2006-09-16

Forcing the viral growth???

Skype was – in the past – proud of its viral growth. But business is business, and they try to attract people by gifts and promotions, hoping to generate more revenue through SkypeOut, SkypIn and Skype certified products. The last two promotions in September were:
  1. Free SkypeOut for France in France
  2. September Giveaway for USA and Canada

For the time being this has been unsuccessful IMHO! See the graph below:

Even if MuppetMaster pretends downloads isn’t a measure of the growth of Skype (and i partially agree with this), the number of downloads should have shown some acceleration if these Skype Marketing campaigns mentioned above had been successful. Indeed, a bunch of new users downloading Skype should show a change in pattern in the download curve, as it was some months ago when they launched the free SkypeOut in Canada and the USA. It doesn’t: almost straight line growth since several months.

September Giveaway was targeting mainly students, and this (probably) proves again that the Skype Users are mainly adult professional users.

Skype Users seem to be also quite often small businesses. But French small business mainly have their customers in France (France is a big country), and phone calls inside France are not free but quite cheap. Belgian small business (as an example), because of the tiny size of the country, do more business abroad (in France for instance), therefore they are more interested in reducing their phone call bills.

So? Why trying to force Viral Growth? Let it grow the usual way, by improving mainly quality, reliability and services.

One of my new “Skype Customers” told me: Skype to Skype has a fantastic quality, but SkypeOut isn’t that good, but it is much cheaper indeed! She phones to her family in Algeria, and lives in Belgium! Improving quality will attract more Small Businesses!

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Jean,
Downloads never was a very good indicator of Skype growth, and as we go forward it will become even more worthless. Note that devices like Netgear have Skype pre-installed, and you can download the software from more and more places other than the Skype servers. Concurrent online Skype IDs is a much better indicator of growth. At least it shows bumps and dips in the trend line that one can associate with real conditions on the Internet or in Skype's popularity. I think the lack of bumps and dips in the line showing downloads tells us that the line is irrelevant, but it does NOT tell us that recent promotion schemes have been ineffective.

Jean Mercier said...

Anonymous,
I agree withe the "Downloads never was a very good indicator of Skype growth", but even a slight but significant- increase in the number of new users should have shown up!
It didn't!

Anonymous said...

Jean,
I agree with you that it is surprising not to see any effect coming from marketing programs, but the downloads line has not shown a SIGNIFICANT bump or dip in almost two years. It's been a straight line. So the fact that you don't see a bump attributed to the recent marketing schemes is irrelevant, or so it seems to me. The downloads line does not even show the "summer slowdown" (shown in the graph of concurrent online ID's). Before trying to explain the present, I'd like to know how you explain the past. I have no answers.

In the future, the downloads line will become even more irrelevant as devices come with Skype pre-loaded and as the software is distributed by means other than Skype's download servers.

Jean Mercier said...

Anonymous,

I disagree with your statement the downloads line has not shown a SIGNIFICANT bump or dip in almost two years.

See my previous post:
free SkypeOut in USA and Canada

Jean Mercier said...

Anonymous,

I would like to add something, even the day-night fluctuations in downloads are visible when monitoring every five minutes the number of downloads, see the "waves on the rising download curve" through the Japanes site mentioned on my post i lost the monopoly or directly here

tropicaljantie | jan geirnaert said...

the download indicate indeed how many people want to get the newest updates or hotfix... it also shows that people come back for more. after all if something would be crap, you would never download the update. of course it does not indicate anything on the matter of users...i wonder why / how one could see (based on the ip-numbers) the number of downloads per country/region/continent.