Vonage and other phone-centric providers include quite a bit of account control on private web pages for each customer. Skype puts very little, because the service details are configured almost completely with the client application. Less web page management by users also fits into Skype’s decentralized approach to the business.
Important reasons to go to the web site for your Skype account include buying services. Unfortunately for Skype, only one service and a few products are available for sale right now: SkypeOut and phone headsets and handsets. Figure 6-23 shows the overview screen for an account.
Figure 6-23. Log in, buy minutes, log out
You reach this screen by providing your Skype name and password, the same ones you use at the client. Activities you can perform on the web site run down the left side of the page, under the My Account heading.
The SkypeOut page shows two things: all your calls and all your Skype purchases. When a service bills you for calls, they must keep track of those calls so you can argue with them later.
Buying SkypeOut credits works easily and simply unless it goes horribly wrong. More details about that issue await in the next chapter.
Skype generates revenue through SkypeOut minutes and some hardware sales. They partner with a growing list of hardware vendors to include Skype functionality in new devices. Figure 6-24 ...