 beta). It’s main new feature is Skype Prime (beta) – something that will appeal to many entrepreneurial bloggers.

“In short, it enables paid Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls. You can charge other people for calling you either a one-off fee or by the minute. Conversely, if you are the caller, you can call experts who charge for their services, and you can then pay the fee and access the expertise that the other call party provides.”

That’s how Skype describes it and I’m sure many of you can see applications that you could use it with.

Skype-PrimePayment is made to the one charging for the call via PayPal with Skype keeping 30% of the fee that you charge for giving you the service.

The service has been a long time coming and for those of us on Macs the wait continues. It is in direct competition to Ether – a similar service for web consultants – but with the millions of users of skype already on the system I think the potential is quite massive.

At this stage both the caller and receiver need to be on the new version of Skype for Skype Prime to work. Once the connection is established between callers the paid process can be started and charging (either per minute or as a fixed rate per call) can begin. The charge is deducted from the caller’s Skype credit that is footing the bill.

My initial feeling is that 30% is reasonably high considering if you have any clues you could simply plan a call after someone’s put money in your PayPal account anyway – however I’m sure they’ll continue to add features to this service and for ease of use many will pay the premium.

Looks like a product with real potential for bloggers wanting to offer consulting in their area of expertise – for more information on Skype Prime see their FAQ page.

For those of you who give it a go – I’d love to hear about your experience!

About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.
  1. They anticipated my immediate first thought – porn is not allowed :-). I guess those guys already have their own solutions, anyway.

    Does anybody know why legal and tax advice would not be allowed? Or health and therapy? Is Skype just trying to cover their butts?

  2. I’ll bet they won’t allow legal advice, since that could implicate Skype in “unauthorized practice of law,” if the person giving advice isn’t a lawyer (or not licensed in the caller’s jurisdiction).

    However, these same arguments would apply to POTS. The only difference would be that POTS doesn’t actually help you bill your services. Maybe that’s the catch that Skype’s afraid of.

    I’ve got no clue about health & therapy. Perhaps they’re related to my thoughts on lawyers. Skype doesn’t want to help people misrepresent themselves as doctors or therapists.

  3. I think it’s a great idea because it adds yet another way to make money for those who are in the consulting business already. I think this will also help to increase the popularity and use of Skype. I might give it a shot.

  4. Did someone say porn?

  5. You need to think big people.. automation! Time to get scripts to set up thousands of Skype accounts offering ‘horoscopes’, ‘racing tips’ and all the other automated trash people offline call in to ;-)

  6. Only for Windows… what better place to offer “Linux Consulting”? :-P

  7. This is an interesting development not least because it fits in with our expanding business model, though its unregulated nature would leave it open to abuse, forget porn but premium rate chat lines? be interested to see this tied into a skypecast :)

    Another obvious use would be teaching languages Skype is plagued with (sorry is lucky to have) so many people randomly phoning people in the hope of improving their English, setting up a phone number for them to call, to talk to a person who is willing to make light conversation could net some money, alternatively I can see Mystic Tim becoming a popular hit, and I could take off this dress…

  8. Good idea Tim, but why pay for something that you have for free? There are so many 1-800 numbers out there where you can have a small chat. Just call randomly for 1 hour a day. ;-)

  9. because there are plenty of mugs who would pay for “premium service” I guess. Well I have set up 2 services each being charged at $2 (the max) a minute which equated to $60 for the hour, our current audio consultancy is $50/ph so we will loose out here, but it would be interesting to see if we get any traffic.

    So if its an unannounced caller we will charge by the minute and a prebooked under the old scheme.

    However I have already seen flaws

    1) flat fee is maxed out of $10 regardless of time
    3) PER minute is maxed at $2/minute

    given I was looking at charging 3/minute to recoop costs of Skypes 30% I think thes prices are to low for professional services, also it took less then a minute to set up, it will be interesting how people find “good” services currently it looks like skype will provide no help in promoting your service, which is probably a good thing.

  10. […] “My initial feeling is that 30% is reasonably high considering if you have any clues you could simply plan a call after someone’s put money in your PayPal account anyway – however I’m sure they’ll continue to add features to this service and for ease of use many will pay the premium.” — Darren Rowse […]

  11. I work for Wengo (a french based start-up) and we already developed a similar concept (with a marketplace) where experts/consultants could provide & monetize their services Online. The V2 of the website will be live in two weeks with big big changes in, so stay tuned ;-)

  12. […] Beim Internettelefonie-Anbieter Skype kann man sich jetzt auch kostenpflichtig anrufen lassen. “Skype Prime” heißt dieser neue Service. Mehr Infos bei Problogger Darren Rowse und bei Michael Arrington, Techcrunch. […]

  13. Darren:

    A really useful post. By chance, I wrote an article a few days ago that focused on Ether, and the increasing ability of home-based experts to charge for advised based on their knowledge. Your readers who are interested in this Skype service may also find this in-depth look at Ether to be valuable.

    It seems to me that, as you suggest, the 30% is a bit steep. Ether only charges 15% and is a system designed from the ground-up to handle this kind of service. Nonetheless, I think you are write: the volume of people on Skype will make a tremendous difference in popularizing this type of service.

  14. Could make it easy for language teachers to reach a broader market but 30% is a huge cut.

  15. There are new service for Skype Prime users. It is a very new service, but it seems it will be good place to create profile and charge for calls.
    Service available at http://www.primeskype.com/ .
    You are welcome :)

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