Jaanus out, Ike in!

Again one of the eldest Skype staff leaving the company! IMHO there are not many left from the beginning ages. Why? Ordinary career moves or something else?

Jaanus Kase was the main Blogger of Skype, and was also Root Administrator on the Skype Forums. In the whole beginning his Forum Username was Terminus, don’t ask me why.

In my opinion he was a really important person for the “marketing” of Skype. And, i loved the fact that he always permitted criticism on Skype in the forums, and even discussions about competing products. Yes … very clever to listen to the Skype Users and what they say about Jajah, VoIPStunt and others!

We will miss him. But i guess he will continue to provide us his views on his personal blog or here in miscrandom.com. Good luck with your Master studies Jaanus!

From a “very good source”, i know that Ike Roelfsema (see my previous post in this blog) will take over a big part of his job. I happen to know Ike already quite a long time (i however never met her … i cyber-know her or skype-chat-and-call-know her).

Good choice … she is a nice person, and it is probably a gift for her to be able to combine her Skype-hobby-passion with a job!

Congratulations and good luck Ike!


Did Ike become Skype Staff?

Yesterday i was looking on the Skype Forum to the profiles of the Skype Staff members, and then i saw this … (see picture). Ike Roelfsema, is a Dutch Woman Skyper living in Friesland, the Northern part of The Netherlands. She became (like myself, but later ;-) Super User on the Skype Forum – the first woman by the way - then Moderator, and now Root Administrator.

Strange, i thought all Root Administrators were Skype Staff?

Congratulations Ike, although i don’t know how long she already is Root Administrator.


1 million Skype allocations

My Skype account allocated me some Skype credit some days ago (May 25):
  • Amount allocated: 1.95 €
  • Allocation number: 1007895
  • Purchase order number: 95515924
What is a Skype allocation? It is Skype credit that you transfer from your account to other people through the Skype for Business Control Panel.

Is that a milestone? I don’t know! An allocation on its own doesn’t generate money!

In the meantime the number of Skype purchase orders will reach 100 million in the next days. This is indeed a milestone, purchase orders generate money!

All of them? Not really as explained in my previous post on this topic of October 21, 2006.

Quite strange indeed that an allocation gets two numbers:
  1. A purchase order number and …
  2. An allocation number
But this also means that not all “purchase orders” as defined by Skype are equivalent to income generation as it includes also:
  • vouchers
  • gifts (from Skype to some of its customers),
  • allocations
  • cancelled or rejected purchases
  • balance expirations
  • etc.


SkypeFind Brussels

This afternoon i played around with SkypeFind. Still way for improvement …

Believe me or not, there are 25 restaurants listed in Brussels.

Do the test yourself: search “What: restaurant – Where: Brussels – Find listings in: Belgium”.

OOPS! Only 9 listed!

Do the same search but replace Brussels with Brussel or Bruxelles, here are the results:
  • restaurant - Brussels: 9 found
  • restaurant - Brussel: 11 found
  • restaurant - Bruxelles: 14 found
The second search listed all the same, and two more.
The third search listed 14 different ones. So, 11 + 14 = 25 and i am not a liar ;-)

How come? In Dutch we say Brussel, in French we say Bruxelles, and in English, Brussels. Most people add a listing with the name of the city in one language, and when you make a search it only lists those locations with the exact spelling!

How to circumvent it? I listed my own business, and did put the location like this:
  • City: Gent - Ghent – Gand
  • Area: Oostakker (this is a suburb of Ghent)
And yes, now when i search for it, whatever of the above names i use as a search criterion (including the “area”) it finds it!

I have a car, therefore if i want to find a restaurant in my province (field “Region” in the SkypeFind database), and i put East Flanders as search location, it finds nothing. If i leave the city location blank it finds all the restaurants in Belgium, but some are really too far.

While registering my business, i hoped to find a field to put my Skype account name. NO WAY! Skype to Skype calls will always be free, but no way to put a Skype ID, business is business! Call your favourite businesses with SkypeOut! So, is Skype a TELCO?

Then i wondered if i could edit the listing of somebody else. Ooh yes! I saw that restaurant Ter Toren was listed in the city “Oostakker”. This is wrong, it should be Gent, so i changed it, and did put (like for my own business) Gent – Ghent – Gand. I could even add some more keywords. Could I have added “sex”, or “never hallal food” or something like that? I could even change the name of the business! What if somebody does that with the name of my business?

Therefore, some improvement work to do for Skype:
  1. Make the search “language independent” by making a database of postcodes linked to a name (for instance).
  2. Let the user refine the geographical zone he wants to search in
  3. Have a field for the Skype ID of the business
  4. Let Business Owner have exclusive rights on some fields (name, telephone number, etc.) or give them at least the possibility to “take control over it”, but I guess Skype marketers already thought about it: perhaps another way to make money in the future?
  5. Have an input for the geographical coordinates of the location, and link this with some route planner or Google Earth.
Yes, still work to do for Skype!



