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The Net Takeaway: Skype annoys...

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Skype annoys... · 06/29/2005 03:07 PM, Tech

I usually love Skype; we’ve called Russia, Israel, and the UK and connected with family and friends that used to cost a fortune to call. Yes, its free if both sides use Skype, but it costs (a small amount) to call landlines and a big amount to call mobiles, so always ask people if its their landline or not.

That being said, they have a really annoying “feature”. They don’t allow a credit card to pay for more than one account. So, when I filled up my wife’s Skype account, that was it. We share a credit card (as do most familes), so when I went to fill up my Skype account, it was rejected. Better still, CapitalOne put a hold on the card assuming there was fraud (sounds like Skype is not well respected, not a good sign for VOIP). Skype says that this is to prevent fraud, but I’ve never had another online service need this level of fraud protection, which sounds like they have security problems.

Got it all cleared up, but still have no way to pay for Skype other than using Paypal. They won’t take Amex, and I am not going to get another Visa just to fill up Skype.

I don’t understand why people have such a tough time with the Small-N situation. Instead of allowing just one, let a card be used for 4 total accounts. After that, reject; if you see abuse, close all accounts until its straightened out. That way, you don’t inconvenience real users, but you do stop mass abuse. Same for software license codes, by the way.

So, really want to give them my money, but they are making it exceedingly hard.

Lots of competitors popping up (JaJah, reviewed here) and first mover advantage may fade if people literally cannot get the money to the company.

BTW, ran across this article about an open source alternative called Gizmo. This is run by Michael Roberts of MP3.com fame and now Linspire, a linux for windows users.

Anyway, its hard enough to get people to want to pay you, so a simple rule of business might be to try not to prevent that payment from happening via poor process. And perhaps time to consider some better fraud protection than the one card per account, since that substantially reduces my confidence that you can stop fraud. Silly me, but I am the customer.

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