eBay to add Skype phone link to listings

MUMBAI: After paying a whopping $2.6 billion to acquire Skype last year, eBay has announced its first major business plan: to integrate the internet tele-calling service with its customer feedback system.

Starting 19 June, sellers in 14 selected categories will be able to add a free "Skype Me" button to their listings. Potential buyers, who are looking for more information directly, can then communicate with the seller using voice, text chat, or both through the new facility.

How does this work? Sellers will be able to embed simple "Skype Me" icons alongside product listing to allow users to contact them using a new feature, "Ask a seller a question." The feature is free and designed to allow people to answer quick questions before completing specific purchases. When a potential buyer clicks the "Skype Me" button on the Web page, buyers can instantly be put into contact with the seller via a web-based voice call, a text message, or both.

eBay's North American auction business president Bill Cobb said in a statement that, the company was set to begin a trial programme on its U.S. site to evaluate how Skype can be used to connect sellers to buyers seeking product information before they buy. "Skype represents a tremendous opportunity for our sellers to connect even more closely with their buyers," Cobb said.

Eyebrows were raised when eBay spent such a humungous amount to acquire Skype which had revenues less than $100 million. The recent move provides part of eBay's strategy as it targets to double Skype's revenues.

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