I just took a Skype call from an "unknown" for research purposes. He was a 16 year old German lad who lives in Bavaria. He's finding Skyping pretty cool. His key objective was to practice his English --- (almost perfect) and so he's reaching out to America and Japan wanting to share culture and just talk English to other people. Simply curious.. probably didn't expect to get someone older than his father. So I did my questioning thing. He was checking it out. Hoping to get his AFS exchange girlfriend who's in San Diego on the system. Poor guy, he's getting beach shots and missing out.
Some might complain --- it was really a spam call. I didn't have to answer it and I could have rejected it. There was no profile - name or anything. Yet this perfectly illustrates the type opportunities that may emerge around Skype type technologies. This example for language, meeting people and cultural exchange. Who will create a safe haven for this kid to have his conversations? My son is a Spanish 3 sophomore. I know his Spanish isn't at the same level and yet who does he have to talk to? Who could buddy him and vice-versa. Skype potentially brings a real language lesson immediately into the home.
Yet another option for those social networking profiles. We've had PenPals now maybe it is TalkPals. However, Skype isn't going to get our profiles. They are probably already maxed out for data unless they think real carefully and provide a better brand charter. We are more likely to broker or spread our profiles. Reid (Linkedin)used the term "graphs" which I interpret as: Business, Personal, Professional, Household, Family, etc. The opportunity exists for a collection of permanently on Profiles --- Skypepages --- which will then list our other "trusted" directory and networking suppliers. A certain level of access and sharing will be required to dig deeper or get the number to connect. List on SkypePages for free and your listing on Skype will no longer be public but smart. Skypepages will only list name, zipcode or telephone number publically. Think how classmates matches people Skypepages can frequently change log-in addresses automatically updating your directory contacts just like Plaxo adding additional security. (Would this work?) The linkage engine is an initial prize. SkypePages can' be owned by Skype. So how does Skypepages make money. For a small fee it will link you to your other networks. Enabling them to provide the access you have contracted them to provide while retaining the knowledge that should you fire them and move your data or recast your profile elsewhere your "number" for calls always remains secure. Even SkypePages can't know it. Note: SkypePages doesn't need to know your e-mail address however it may need to collect your credit card. SkypePages can create the market for trusted social networks.
I believe this strategy is attractive as the name aggregator doesn't have to act as a universal trust broker only facilitate the market for trusted exchanges.
Anyone want to help build it? Any advice? The theory is Skype has to go after connecting to landlines and mobiles. That is where they make money. The directory is key to all sorts of value added new services created when call costs go to zero. Telecoms got rid of yellow pages etc as it wasn't a core business. Skype would be too ambitious to go there.