Just a few comments on what I believe to be a great example, if not one of the top Open & Free Business Model Examples. Skype has been around for some time, and I’m certain most of you use it, but next to Google they have shown us one of the best ways to give something away and generate revenue. Granted, not all of us has the resources or the know how to build a program like Skype or a systems like Google, but we all have an idea, a product or a service.

The Open & Free Business Model provides us a model to give something away and charge for a Freemium Service. Skype gives you the software for free, they even let you make Skype-to-Skype video calls or voice calls for free as well. There are conditions of course but it’s still free. Once you install the software, you can make these calls free to others who have an account with Skype, the account setup is also free.

In order to take advantage of the premium services, you will have to part with a couple of bux, nut only a couple. I subscribed to Skype for a low $2.95 per month, this allows me to call anywhere in North America anytime and for as long as I want. I can dial directly to Cell Phones and Land lines all for $2.95 per month! Your subscription rate will vary based on the package you decide to purchase. Oh, they also let you pay with PayPal too : ) (another FREE Service)

You have three options available to you when you download Skype:

1.) FREE

– Skype-to-Skype calling
– Video calls
– Instant Messaging
– Screen Sharing

2.) Pay as You Go Calling

– This rate starts at 2.3¢ a minute
– Call phones and mobiles
– Skype To Go Number**
– Call Forwarding

3.) Monthly Subscription

– This Rate starts at 1.2¢ a minute
– Lowest calling rates
– Choose unlimited calling***
– Best rates with 3 or 12 month subscription

The above features list were taken from the Skype Website. They also have a product called Skype Manager, it lets you centrally manage Skype in your business. Allowing you to make accounts, allocate Skype Credit, assign features and monitor usage.

There is much more to learn about Skype, so the first thing you should do before you even install the software, read all the about the features, the different ways to purchase based on your needs, just like any other purchase you make right? For example, new in Skype 5.0, you can have up to 9 contacts in a Group Video Call…that may be a very important feature for you.

I asked on Twitter, what is your favorite feature in Skype, other than it’s free. Here’s a couple of responses:

@jameswanless of Vancouver, British Columbia said:

Text, vid and voice at same time, auto-saving of transcripts for reference, ability to phone landlines …

@Billy_Delaney of Akron, Ohio said, and jesting of course:

Typing information to someone on a conf’ call about what is being said, and the said person cannot see it :)))

I am a very happy subscriber, and this tool is one of my top valued items in my tool kit. It should be yours too.

Oh, and don’t SPAM me, but you can hit me up Skype to!

Skype Me™!