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    NevOn is the archive weblog of Neville Hobson, a British business communicator based in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, a record of commentary and conversations from December 2002 until 22 February 2006. This site is no longer updated - please visit www.nevillehobson.com.
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08 February 2005


Andrew Hansen

The Skype forum is actually moderated and created by Skype, their are a large group of beta testers dubbed "superusers" that volunteer time to help people solve Skype related issues. This is probably the only company forum that isn't censored for content, by the manufacturer, which is actually quite refreshing.

There are an estimated 400 000 + SkypeOut customers; the few that constantly complain are the minority, but Skype has improved payment and SkypeOut services - the growing pains are tough when you go from zero customers to 400 000 in 6 months..

Shel Holtz

I had nine some-odd euros in my account a week ago. I haven't made any Skype Out calls. Yesterday I went and checked and I had zero euros. Indeed, there is big trouble in Skype-out land.

Neville Hobson

Thanks for the clarification re the forums, Andrew. I've seen a lot of 'superusers' in there, ID'd as such by a little avatar saying that. Not seen anyone ID'd from the company, although I haven't studied every forum or every post.

It may well be that the minority constantly complain, as you say. Indeed, from looking at some of the posts, there are many from the same people going on about the same things. And I also noticed lots of complaints re payment (ie, being unable to make them) and disappearing credits, such as Shel mentioned in his comment here.

I'm a big fan of Skype, and I've posted lots of positive commentary in my blog since I started using the service last July. By and large, I have no complaints. But it seems to me that the story I highlighted re my wife's negative SkypeOut experiences isn't a minor complaint and it's one that many others complain about. It doesn't appear that anyone is getting any answers or satisfaction. Or is it that some are and we don't know who they are because no one is saying good things in the forum, only complaining?

The live help feature isn't much good, either, if my wife's experiences with that are anything to go by. Probably overloaded as she's waited a good 15 minutes for someone to respond each time before giving up.

So unsuccessful attempts at getting help = continuing unhappy customer.

I agree with you that the customer growth has been amazing in such a short time. The improvements you mention are great company perspectives. But if you have customers experiencing real problems in using the service, would they care much about that? That's not their experience.

Having also been a volunteer in a user forum (not Skype), I know it can often be a thankless task when what you constantly see are lots of constantly complaining customers. But that surely must send a big alarm signal to the company. Is anyone there listening to that? Doesn't look like it.

Sean Langheim

I'm having a lot of trouble purchesing minutes, i think the program is great but i'd really like to get started. Is there anyway i can trial minutes like 5 or so minutes free for a trial? I wanna talk but i cant even buy minutes. Please help.

Neville Hobson

Sean, that's a question you need to direct to Skype.



SkypeOut is also not usually the cheapest provider for international calls - you can compare providers rates at: http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/callchecker/index.php

You can often find others with similar or slightly lower rates, eg when I selected Costa Rica:

Abroadtel 3p/min (08448960003)
SkypeOut: 3.6p/ min ex vat 4.1p/min inc vat

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