Yesterday i discovered (with some help ;-) the latest hidden emoticon:

(heidy) = (heidy)

And for those who are new to Skype, here are the other hidden ones:

(mooning) = (mooning)

(finger) = (finger)

(bandit) = (bandit)

(drunk) = (drunk)

(smoking) = (ci)

(toivo) = (toivo)

(rock) = (rock)

(banghead) = (headbang)

(hrv) = (poolparty)

(swear) = (swear)

(bug) = (bug)

(heidy) = (fubar)

(tmi) = (tmi)

Some explanations:
(toivo) = Toivo Annus is the name of a former Skype Staff member. He was head of engineering. His "signature" on the Skype Forum was "Dog ate my headset"!

(heidy) = is probably also a Skype Staff member or at least somebody related with Skype. I found this phrase on the Skype Blogs: "I just got off a video test call from a Lufthansa flight over the Atlantic on Boeing Connexion wifi service. I saw Heidy waving to me from the cafeteria in Tallinn."

(kate) = is an alternative to a known and shown emoticon. Try it! But who is this? There was a Skype Staff member called Kate. You can find her 3 posts under the Skype Forum name "Skype-Kate_"

(london) = is also an alternative to a known and shown emoticon. Quite funny!


Suzuki & Skype

About one week ago i received the “happylife” magazine send by Suzuki Belgium to subscribers (mainly Suzuki owners of course).

Surprise, surprise … on page 22 there is an article about “Free phoning through the Internet”.

They use the generic term VoIP, and of course they mention Skype (www.skype.com) first, but they also mention and give links of the following alternatives:
The link with Suzuki in the article? I don’t know, not one word about it!

I already pretended the growth of Skype was slowing down, and apparently one of the reasons is the fierce competition since some months in the VoIP market. When even companies who have no links with the telecom business already begin to write about VoIP and to mention competing products, it really means there are good alternatives to Skype!

The difference will be made through the additional services each solution offers: video, file transfer, earning money through your calls, desktop sharing, price differentiation, encryption, open standards, etc.


Download speed Down

In my last post i mentioned a quite unexpected increase in downloads of the Skype client, and gave some possible explanations for it. However, i think now the explanation should be looked for somewhere else, and i didn’t find any …

Why? Well, as sudden as the increase started, as sudden it disappeared, look on the Graph below. The slope of the (blue) download curve did bent down dramatically on May 10.

On May 9 the new Skype version 3.2 was released (out of beta version) so even this is no explanation, because here we should expect a surge in downloads, as a lot of people would and have upgraded now!

We are again at download speeds around 500 downloads per minute. What happened?

(the graph is adapted screenshot of nyanyan.to)


Download speed increase

I don’t check it as often as some months ago, but some minutes ago i checked the speed of downloads and i registered 1228 downloads/minute. Probably it has been even higher in previous days. In the last months the speed was almost always way below 1000 downloads/minute.


I saw several possible reasons:
I already blogged on the fact that Skype only gives gifts to the bigger countries (see link here, quite frustrating for the others, not because of the amount of the gift (10 minutes = 17 eurocents or about 12 US$ cents) but the principle!


May 1st, less Skypers

May 1st was in quite a lot of countries a Holiday (Celebration of the Working Class, or Workers Day, or Labour Day, or whatever). My Dutch neighbours do not seem to have a working class, because they don’t celebrate it!

For people who know my number analysis this will of course not be a surprise, but when major countries have a day off (and on May 1st it were several major countries), the number of concurrent users online goes down compared to other days. The same is valid for Saturday and Sunday, see the red curve on the graph below, taken from the Japanese site nyanyan.to.

When you look closely at the Friday before the weekend, the number of online users is also lower than on Thursday, probably because some Muslim countries have their weekend.

Strange also: it seems the download servers for the Skype client were down for a 48 hours period mainly over the weekend, see the flat portion of the blue curve above.


Witch hunting?

Skype continues to force domain names with the name “Skype” in it to close down their site or change the name.

In the past i saw some early developers or even supporters of Skype changing their name after pressure from the lawyers of Skype. And most of them stopped developing, because Skype took away their business idea.

Some examples …

  • Video4Skype: the first video conferencing tool for Skype
  • VSkype: the second video conferencing tool for Skype
I used both, and they were really added value for Skype, but they disappeared …

Some days ago, Jan from Malaysia was obliged to remove his blog on Skype called Skype-Watch.

Funny and I feel sorrow. Jan has in my opinion the best blog on Skype, followed by the “older” and more famous SkypeJournal. Skype Journal was never threatened like that i guess. And Jan has been a very big promoter of Skype.

Skype Journal also reported about this “incident” some days ago, and in a very surprised way. They don’t understand why! Perhaps they are the next victim? I don’t think so, i think there is some kind of “unwritten” agreement between Skype and Skype Journal.

Phil Wolff says: “My take: Sharma (the lawyer threatening Jan Geirnaert), didn't consult with Skype's PR or marketing communications team before composing her email”. Well, I think Phil is wrong here: Jan isn’t mentioned anymore in the “Friends of Skype” list in the Skype blog! So, there was conversation between the lawyers and marketing!

It is true that Jan has criticised Skype several times, especially concerning some security issues, but so do I, and so does Skype Journal (but, IMHO less than in the past!). It is true (in view of the ads on the blog) that Jan earns probably some “Google” dimes with his website, but so does Skype Journal.

If you want to continue to enjoy the blogging of Jan, look here: www.voip-watch.com.