It’s been a year since I wrote about Skype’s introduction of SkypeFind, their local business directory, so it’s about time to take another look to see how things have progressed.
First of all, getting included in SkypeFind is simple. You can submit yourself or have a friend do it and include a review (hopefully positive!). But, if you are looking for any SEO benefits, there aren’t any. This directory exists entirely within Skype (just click the SkypeFind tab in the Skype client software), so there’s no back link benefit. The idea is to provide businesses that can be called entirely within Skype.
What it does provide, however, is a way to have your phone number available from the desktop of millions of users. The potential here is fantastic.
There are two types of listings. The standard listing is what Skype users submit and rate in a manner not unlike Yelp or similar social sites. These listings include the name of the business, address, location and phone number. In these listings, if you call from Skype, you’ll be using Skypeout credit, which I have to assume limits the attraction. As far as I can tell, there’s no way to call a standard business listing Skype to Skype. This is disappointing because a lot of businesses do take Skype calls.
The second type of listing is for paid services, part of Skype Prime. The idea here is that a company or specialist will charge by the minute for advice. For instance, as an SEO, I could charge $1 per minute (or other amount) for Skype users to call me and ask for advice on optimizing their web site. Below is one way to advertise your service (see my post Instant S E O Overview Service via Skype).
I tried running a few searches and, unfortunately, the paid services seem to be sprouting like weeds. I doubt seriously that any of these folks are making money as Skype takes a big chunk of any per minute charge even if they do get any calls. And, the listings are full of, well, questionable experts like fortune tellers, prophets and dream interpreters.
Skype needs to implement some guidelines for listing submissions, especially the paid ones, along the lines of Yahoo Directory submissions (minus the hefty $299 per year fee, of course). They need to be reviewed and approved based on quality scores of some kind. What I am seeing appears to be a free-for-all like you would find in a really trashy free classified ad site.
And, considering the millions of Skype users worldwide, I’m a bit disappointed in the standard listings as well. For instance, when I searched for “search marketing” for the Los Angeles area in SkypeFind, there was only one standard listing and nine paid services, some in Europe, Costa Rica and elsewhere. Considering the population of the Los Angeles area, I find that ridiculous.
Needless to say, I’m disappointed in the progress that SkypeFind has made over the past year. What could be a powerful business resource seems to be a forgotten orphan. Will it hurt to be included in the directory? No, it’s free and you never know. You might even get a call and some business from it. But it’s certainly not Yelp or even the local Yellow Pages. Instead it’s a mishmash of questionable listings.
Without some serious attention, that fantastic potential is being wasted.