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eBay announced that it would begin adding "Skype Me" buttons to certain categories of listings for a test trial period starting June 19. The trial is an early step to accomplish several goals resulting from the $2.6 billion purchase of Skype. First, there is very little overlap between Skype’s 100 million users and eBay's 200 million users. There is an obvious desire and clear opportunity to bring these two user groups together. A portion of the Skype purchase price can be explained by this lack of overlap. For a quick base-line, ebay openly promotes a referral program where it will pay up to $20 per new active user. A large untapped user group that potentially can become eBay users is a core Skype asset.

Second, in many high-touch categories like Automotive, companies like eStara have been working closely with companies in key verticals — auto, real estate and others — to run tests to see how instantaneous voice communications between potential buyers and dealers change the lead-to-sale ratio. What eStara, Ingenio and others have been finding is that the ability to facilitate real-time communication substantially increases the closing ratio. Further, those consumers are less likely to move onto a second option for their purchase after talking with the first company. Voice-enabled communication is clearly an opportunity to reduce the sales cycle and increase volume.

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