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v.Richard is my Modemsite nickname. My name is Richard Gamberg, and I write and publish Modemsite from my home in Hawaii, USA, or from the road when I'm traveling...
Modemsite began over 9 years ago as 3 pages I named "56k=v.Unreliable" when 56k dial-up technology was brand new and the hype was at odds with reality. Today, Modemsite has over 400 pages of modem-related content.
Maintaining, updating and adding new information takes a lot of time and effort.... Thanks for your patience, support and most of all Feedback!
Modemsite is positioned to stick around: I like this work, and have a Lifetime Premium Access subscription option for those that want to stick around with me. (We will become obsolete: dial-up modems are eventually doomed for replacement with higher-speed connections.)
The dial-up modem business is declining - and the technology has stabilized. That's good: 56k was unreliable as first introduced in 1998. Today, V.92/V.90 and V.34 provide reliable connectivity via most of the world's phone lines. So most of the problems and solutions are fixed. I'm still trying to keep the site up-to-date - no easy task with over a thousand links to external site pages!
Skype, a subsidiary of EBay, has emerged as the market leader for VoIP calls worldwide. Skype's success came from an easy-to-use product and word of mouth. While computer-to-computer calls are free, Skype for some time has been offering services for which you need to pay: the ability to make calls from your computer to mobile and landline phones, and the ability to get a regular phone number that appears to be in any of a number of countries, but that rings to your computer running Skype.
All was well until January 26, 2007 when Skype quietly slipped a massive price increase in to the mix: for those who use SkypeOut, a new rate element, a connection fee of 3.9cents (which could be US cents or Eurocents depending upon your currency) per call was added without any notice to customers - in violation of Skype's own terms of service! Consider that Skype's global out-rate was 2.1 cents per minute - so a call of 1 minute or less went from 2.1 cents to 6.0 cents, an increase of almost 300%!
The good news is that unlike EBay and EBay-owned PayPal, Skype is not the only viable alternative for VoIP. The market is emerging, and there are viable competitors. But, to keep it this way and prevent EBay/Skype from gaining a virtual monopoly in this important market segment, IT IS TIME TO STOP GIVING YOUR MONEY TO SKYPE AND TO STOP RECOMMENDING OTHERS ADOPT SKYPE. More good news: most competitors rates are MUCH LESS than Skype's old rates - often half or less the price of Skype!
Alternatives to Skype for computer-to-computer communications include Yahoo! Messenger, Windows Live Messenger (formerly MSN Messenger), and others., including most listed below.
Alternatives to Skype for computer-to-mobile or landline phones include the above as well as many more such as:
Most, if not all of the alternatives, are significantly less expensive than Skype, and most use an international standard (SIP) for VoIP that allows interoperability. SKYPE USES A PROPRIETARY PROTOCOL that prevents Skype from making VoIP calls to users on other providers. The Betamax companies even offer a (changing) list of countries to which you can make FREE calls - some even to mobile phones - subject to certain limits. See VoipProducts.eu or backsla.sh/betamax for a comparison of Betamax companies rates/free calling.
Now that you're using a standards-based provider, you can even get a FREE USA number that anyone can call to ring your computer anywhere in the world from Ipkall.com.
IF YOU HAVE A CREDIT BALANCE WITH SKYPE ASK THEM TO REFUND IT. Fill out a support request to ask for the refund. Skype's terms of service allow you to request a refund if you are not satisfied with the service. Make it clear to them that you do not appreciate their changing the rates for their service without proper notification to you. Also, consider filing a FALSE ADVERTISING COMPLAINT with the Federal Trade Commission against EBay, doing business as Skype.
Finally, if you're not convinced it's time to SAY NO TO SKYPE, consider these facts:
Skype, a telecommunications company, offers NO WAY TO CONTACT CUSTOMER SERVICE using telecommunications: the only way is email, and then, you will have to wait AT LEAST 4 'WORKING DAYS' to receive a response!
Skype considers certain countries high risk - and if you travel to one of these countries and try and use Skype, or try and make a payment from a computer in one of these countries, your account may be blocked without any notice. You will be in for a long, frustrating experience to try and resolve the problem.
Skype engages in FALSE AND MISLEADING ADVERTISING. You cannot believe what they say. They've advertised "unlimited" calling to any phone within the US & Canada for an annual flat-fee without disclosing that it only includes calls that you place from a computer/internet location that Skype thinks is physically in the USA or Canada. Perhaps its because they haven't mastered the English language. (Prior to the January 26 rate increase their website indicated that "disruptive pricing" was coming, and now, their new slogan is "Take a deep breath".
Competition - healthy companies providing the consumer a choice of providers - is essential to prevent consumer abuse and price-gouging. Don't wait until all the competition has been rendered impotent, use and support a Skype alternative now!
Horror Stories * From Skype's own forums:
Skype Account Blocked after buying Skypeout credit
Skype Unlimited Service that isn't
Skype Unlimited Service that isn't #2
Skype Deceives Customers with confusing advertising
Skype won't take my payment
Skype takes my payment, but doesn't let me use the service
Skype may put you out of business
No support - No hope
Skype made a mistake and won't fix it
Skype didn't give me what I paid for and no answers from support
Problems paying Skype with credit card
OK! Take a Deep Breath, and do something good: HANG UP ON SKYPE, FIND AN ALTERNATIVE YOU LIKE AND TELL EVERYONE YOU KNOW TO SWITCH!