Internet telephony folks Skype today says that it now has 100 million registered users. A press release (free registration required) says that this was achieved in “just two-and-a-half year’s time [sic], and has nearly doubled in size from September 2005 when it had 54 million registered users.” This is truly impressive. But if this is the case, where the hell is everyone?
My Skype currently shows 3,633,607 users online. Admittedly this is during the Asian day, when traffic is not as high as when the Europeans and Americans wake up. But that’s less than 4% of registered users actually online. OK, allowing for people who are ‘away’ (I believe this excludes them from being counted) and for folk who only go online occasionally, and allowing for the vagaries of actually reporting the total number of users online (actually, another 6,000 users have appeared since I started writing this paragraph), I can’t help wondering whether the 100 million figure is a) a wild exaggeration, down to people registering twice, b) people registering and then ditching it or c) the number of users that appears in the Skype program is just not reflecting reality.
No question Skype is big. And good: Everyone I know has it, some of them people who have resisted the Internet age on an almost Luddite scale. But I just wonder where all those tens of millions of people are. What’s the biggest number we’ve seen online? Anyone seen more than 10 million in one go?