Going Free for Marketing's Sake

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Yesterday Skype announced that its' SkypeOut product will be free in the US and Canada until the end of 2006. You now officially have no reason to try it out.

Via Pocket-Link.co.uk: Millions of consumers around the world are flocking to Skype every month, and we believe free SkypeOut calling will rapidly accelerate Skype adoption in the US and Canada”, said Henry Gomez, General Manager, Skype North America. “We’re very excited to be bringing Skype’s convenience and voice quality to so many people for free.”

The announcement got me thinking that while you may miss out on some revenue, offering your products or services for free (even for a limited time) can help grow your user base and the buzz around your enterprise. The scuttlebutt is that Skype may be missing out on a fair share of revenue (although they only earn a paltry nine cents per month per use according to BusinessWeek), but when you look at the value all those new users could provide to Ebay, it all seems to make sense.

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