Blind Research Study Says Skype Users Prefer ooVoo

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Blind Research Study Says Skype Users Prefer ooVoo

oovoo-app.jpgooVoo told me they had recently commissioned a study with some interesting results, which will be released on Monday. A blind study conducted by a third party research firm revealed that ooVoo was preferred by 8 our of 10 Skype users.I couldn't help but reminded of the famous Trident slogan/study which said 4 out of 5 dentists preferred sugarless gum. In fact, it's exactly double!

So is this study legit or manufactured? Was this study done by an independent research group or in-house? Attacking "big boy" Skype could simply be used to drum up controversy or interest. I've only used ooVoo a couple of times and that was years ago. I do remember being impressed with the features, including built-in recording capabilities. Still.... Better than Skype?

So I asked an ooVoo representative who actually did the study.

The response:
Web Tel Research conducted the research in the third party study. Web Tel is an independent market research firm with 30+ Years experience in advertising & marketing research.  The firm is focused on quantitative & qualitative research in new product and emerging technology areas.

Ok, so we at least know it was done by a third party. I'll leave aside my skepticism even with 3rd party studies for the moment. Let's assume the study is 100% legit. So what are the precise results? Well, the study results showed that ooVoo is preferred by 8 out of 10 Skype users, who cited superior sound and video quality as some of the reasons why they favored ooVoo for a better video communication experience.

Thus, the study wasn't about "eye candy" (prettiest app) or the coolest emoticons or sounds. This study examined the core features of any VoIP / video chat app - sound quality and video quality. If indeed ooVoo performs better than Skype in these 2 areas, that certainly might make me want to switch to ooVoo. Skype is renowned for its VoIP sound quality and its HD video quality as well. Skype is also renowned for its ability to penetrate any firewall - it just works. The study doesn't state whether or not ooVoo has similar firewall penetration capabilities, but I installed ooVoo and it worked just fine with no firewall reconfiguration.

"The research results confirm what users have been telling us about ooVoo quality vs. Skype," said Philippe Schwartz, CEO, ooVoo.  "We have built an innovative and scalable technology and infrastructure optimized for the delivery of high-quality video and audio.  Based on consumer feedback, ooVoo users enjoy more consistency than what Skype and other video chat companies are offering."

In addition to quality, a number of factors contribute to users' overall preference of ooVoo over Skype.  For example, ooVoo offers 6-way multi-point chat, versus Skype which offers only 5-way, a feature that's currently in a beta testing phase and has experienced a number of bugs. ooVoo hosts video chat on dedicated servers that keep quality more consistent. Skype's technology relies on users' individual processors making service less reliable in situations with uncertain bandwidth.

"We led the video chat industry for three years with high-quality multi-point, while it took three years for Skype to catch up," said Schwartz.   "Our core technology and infrastructure give us a concrete foundation to continue our history of innovation in cutting-edge applications such as mobile and high-definition video."

Timing and methodology: 
- The study was conducted on December 10, 2009 and January 18-22, 2010, and measured Skype users' opinions on video quality (no audio), audio quality (no video), conversational quality (both video and audio), telephone sound quality and telephone conversational quality of Skype and ooVoo. 
- The study was conducted throughout 13 separate sessions, each with approximately 10 to 11 Skype users, with survey participants located in New York and a facilitator located in Berkeley, California. The study was designed so the users saw and heard Skype and ooVoo in comparable conditions.
- During the blind study, only the video windows of both Skype and ooVoo were exposed side-by-side in comparable sizes as to avoid any recognition on the part of the Skype user.

Obviously, hiding the Skype window (bolded above) was critical to ensure that loyal Skype users weren't biased in their preferred choice.

Findings:
- 68 percent of Skype users prefer ooVoo sound quality over Skype sound quality.
- 68 percent of Skype users prefer ooVoo video chat conversational quality over Skype video chat conversational quality.
- 80 percent of Skype users prefer ooVoo telephone sound quality over Skype telephone sound quality.
- 78 percent prefer ooVoo telephone conversational quality over Skype conversational quality.
- 84 percent of Skype users, when asked to consider all tests, prefer ooVoo over Skype.

I'm going to give ooVoo another go since it's been awhile since I've used it. I'm going to use it for awhile and see how I like it. I hope to post a full review soon and give you my straight up opinion if indeed ooVoo is better than Skype. Stay tuned!


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