Skype's affiliate scheme goes live

The popular VoIP service provider has taken the wraps off its new community programme, with incentives to try and get more people signed up to its paid-for services

Skype has launched its affiliate programme today to encourage the company's user community to support the popular VoIP application.

Much like Amazon.com's affiliate programme, Skype will allow any site that links to it — via text links, images or banner ads — to receive up to 10 percent commission on all users referred who sign up for Skype's paid services within 30 days. Commission will depend on volumes and which services people sign up for.

Skype will work with a third party, Commission Junction, to monitor and track links to make sure all affiliates are paid.

Skype chief executive Niklas Zennström said: "In this way we hope to grow our user base of customers and power the ecosystem of people using Skype."

He called the programme "a pretty substantial thing to do" and credited the affiliate programme as one of the initiatives that has made Amazon.com so successful.

Skype has been trialling the programme for three weeks and in that time has signed up 1,800 affiliates.

Large sites with significant traffic have the opportunity to become 'super affiliates', which means they will get their own Skype account manager and have the potential to get more customised deals, according to Zennström.

The Skype VoIP application is free to download and use but the company charges for three services: SkypeOut, which allows Skype users to call a standard phone; SkypeIn, which allows standard phone users to call a Skype user on their computer; and voicemail.