What's going on over at Skype? The one thing that I felt was really useful with the service, apart from all the free chats, was their Skype In service, allowing you to have one phone number wherever you were. You could set it up to forward to any phone on the planet, or your Skype account, or to your Skype voicemail, and it worked great. Now it's gone.
Well, not gone, but they've had to change some of their numbers. This is the message I just received from them:
We're very sorry to tell you that we have to change your SkypeIn number. As some of you may know, we get SkypeIn numbers from a variety of telecoms suppliers. Unfortunately, we have to return some of the 0207 SkypeIn numbers to one of our suppliers of London numbers.
This means your number will stop working from December 20th 2007. We realise the inconvenience this will cause you, and sincerely apologise.
That's less than a month away. How on earth can you go around the world telling every Tom, Dick and Auntie Phyllis you've ever given your "lifetime" number to that it's changed in that time? And just before Christmas, to boot!
To soften the blow Skype have given people affected "a new SkypeIn number and voicemail - free for 12 months on us - to thank you for your patience and to help make the changeover as painless as possible for you."
Nice thought, and would help, except the voucher doesn't work. At least not for me. Just keep getting an "invalid voucher" message. So more pain and delay.
I still talk about the Skype Revolution, where ordinary Joes can suddenly increase their tech knowledge and stay in touch with people more easily than ever before, but I'm beginning to wonder whether it isn't time for someone smarter, quicker and better organized to take over the revolution.
Update: I've heard from Merje Järv- Griffiths of Skype, who offers this extra information on the dropped numbers:
As you know, Skype obtains SkypeIn numbers from a variety of telecoms suppliers. The London-based SkypeIn numbers in question came from one of these telecoms suppliers. We spent months in discussions with a telecoms supplier to see if we could keep the SkypeIn numbers we rented from them, confident that the issue could be resolved. Hence the somewhat late notice to our users — we never thought things would get this far, given the time and effort put into resolving the situation.
Unfortunately, we have to return some of our 0207 numbers so we’re asking our SkypeIn users who are affected to change their London-based SkypeIn number.
And if any of you are having the same problems I had in redeeming the voucher, try this.