Skype is hoping third-party developers will jump on the VoIP bandwagon in much the same way as third-party developers took advantage of the iPod.

Since Skype began licensing or giving away its source code last year an estimated 1,000 programmers have started creating free and commercial products that can be used with the Internet phone service.

And the company is looking to recruit more third-party developers to build add-on programs. According to a report on ZDnet, developers get the source code by promising to either give their products away for free or provide Skype a share of the profits.

Skype spokeswoman Kelly Larabee said "Skype prioritized freely offering the (source code) to expand the potential of Skype and inspire great developers worldwide. We will extend and formalize our software developer programs with time."

In the works are Skype-based advice lines selling legal and medical information, and astrology forecasts, paid for via Paypal-style payment services designed for Skype.

ZDnet suggests that this could "potentially turn Skype into a sort of eBay for advice and dating services."