Originally uploaded by rustedrobot.

I’ve been reading quite a few articles lately regarding EBay’s recent purchase of Skype. For those of you who don’t know (or care), Skype is a very cool little downloadable application which allows you to speak to anyone in the world through your computer. Not your phone – your computer, provided you have a suitable microphone set up, which most computers do.

The rub? The other person you’re talking to also needs to be using Skype in order for it to work. I downloaded Skype about a year ago and tried it out with a co-worker, had some fun, and pretty much forgot about it. I thought (and still think) that it’s a damn neat application, I just couldn’t find anybody out there who also used it.

A lot of their users are overseas, which could certainly explain some of it. I do have some overseas conversations at work from time to time and just a few weeks ago, I did dust off the ‘ol Skype and used it with no problem. That was the first person in a year that I used it with.

Man, if everyone and their mothers only used this thing, though!

Anyway, so I’m reading several articles about how Skype has 54 million registered users worldwide – now that is definitely a boffo number, but I’m finding it very disappointing that journalists just throw that number out there and leave it at that. There’s so much more to the story.

For example, I’m one of those 54 million “users” and I’ve used it exactly twice in the 12+ months that I’ve had it on my machine, for a total, no lie, of about 12 minutes. So rule out X% of the people who have downloaded it and never used it.

Then you have your users who only use it , say, once per month or once every few weeks. They’re also a part of the 54 million, but what faith can you put in their sporadic use? Little.

What journalists should be poking for and reporting is active usage. Weed through all the PR speak about 54 million registered members and find out what the active usage number is and furthermore, how Skype defines active usage. To me, active usage means using something once per week. Just my opinion, which I typically stick with when sussing out opportunities with potential partners at my own job.

All that said, it would have been nice if someone from the press had really poked a stick at this to find out what percentage of the 54 million registered users use Skype at least once per week.

By the way, EBay is putting up $2.6 billion to buy Skype, a company which had $60 million in revenue last year. The deal eventually could net Skype up to $4 billion!

One question you may be asking yourself, provided I haven’t given you the ultimate dose of sleeping medication with this post, is why would Ebay get in this game? Well, that remains to be seen. Surely one can envision a scenario where someone who’s bidding on something via Ebay wants to connect and speak instantly with the seller to ask questions – Skype is that vehicle. But it will be interesting to see what else they might have up their sleeve.

All that said – I love Skype and I’m looking forward to more people having it! I just wish the press would dig a little more when throwing numbers out to the general public.