Recipe for a Sustainable Skype Partner Business

At a session on business opportunities for the Skype API’s this afternoon. Charles Carleton, CEO of Jyve.com, gave a presentation on the recently launched Jyve Pro service. In the ensuing Q&A he commented on how his business relationship with Skyp. Key elements of Jyve Pro:

  • Jyve Pro allows “experts” to charge for services delivered via Skype, such as music instruction or provision of personalized technical support.
  • Jyve Pro is linked into payment systems such that revenue can be obtained via, say, PayPal regardless of whether it is a metered or fixed rate service.
  • Jyve Pro manages sessions, tracks usage; it can be embedded into a website or weblog.
  • Jyve Pro also includes a Directory listing available services by categories.
  • Also available are evaluation/feedback forms and reporting features to provide analytics on usage.

Jyve has been known for developing presence and chat tools whose functionality have since been incorporated into Skype. But they developed these tools as a precursor to developing the Jyve Pro service only because they were not available in Skype at the time; they did not see them as building a sustainable business. Charles made two key points in response to a Q&A question that came up:

  1. Jyve Pro’s ultimate value is provided through their aggregation of service providers (under their current beta program they already have 600); this is where they provide a unique, difficult to replicate service.
  2. While they currently depend on Skype as the delivery vehicle, there is no reason they cannot migrate the service to MSN, Yahoo and/or Google should either the Skype relationship sour or one or more of these players become as relevant a player as Skype in the Voice 2.0 space.

Important points to keep in mind if you are looking to partner with Skype:

  1. It’s the customer partners and uniqueness of the service that builds value
  2. Look for services that be can be readily migrated to other delivery vehicles.

This is no different from the experience 15 to 20 years ago where a variety of DOS utility products came and went because the utility publisher focussed on the technology (which often was often eventually incorporated into a Microsoft offering) rather than building a sustainable business servicing its customer base.

About Jim Courtney

Bringing over thirty years' experience in the sales, marketing and management of cutting edge technology businesses.

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