A lot of Consumerist readers use Skype. (I mostly use it to call my cell phone when I can’t find it, but I also use SkypeIn for my business line.) Many of said readers, such as George, have technical or billing problems with Skype, but can’t get a response out of the Web-based customer support system. What should they do?
Hey Skype, If You're Going To Sell Other People's Numbers, At Least Have A Customer Service Department
George’s outgoing Skype calls properly display his SkypeIn number, but if anyone tries to call him back, they’re connected the number’s rightful owner, a nice old woman in Raleigh, NC. George wants to know why Skype sold him someone else’s number, but the internet telecom apparently doesn’t pay anyone to answer their phones.
An internet auction giant, payment processor and ticket broker? Or the parent company of CNBC, retail store card giant, maker of light bulbs and appliances… No, we don’t mean the Sheinhardt Wig Company…
TV stations looking to save money can do so by interviewing guests remotely over Skype, as WTVT in Tampa did, live, with me this morning. No more paying for car service or bottled water!
Skype offers unlimited long distance for $2.95 a month. [Reuters]
Pudding Media is like Skype except that it’s free, supported by the ads it displays on your computer which change based on your topics of conversation. [NYT]
Last week’s two-day Skype outage was due to millions of users across the globe restarting their computers after a Windows Security update. [Skype]
Skype went down early this morning because on an unspecified “software problem.” According to Skype’s website, the outage may last from 12 to 24 hours.
“We think there will be a lot of Wal-Mart shoppers who will not be familiar with Skype,” said Don Albert, general manager for Skype North America, a unit of eBay Inc.
Not calling home on Mother’s Day because it’s too expensive? Skype’s got you covered.
If you’re in the US or Canada, Skype’s giving you unlimited calling from 5am EST on May 13 to 4:49am EST on May 14 to ring up your mom, your sister, or just random numbers in India.
This is the perfect opportunity to practice recording calls with Skype, especially if you’re calling random numbers in India. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER
This particular device was involved in a landmark United States regulatory decision related to telecommunications. The 1968 Federal Communications Commission allowed the Carterfone and other devices to be connected directly to the AT&T network, as long as they did not cause damage to the system. This ruling created the possibility of selling devices that could connect to the phone system and opened up the market to numerous products, including answering machines, fax machines, cordless phones, computer modems and the early, dialup Internet.
The Carterphone provision was never applied to cellphones, giving providers a closed system. If Skype successfully petitions the FCC, cellphones could be “unlocked” to third-party applications such as Skype. This could be good for you, the Skype-loving consumer. —MEGHANN MARCO
Starting January 31st, 2007, Skype users placing calls to domestic numbers will pay an annual fee of $30 for unlimited usage.
…but he doesn’t “like like” it.
Have you ever wished you could prank call a stinking Euro for free? Maybe I — John Brownlee, for those of you who think my name is ‘Ben’ or, even worse, “and Company” — wrote something that really stuck in your craw and, perhaps, a phone call made from the flatulent hollow of your butt seemed in order. But, on the other hand, why waste money on a punk like me?
Someone over at StreamCast Networks is channeling the ogresque spirit of Patrick Byrne: they’ve sued eBay, Skype and 21 other companies for engineering an insidious, overarching conspiracy to cost StreamCast billions of dollars. Luckily, they did not describe the conspiracy as originating from the Dark Lord of the Sith, but you generally don’t say such a thing in a legal briefing.
Like Google, Skype’s a great service, but their flexible ethics when it comes to user’s privacy lacks the same quality of excellence. We shortly mentioned that Skype’s user agreement includes wire-tapping provisos, but now they’ve gone the whole hog: their Chinese service includes a special chat censorship feature.
• Find free wifi nearby with your cellphone at ilovefreewifi.com. Stalking on a shoestring has never been easier.