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Skype officially launched version 3.1 earlier this week. As we wrote about a few weeks ago, this includes a new feature that lets users find local businesses. This has clear synergies with its core product and represents an opportunity to build a pay-per-call model. There are also interesting social media components (rate, review and share info on local businesses) that will tie together nicely with Skype’s already existing social qualities.

CNET looks at these and other features, including Skype Prime, which will build further on these social networking attributes to create communities of buyers and sellers who can exchange knowledge on products or services. This will create a marketplace for knowledge to be transferred over VoIP. Rates will be established by knowledge “providers” of which Skype will take a 30 percent cut.

After this feature’s value is realized (or not) within this venue, something similar could be used as a fee based feature within eBay’s massive network. Or it could take the form a free value add to eBay’s network, where there are many buyers and sellers and a clear opportunity to facilitate conversions about, and buzz around, the products being auctioned.

There are lots of directions Skype can go to take advantage of a sizable (and quite loyal) global installed base, opportunities in local search, and synergies with its owner eBay. In this respect, it seems to be making all the right moves so far.


As an aside, I just realized the title of this post looks like something you might see on the menu at Venture Frogs, the now-defunct trendy SF “new economy” eatery whose menu was freckled with iconic fare such as “ garlic fries” or “Inktomi Cheesburger” (if it were still around, it might add “Yahoo! peanut butter and jelly sandwich” smile21.gif).

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