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Get paid to talk on the phone

Get paid to talk on the phone

Now we have another reason to like Internet phone service provider Skype. We've already noted how the VoIP company is big for many small businesses by providing free (!) calls between Skype-enabled users anywhere in the world.

Now, one of Skype's technology providers and enhancers, a company called Jyve, has teamed up with micropayment company Click&Buy to let you charge the people who call you by the minute.

Let's say you run a business that sells expertise or bills hourly, and you want to collect money for time you spend on the phone with clients or customers. Maybe you're a health care provider, and someone just needs a five-minute consultation. Perhaps you're a tech service company, and someone has a quick question or problem. Maybe you're a lawyer. Perhaps you're a translator who would love to be conferenced in to help each party understand what the other is saying. (Thanks to Jyve CEO Charles Carleton for some of these ideas.)

The customer just clicks to make the call and accept the payment. No worries for the customer about being billed fairly or knowing how long they'll be billed for (since the counter ticks away as they talk, just like a taxi meter) or about messy billing procedures. It gives incentives on both sides to be time-efficient. You just set up an account, and the customer sets up to have their credit card billed through Click&Buy.

Note, though, that this is very much a sneak peek. You can click a Jyve site to try out the service and see if it works for you, and become a de facto beta tester. And there are, of course, some limitations: The customer and you must have Skype and the ability to use it. The customer has to be registered with Click&Buy. You have to be available when the customer calls. You can't (yet) charge different amounts for different time spans ($10 for the first minute, $2 for every minute after that), and we don't even know if all of this works. Jyve and Click&Buy plan to take 15 percent off whatever you bill, with some to-be-determined minimum charge.

Despite the reservations (no pun), there could be big potential and a big chance to think of all kinds of business uses for this.