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tuitalk: Ads-Supported VoIP Calls

Posted by: Olga Kharif on August 26, 2008

I just heard about an interesting new service, tuitalk, which, if successful, could potentially alter Skype’s business model.

Let me explain: tuitalk is currently only available in Turkey. But in September, it will enter 37 countries, including the U.S. and Canada. The service allows anyone with a computer to call phone numbers in many countries around the world for free. (Remember, Skype charges for this feature, which it calls Skype Out). The catch is, the caller has to view a 30-second ad from the likes of BMW or IMAX at the beginning of the call. That’s similar to Virgin Mobile USA’s Sugar Mama program, offering users free minutes for viewing ads.

For years now, people have speculated that Skype should get more aggressive about monetizing on its network of more than 300 million users worldwide through ads. Until now, Skype has made its money by charging users for services like Skype Out. If truitalk takes off, perhaps Skype will need to reconsider its business model.

Reader Comments

Jahangi Raina

August 27, 2008 2:56 AM

There have been numerous such experiments in the industry right since mid nineties. they have all failed. i am sure someone will emerge out of this ad based telephony at some point. unfortunately we are only able to analyse in retrospect why company X made it. we are not smart enought to tell at the outset that X is likely to make it.

Rezzan Silver

August 27, 2008 9:06 AM

Interesting service. I ve never heard about it before. I did a quick googling and find out this for who might be interesting in having free phone calls.

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Bloomberg Businessweek writers Peter Burrows, Cliff Edwards, Olga Kharif, Aaron Ricadela, and Douglas MacMillan, dig behind the headlines to analyze what’s really happening throughout the world of technology. Tech Beat covers everything from tech bellwethers like Apple, Google, and Intel and emerging new leaders such as Facebook to new technologies, trends, and controversies.



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