So today Skype have announced that they will start putting adverts out to all customers, even those who pay. I can see the point, after all it’s all about the money honey. Isn’t it?
Wait – I have a *paid* account. In fact – I pay quite a lot for my Skype account. Not just a few cents here or there – over a $100 a year plus extra if I call UK-based cell phones or ridiculous ‘easy-to-remember’ numbers for people like the bank or the tax office.
I pay. I pay a lot.
I do like Skype – really, it’s an awesome service and without it I can pretty much say that it would have been difficult, if not impossible for my wife and I to have met and formed a decent relationship. We used to use over 2500 minutes a month talking to each other on Skype. Hours and hours talking to each other made it so we knew each other like we’d gone to school together – despite at that point never having met in person and a physical separation of two continents and 4000 miles. Skype helped us fall in love. Skype helped us stay together through tricky traumatic reams of government paperwork and visas. It played a big part in the arrangements of our first nervous meetings. It allowed us to cry together, laugh together and grow one year older together. Skype was there, drenched in tears of happiness the day I called a sleepy future wife to tell her my interview at the US Embassy had gone well and we had the necessary permission for me to fly over permanently and for us to be allowed to marry.
That day was one of the most heart-burstingly happy moments I have ever had. I know Lisa felt the same way.
Nowadays Skype helps me work. In fact, without Skype my work would be a quiet message-filled experience snowed under a pile of time-shifted emails. It means I can hear my mother’s voice, even though she has no computer and it plays a critical part in letting me wave at my sister, my nephew, my Dad and his future wife and pull silly faces at them in a range of strange hats. Soon Skype might be there as I perform poetry to a foggy rain-damp UK audience whilst I stand, sun-brushed on the balcony of my apartment in the USA.
Skype…you are a good friend. Please don’t become a knuckle-dragging Neanderthal who drops adverts in my lap and screams sound-bytes in my ears. I *pay* for you to sit in the audience with me – if you invite along adverts who yell out at the wrong time and ruin the moment I’ll buy a new friend, one who values our friendship and the color of my money…
Calling Vonage and Google Voice – are you listening?