MySpace is calling on Skype in a social-networking world that is growing increasingly competitive. Specifically, MySpace and Skype announced a deal on Tuesday to give social networkers free voice communications.
With more than 110 million monthly active MySpace users and 220 million registered Skype users around the world, the partnership will connect two massive Internet communications platforms to create the world's largest online, voice-connected community.
The offering, dubbed MySpaceIM with Skype, is a new product that integrates MySpace's IM client with Skype's voice-calling capabilities. The partnership will enable users to link their MySpace profiles and photos or avatars to their accounts on Skype.
Keeping It Personal
Launching in November in 20 countries where MySpace has localized communities, MySpaceIM with Skype will literally let millions of users make free Skype Internet calls to other MySpace or Skype users without the need to download Skype software.
MySpaceIM with Skype leverages MySpace's personal privacy settings. Users who have a MySpace profile set to "private" cannot receive a Skype call from someone who
is not on their friends list, for example. And users can choose to allow only those individuals they have added to their Skype personal contact list to call them.
Plus, users can block anyone at any time, and can prescreen callers with the incoming call window.
Skype is available in 28 languages, but the ability for Skype users to link their Skype accounts to MySpace profiles won't be available in Japan, China, and Taiwan at launch.
Of course, MySpaceIM with Skype users can optionally select Skype's premium fee-based products, including SkypeOut, to make calls to landlines and cell phones. SkypeIn gives users a local number to receive calls wherever they are in the world from other people on landlines or cell phones.
Match Made in Cyberspace?
Skype has so far been a losing proposition for eBay. Skype CEO Niklas Zennstrom was forced from his job earlier this month as eBay moved to take greater control of the VoIP provider.
MySpace could offer a community more open to using Skype tools than the eBay community was, according to Mike McGuire, an analyst at Gartner. He explained that eBay has a healthy social network but that most buyers and sellers don't seem to want real-time voice communication. They just want to let the prices rise until action end.
"MySpace is about quick short-verse communication and chat channels stay open for hours," McGuire said. "MySpace seems like a community that may just be waiting for a VoIP application like Skype."
Financial terms of the MySpace and Skype deal were not disclosed.