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The Skype outage explained, and public perception of VoIP services

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

So last week as we exchanged holiday greetings, the most popular free calling service, Skype, became overloaded and inaccessible for nearly 24 hours. Although it was only a minor inconvenience for most of us, for others it is the primary way of making free international calls between family members. Others still rely on Skype for business communications, teleconferencing, and other critical uses.

To their credit, Skype's PR team was up front and honest about the downtime, making frequent status updates on their blog and via Twitter. They apologized and offered $1 credit to all users. They even detailed what went wrong and what they plan to do so it doesn't happen again.

How does this affect public perception of VoIP as we enter 2011? VoIP skeptics will undoubtedly point to this as an excuse to keep their distance from services like Vonage and Google Voice. However, even for the die-hard VoIP believers, it serves as an important lesson to always have backup forms of communication, including a second or third VoIP client, as well as land-lines and mobile phones.

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