Thursday, October 18, 2007

Skype and MySpace Hookup - Big-Time Community Building

First chance I've had to post about this. Yesterday, Skype announced they were partnering with MySpace, with a Beta version now available.

I'm a long-time Skype user - and fan - but am not yet doing the social networking thing - but soon. So, I can't really comment first hand about MySpace, but clearly, their base of 110 million "active" users is a big pool for Skype to wade into. Perhaps more important is MySpace's 25 million IM users, who should be well-primed to start using Skype for voice and video calling.

It's hard to see how this can't be a good thing for Skype. Financial details have not yet been provided, so I don't know if much cash or stock has traded hands. With Niklas Zennstrom's recent resignation, and Meg Whitman's more recent acknowledgement that eBay overpaid for Skype - with a large subsequent writedown on their investment - this move comes at a good time.

Going back to their early days, Skype talked about building communities and directory services as part of the growth plan. Even though they continue to add features, this really hasn't happened. Since then, others have come along to really define and own the social networking space. Given how quickly this space is moving, and with MySpace being displaced by Facebook as king of the hill, this strikes me as a good move on both sides.

Looking ahead, let's not forget that MySpace is Fox company. With consolidation still being a dominant trend, this partnership could lead to some interesting developments as it unfolds. Could Fox Interactive have further plans to integrate Skype with other media properties? If things go well, would Fox want to take Skype off of eBay's hands? Going a step or two to the right, with all their content, might Fox see this as a stepping stone working more closely with Joost? Just a few thoughts to ponder. But for now, the name of the game is getting MySpace IM users to start making calls with Skype, and I suspect we'll start seeing some strong pickup pretty quickly.

Oh, if you're still with me here, and want to learn more about how Skype and MySpace will actually work together, the ever-present Skype Journal is a good place to start.

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