Skype. Nibbled to death by ducks.

I liked Skype. And I trusted it. And not just because it made my calls cheap.

It also made them simple.

 “One button-one penny” is a good positioning.

It was also true to the brand narrative: provided we all keep this simple, then we all win because we can all exploit spare capacity on the world’s networks.

Recently, Skype’s got complicated. Half the time, I can’t find the button I needed.  Nibble.  So I found myself using Skype about as half as often. Nibble.

And the other side of the ‘One button-one penny’ deal has broken down. Apparently, some people weren’t even paying one penny.

Really? Who cares? Skype makes its money by making those of us who do pay, pay up front. We keep our money in their bank account until we’re ready to make a call. And we do that because we feel it’s a brand we can trust. Simple, reliable, interested in the win-win.

Well, apparently Skype cared. And yesterday, Skype started running ads in calls between people who weren’t maintaining credit. Nibble.

It shouldn’t bother me because I’m a paying customer. But it did. It left me feeling, “How could Skype do that?”

It felt like a breach of trust. With someone I bank money with. With someone that I count on not intruding on personal or confidential business calls.

Skype could do that because what I think Skype is, isn’t what Skype thinks Skype is. It’s not an invisible partner in a win-win company any more.

Skype’s the kind of company that thinks it has the right to be in your conversation. Like a little sister listening in on the extension upstairs. Or a big brother.

Their corporate blog talks to the marketing community now (Nibble) instead of the users (Nibble), selling opportunities (Nibble), rather than service (Nibble).

To make matters worse, far worse,  for anyone that cares about verbal identity, when I reloaded credit with Skype today, they sent me a message saying, “We’ve delivered your order.” Nibble.

It’s the final indication they’ve lost the plot.

Skype – you don’t deliver anything. The whole promise of what you do, is staying out of the way.

I think finally, the ducks have won.

Or, “Quack, quack, quack!” – as my old Creative Director used to say.