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Skype To Go F%#k Yourself

December 22nd, 2009 · 3 Comments

Woke up at the crack of noon to an unusual email (emphasis mine):

When you bought Skype Credit or your subscription, you got a Skype To Go number as part of your purchase.

It’s the easy way to use your Skype Credit or subscription from your mobile to call phones abroad – really handy when you can’t get to a computer.

There’s nothing to download or set up – we’ve done it for you. Simply dial your Skype To Go number from the mobile you registered with Skype and get talking.

A flash of anger came over me, thinking my account had been compromised – I most certainly did not add a Skype To Go number. Then I noticed “there’s nothing to [setup] – we’ve done it for you.” As for why Skype would suddenly decide I needed a Skype To Go number, I can only imagine that they are trying to get me to whittle away my Skype Credit. That reminds me, why the hell did I buy Skype Credit when all their calling plans are unlimited now?

So I log into my account to check out this Skype To Go nonsense and see how it works. From Skype:

  1. Store the number – Save your Skype To Go number on your mobile.
  2. Call the number – Ring the number whenever you want to call abroad.
  3. Reach abroad – Use the voice menu to call a speed-dial or dial in a number and save.

In a nutshell, it lets you make outgoing calls at Skype rates (plus a connection fee, of course) – you call a local number (your “Skype To Go” number), enter a PIN, and select a speed dial stored on your account. So this doesn’t appear to be part of some hacker’s nefarious plot to steal my Skype Credit – but on the other hand, it did seem completely pointless to me. So of course I immediately disabled this feature. To manage Skype To Go:

  1. Log in to your Skype account
  2. Click “Skype To Go Number” in the menu bar

From here, you can choose:

  • Get another Skype To Go number – since Skype was “kind” enough to set up this feature which I will almost certainly never use, they assigned me a phone number in Clintondale, NY, perhaps because they assumed I was one of the 1,400 people living in that otherwise completely unremarkable mountain town, or maybe some kind of international jetsetter visiting Clintondale on my way to some other non-notable tiny town. This let’s you change your Skype To Go number or even get a 2nd number entirely.
  • Status – enable or disable your Skype To Go number. Disable please, kthx.
  • Language – the default is English, para Español, oprima el dos.
  • Your PIN code – choose an ultra secure 4 digit number that will be completely impenetrable by Chinese hackers; whatever you do, don’t point out that the N in “PIN” stands for number, making this your “personal identification number code”.
  • Saved phones – set the speed dials in your Skype To Go account. These are the numbers you will be able to dial out to when you call your Skype To Go number.

When selecting “Get another Skype To Go number”, you can choose from a few different countries:

  • Australia
  • Chile
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Finland
  • United Kingdom
  • Ireland
  • New Zealand
  • Poland
  • Sweden
  • United States

The idea, again, is to select the country you’re traveling in (or perhaps a relative in). You dial the Skype To Go number from a regular phone as if you’re making a local call, then enter a PIN, and Skype completes the call for you at Skype rates. From Skype:

For the best calling value please ensure you use your Skype To Go number(s) within the designated country. Otherwise you might end up paying your operator international rates.

Overall I like Skype but these kinds of unwanted account changes annoy me. Just leave well enough alone – if I wanted this I would have enabled it myself.

For the best calling value please ensure you use your Skype To Go number(s) within the designated country. Otherwise you might end up paying your operator international rates.

Tags: Technology · Telephones

3 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Peter Parkes (Skype Blogger) // Dec 23, 2009 at 4:17 am

    Sorry if you found the email intrusive – it’s part of an effort to raise awareness of Skype To Go. And by setting up numbers for people automatically, we’re making it easier for them to try it out.

    In any case, thanks for your feedback – always welcome, so keep it coming.

    p.s. I’ll ask our copy editors to take a look at the ‘PIN code’ line. At least we don’t say ‘PIN number’ (I hope).

    [Editor’s reply: An official response was neither expected nor required, but, thank you in advance. The email was not intrusive – the automatically executed account change is the problem. I will never use this feature and if I intended to, I could have enabled it myself. Any time Skype gives me a phone number, I don’t believe it to be charity, otherwise you wouldn’t charge my for my SkypeIn numbers. At a glance, seeing that email made me seriously concerned that my account had been compromised. If you were trying to raise awareness of your feature, an email telling me about the feature would have been fine, but instead you went ahead and enabled for me anyway. That is where the “wtf” threshold is crossed. At the end of the day I like the Skype service, although this is not the first usability issue I’ve encountered in this regard. I was livid when I installed Skype 4.0 and found out you hadn’t asked me if I wanted a “browser highlighter” tray application – I didn’t – but I wasn’t given a choice during the Skype installation and so I had to uninstall that after the fact. In any event I am impressed that you went through the trouble of contacting me.]

  • 2 tannmann // Apr 2, 2010 at 6:48 pm

    actually, the skype to go feature is awesome. I have friends in Canada that don’t use skype, but I can call them, from my regular cell phone, while driving, and using skype to go basically like a calling card I can call them all I want for like $3/month. The call is local on my cell phone instead of international long distance. Very, very useful feature.

    [Editor’s reply: Sure, it’s useful for you, but any time companies add ‘opt-out’ features to my paid accounts I’m immediately suspicious and annoyed.]

  • 3 Nicolas // Apr 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm

    Not a comment,but a question.When skype to go number be able for Haiti?

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