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Skype does directory enquiries and dirty chat lines

Value-added VoIP

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Popular VoIP service Skype has launched two new services, Skype Find and Skype Prime. Both are available worldwide and both services are currently in beta testing mode.

Skype Find, a business recommendation service, allows users to search for a service within an entered location, and see a listing of local companies that can provide that service, along with recommendations or comments from other Skype users. The listing is currently a little sparse, a search for restaurants in Scotland showed nothing until expanded to "food" in "UK", but it's early days.

The inevitable link to make a Skype call to the company concerned is present, along with one to add your business to their listing. At the moment this is without charge, though it would seem obvious that some sort of premium listing will come with time.

More interesting is the premium-rate connection service Skype Prime, which allows anyone to charge callers to contact them over Skype, at a rate they determine, with 30 per cent going to Skype as a handling charge. The idea is to allow the ranks of astrologers, cricket pundits and, let's be honest, sex lines, to move their businesses to Skype with little effort.

Callers to a Skype Prime service settle through PayPal which, according to UK premium-rate regulator ICSTIS, deems the service beyond its regulation.

Callers need to have the latest version of the Skype client software (3.1) to access the service.

Skype Find will only be really interesting when it starts charging for premium placement, and Skype Prime is going to have to work hard to avoid becoming a video sex line service.

Both services are indicative of a company which needs additional revenue streams to supplement the low long-distance call rates it charges. ®

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