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Skype Spam

The Register has published a scathing critique of Meg Whitman’s lead generation plan for Skype / EBay. 

However it’s eBay’s initial explanation of how it intends to use Skype that will give even VoIP’s most passionate advocates the willies. eBay hopes to monetize the user based by selling their account details to junk callers, at $2 to $12 per lead. Whether Skype users even get the chance to opt-out from this new form of "voice spam" remains to be seen, but eBay’s Whitman could have chosen a better example of ‘synergy’.

As we’ve seen with the internet, with its junk email, blog comment spam, and machine generated pages stuffing the search engines and diluting the search results – anything left open and untended simply becomes the next technological arms race. Closed networks rarely have this problem. Now eBay is handing the beleagured incumbents a marketing gift.

SPIT (Spam on IP Telephony) is going to be a huge problem, no doubt.  However, the Register is off base here.  EBay hides buyer / seller details today, precisely because disintermediating the buyer and seller is key to their business model.   It’s more likely that the incumbents are going to be the source of SPIT, in my opinion. 

And that is part of what Iotum is about… stay tuned.

{ 2 comments… add one }

  • Aswath September 14, 2005, 6:08 am

    I agree that Register is off base. In lead generation, I thought the buyer is the one who will originate the call to the seller. So where is the problem of SPIT?

    At the same time, I just do not see "$2 to $12 per lead" for voice calls. If that is what EBay is going to charge, the sellers will just settle for pay per click model, with the click enabling "callto" capability available in Skype.

  • Alec September 15, 2005, 8:25 am

    I guess it remains to be seen how they implement the lead generation feature, doesn’t it? Although EBay buyers and sellers could route around EBay by email, most don’t. I wonder why?

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