Skype Prime™ Beta — introducing the global expertise marketplace
Today, we put out an update of Skype 3.1 beta for Windows. [Download here.](http://www.skype.com/go/windows-beta) It contains the typical bugfixes and such from the previous release — thanks to everyone who’s been helping us with the reports. Keep them coming.
In this version, though, there’s one new feature that deserves more attention, since I believe it is really important, interesting, useful and fun. That’s a lot, I know. But bear with me. The feature is **Skype Prime Beta**. And I think it’s one of the most important innovative things that Skype has put out in quite a while.
### What is Skype Prime?
In short, it enables paid Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls. You can charge other people for calling you either a one-off fee or by the minute. Conversely, if you are the caller, you can call experts who charge for their services, and you can then pay the fee and access the expertise that the other call party provides.
Ever since Skype came out, and especially since SkypeOut was launched a bit less than three years ago and Skype first moved into the paid products space, you have been asking for this kind of feature, in addition to our free voice and video calls. “Skype is great for free high-quality voice and video, but every once in a while, I’d like to charge for my calls.” I’m happy to finally see us rolling this out, and I’m sure it will enable a whole new range of businesses. So nothing will change in our free global Skype-to-Skype calling, but on top of it, you can now have paid calls if you want.
]]>### How does it work?
When you call someone who is a Skype Prime call provider, and you both have the new version of Skype, the provider can initiate what we call a “payment request”. That is, all calls start as free, but you can then switch to the paid calling, charging either by the minute or a one-off fixed fee. The call then proceeds as a paid Skype Prime call and your Skype Credit is deducted by the appropriate amount that then goes to the receiver’s account. The provider does not get the call fees directly as Skype Credit — rather, they go into a special holding “box”. The provider then receives the revenue via PayPal.
### What’s interesting about Skype Prime?
Premium phone calls are nothing new either in the fixed line or mobile space. Typically, though, such calls have been limited to particular countries. You cannot call paid services in other countries. Call providers typically need to set up different access numbers in different countries and it may get confusing to the customer very quickly.
With Skype Prime, there are no such borders. Similarly to [global toll-free calls](http://blogs.skype.com/sites/en/2005/07/free_calls_to_tollfree_phone_n.html), Skype Prime is available to call providers and callers globally. If you are a call provider, though, see the note about PayPal countries below. If you are the caller, you just need sufficient Skype Credit and can then call providers wherever they are.
Another way how Skype is “more than a phone” with Skype Prime is that you can also have paid video calls with Prime. This has not really been possible previously in the regular phone system. Since we first launched the free Skype Video feature, we have received many moving stories about how it has really made a difference, for example from family members living on different continents who have been able to see each other’s faces again after being separated for years. We believe that Video coupled with Prime will similarly boost many services that were previously unfeasible.
With Prime, we have tried to lower the barrier of entry for call providers. Pretty much anyone can sign up, with the only requirement being that you are in a country where you can withdraw money via PayPal, and of course, subject to our [terms of service](http://support.skype.com/index.php?_a=knowledgebase&_j=questiondetails&_i=1156). The low effort for signing up, combined with more than 171 million Skype users globally who are all potential users for Skype Prime, and the possibility of making both voice and video calls, surely opens some new and interesting opportunities.
You haven’t seen too much talk on this blog about the “power of three”, or eBay-PayPal-Skype integration. I prefer action to talk. With Skype Prime, you can see how we use PayPal as the delivery vehicle for call provider revenues. It’s to date one of the more interesting integrations we have done in the wider eBay family, with Skype Buttons on eBay listings being the previous example, and more to surely follow.
### What else do I need to know?
Skype Prime is a new feature that’s not backwards-compatible. Both the caller and call provider need to be using Skype 18.104.22.168 beta for Windows or newer. We will also roll it out on other platforms in the future.
If you are a Prime call provider, you withdraw your revenues via PayPal. The availability of withdrawing money via PayPal is limited to certain countries only (though I know they are working constantly to expand their coverage). Please [ensure that you can withdraw money from your PayPal account](https://www.paypal.com/cgi-bin/webscr?cmd=_display-approved-signup-countries-outside) before signing up as a call provider.
### How can I learn more? How do I actually use Skype Prime?
If you wish to become a Skype Prime call provider, then first download and install the new Skype for Windows beta. Then, just open the “Tools” menu and click “Earn money with Skype Prime”, and follow the on-screen instructions. For more information, see the [Skype Prime FAQ](http://support.skype.com/?_a=knowledgebase&_j=subcat&_i=67).
### I found a bug / I have some feedback
Please see the [Skype for Windows development page](https://developer.skype.com/WindowsSkype) for feedback options, and see the new [Skype Prime forum](http://forum.skype.com/index.php?showforum=134). You can also [come join our Skype Prime public chat](http://ui.skype.com/ui/0/22.214.171.124/en/publicchats-join?skypename=srobesky&topic=Skype%20Prime%20Beta%20Chat&blob=wN9oidKUEg23CZX3ohNxD-YSQbS7FI9BYfZ03YWH1wyFHcPfzY97L1VdHSMkoTwrkqxkLY7P7j9uzK2FMP5n).