eStara has been in the online click-to-call business longer than just about anyone. They have some perspectives on the eBay-Skype deal via their news release that is interesting.
Funny, I actually just remembered I theorized along with skibare that eBay would get into the VoIP click-to-call business back in January.
In my January blog post titled 'eBay and VoIP' I wrote:
The buyer and seller get the benefit of anonymity - you don't have to give your home phone number or cell phone number out - yet they can still talk with the seller to ask questions.
eBay could simply add a checkbox when the seller is creating the item listing called "Allow buyers to Skype/Xten you?" or whatever softphone client they choose to let the seller decide whether or not they wish to be contacted on a per auction per item basis.
I know I've had questions buying stuff on eBay and it was such a hassle having 3 or 4 back and forth email interactions when one simple VoIP call would have sufficed.
Always nice to be an accurate prognosticator! For my next prediction I predict the New York Yankees will beat the Red Sox in a one-game playoff tie-breaker ;)
Check out the eStara release below...
In eBay's presentation to investors regarding the purchase of Skype for $2.6 billion (http://investor.ebay.com/downloads/050912ebay.pdf), the online auctioneer listed the monetization of lead generation as a primary objective. By adding Skype's VoIP capabilities, eBay hopes to venture into the burgeoning pay per call market. Can Skype deliver what eBay hopes?
Joe Siegrist, Senior Vice President of Technology at eStara (www.estara.com) -- the world's leading developer of VoIP-based click to call applications -- is available to comment on the latest developments surrounding pay per call. Siegrist directs software development and systems operations for eStara. An innovative software architect and accomplished VoIP development leader, Siegrist holds three patents and is a named inventor on a dozen patent applications in the voice over Internet and Internet-initiated calling space.
"Companies are beginning to realize the commercial uses of VoIP are huge," says Siegrist. "As the only VoIP-based pay per call provider, eStara is supporting industry leaders, like Verizon Superpages, by developing pay for performance solutions that work online and in print."
According to Siegrist, "eBay has correctly seen the potential of the pay per call market, but their acquisition has been driven by the stand-alone potential of Skype as a revenue generator. Based on what eBay has planned for potential applications resulting from the Skype acquisition, it's clear that eStara, and others, are further along in the development of pay per call and click to call services."
The Kelsey Group predicts that by 2009 pay per calls will reach an estimated $1.4 billion. "We know that in order to be a player in pay per call, you have to offer phone to phone connectivity," said Siegrist. "Moreover, pay per call is not a peer to peer application, it has to combine both online and conventional telephony components."
With more than 350 large enterprise clients across hundreds of countries in 15 languages, eStara's technology is the most widely deployed click to call service in the world. "It appears that eBay is buying Skype on the promise that they can deliver what eStara has been doing since 2000, which is bridging phone-based and online customer interaction," said Siegrist