In an interesting article from ZDNet, it looks as though Facebook and Skype have resumed talks over a merger between the two online companies. If the rumor-mill is correct, you may be soon able to make a video call to your friends on Facebook. This appears to be another step between the migrations of the two technologies. They have been discussing a potential joining or partnership since September of 2010, but were unable to reach any agreements at that time.
Skype has had the ability to voice call your Facebook contacts since the release of version Skype 5.0 released in 2010, but it did not include video chat ability. While Skype has included some Facebook features into their software, Facebook has not reciprocated as adding any VoIP services on their website and mobile apps would instantly put them in direct competition with many other services that offer video calling such as Google’s Gmail and Apple’s Facetime.
Skype currently allows for video conferencing with up to 10 other people but it is only available on their premium package. Allowing this option would be a huge boost to the popularity of both Facebook and Skype. Google has been trying to develop a social network with its release of Orkut, but has been so far unsuccessful.
And this is where the conspiracy theory comes in:
More and more subscribers use Facebook to conduct internet searches as they would in Google. As it stands now, Facebook places paid ads for localized searches on your Facebook page. If Skype owns eBay than any potential merger between Facebook and Skype opens the floodgates for direct and specific product placement from eBay. Adding a partner with an affiliate such as eBay seems essentially problematic if not completely unethical.
And now for the "SEO Spin":
As SEO’s we need to watch for these shifting usage patterns in an effort to make the exploit peoples search patterns. While Facebook does not offer much for the SEO to promote a client’s business, it may be that the best SEO efforts will be realized through a back door approach. What if an SEO’s client were to place their products on eBay in order to have them appear on your Facebook page when searching for relevant terms?
Further bulletins as events warrant.