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No More Skypecast September 4, 2008

Posted by Edwin in English, Skype, Speaking.

Over the weekend, another free on-line service was gone, not only the “free” part, but also the service itself.

Skypecast was launched in 2006 to host public conference calls up to 100 people at a time. It was since being established as a meeting place for many to get to know others and talk about anything. The service was also widely used by people seeking out language practices. English was by far the most popular language. One could often see skypecasts with titles such as “Let’s practice English”, and “Improve your English”. As a counter measure to keep learners out, it was not uncommon to find skypecasts with subtitles “Fluent English only please”.

Sadly, due to the virtually non-existence of any king of moderation, the service was very much abused by its users. There were people hanging around trying to harassing other users. Personally, I think it is better for Skypecast to go than stay.

Skype already has another service in place, a public chatroom service which provides better moderation. In addition, Skype provides another paid service called Skype Prime, and it is still in Beta. (what is not?)

At a first glance, Skype Prime looks like a good tool to hook up language tutors and students. As mentioned in my previous post, I support the business model in which tutors would charge their students and let the middle men take some commission. However, when I check out how much commission Skype is charging … 30%! Why would anyone want to use a service that charges a 30% commission?

Of course, tutors are smart enough to let the students to absorb the commission overhead. I quickly browsed through the “Language lessons and Translations” section, and I found “advisors” charging for fees as mush as $2 per minute.

If I were a serious student, I would poke around some language forums and look for a tutor. If I were a tutor, I would do the same to look for potential students.



1. مشعل - September 4, 2008

no more skypecast
more and more paltalk

2. Learn That Language Now - September 4, 2008

Hi, great language blog you have here! Would you be interested in doing a link exchange? Just send me an e-mail with your URL and I’ll add your link to my blog. You can add my link as “Learn That Language Now”. I look forward to reading more blog entries from you. Thanks!


3. aaron Lawrence - September 5, 2008

You’re right 30% is absurd! I have found that edufire.com charges a much more reasonable rate, and provides a great community aspect.

4. Brett - September 8, 2008

I’m just getting started on Edufire, as a tutor. As a learner I’m sad to see Skypecast go, it was so easy to find people to talk to in Japanese.

5. Ramses - September 13, 2008

Not that I want to plug eduFire, but it does have a better community support system and asks 15% instead of the 30% Skype asks.

6. Gary Baumgarten - September 20, 2008

Anyone who has been shutdown by Skype should feel comfortable coming over to Paltalk.

Paltalk has 4 million unique users and scores of categories from which to choose to broadcast one’s content.

Best of all, it’s a free download, though there is a minimal annual fee to be able to see streaming video.

As way of disclosure, I am Paltalk’s director of news and programming and I host a daily program on Paltalk called News Talk Online, at 5 PM New York time, in Paltalk Studio A in the Radio/TV Section. I’m hoping to see you on line and I and our entire online team stand ready to help you acclimate yourself to Paltalk’s great features.

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