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Skype understands the Long Tail ... and information intermediation.

Skype announced a new voice content distribution model in a Press Release yesterday. They get the Long Tail and they understand the revenue power from information intermediation, as Google and Ebay do.
 "Internet standards are opening the traditionally closed phone network. With the adoption of VoIP for transport and VoiceXML as the application language, now anyone, anywhere can build creative new services for the phone," said Mike McCue, Tellme CEO and Co-founder. "By partnering with Skype, we believe this community will begin to set the standard for the way people build, buy and deliver phone services globally."
Skype's got the distribution and they have a nice revenue model through Skype Credits, meaning they 1) take a cut on the paid VoiceXML content and 2) make money on the float as well, since you buy credits upfront and there's a lag before you consume them (via Murli Ravi).
Skype callers will pay for chargeable voice services from their Skype Credit account with a percentage of the fee going to the content provider who created the service. Content providers’ voice services will be reviewed and the most popular will be deployed and listed on the Skype website. Details about how to submit applications and the fee structure will be announced later this month.
The W3C is working on standards for text to speech, (including say-as attribution tags for dates, phone numbers and maybe emotions), meaning that text content can be rendered into voice, converted to RSS, which is just another XML language, like VoiceXML, and then bought and distributed through Skype.
The convergence of telecommunications and the Web is now bringing the benefits of Web technology to the telephone, enabling Web developers to create applications that can be accessed via any telephone, and allowing people to interact with these applications via speech and telephone keypads.
So, no need to "browse" the internet on a small screen, for those who still believe that the mobile internet is about surfing the web on your mobile phone.
But the mobile is more than just browsing ... it's about background and foreground functions. Podcasting is a background function, since you download your podcasts at night, and then listen to them when you've got the time.
In fact, the notion of background should be extended to include the automated functions, ie. the work, that you delegate to your laptop or mobile phone while you're off doing something else. For instance, downloading podcasts, downloading torrents, distributed computing, tracking RSS feeds, presence on IM, logging IRC channels, and arguably your blog (virtual self) are some of the "work" that can occur in the background. But this is getting a bit off the track and deserves its own post ;)
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September 9, 2005 in Mobile & Wireless, Web/Tech, Weblogs | Permalink


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I love the idea of your blog being an "automated function" that's working for you in the background while you're busy doing something else. That's spot on!

Posted by: Stuart Mudie | Sep 9, 2005 6:32:30 AM

let's see. things like voip, voip service providers, and vxml have been around for a very long time. there are many reasons they haven't gone anywhere.

one benefit for skype is that, while it's repeating what has gone before, it seems to be succeeding on a much beigger scale than the poor suckers who tried all this in the late 90's.

Posted by: charlie | Sep 13, 2005 2:42:55 AM

ah, thought of this yesterday and wrote it without knowing the news.

it could be that not only is skype rehashing an old model, but finding new cusotmers.

now, which way will it go?

Posted by: charlie | Sep 13, 2005 4:09:51 AM

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