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Free Skype calls to feature "Conversation Ads"

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June 13, 2012

Skype claims its visual ads will serve as entertaining talking points

Skype claims its visual ads will serve as entertaining talking points

Skype announced today that Windows users of its popular voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service who do not possess Skype Credit or subscriptions will be subjected to silent visual advertisements dubbed “Conversation Ads” when making one-to-one audio calls. The move follows last year’s buyout of Skype by Microsoft for a reported US$8.5 billion.

The new advertisements work in the following way: While engaged in a Skype audio call, a silent advertisement which uses demographic data such as location, gender and age will pop up on a user's screen. For example, one may be chatting to a friend from college and the hip marketing people would then supply a helpful ad for beer, or iPods, or whatever else young and fun people like to buy nowadays. In this way, the conversation will thus be steered into a more profitable direction ... or that’s the idea, anyway. Perhaps Skype is taking its cue from Microsoft’s own advertising wizards.

The company laid out its thoughts on Conversation Ads in an official blog post:

“So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day.”

It should be noted that Conversation Ads is relatively benign compared to many other ad platforms, and while advertisers will be able to purchase the ads in 55 markets where Skype is available, they will not be allowed to monitor user's calls. Privacy-conscious users can opt-out of the ad-targeting via the Privacy menu, located in Tools > Options.

There’s currently no word as to if, or when, Skype will roll out Conversation Ads to Mac and Linux users.

Editor's note: This article was amended on June 14, 2012. It previously stated that Microsoft bought Skype for $85 million.

Source: Skype

About the Author
Adam Williams Adam scours the globe from his home in North Wales in order to bring the best of innovative architecture and sustainable design to the pages of Gizmag. Most of his spare time is spent dabbling in music, tinkering with old Macintosh computers and trying to keep his even older VW bus on the road.

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5 Comments

The days of 24/7 adverts are not far off - the only ad-free place left is the inside of our eyelids! shhh! Don't let them hear that...

agulesin
14th June, 2012 @ 04:51 am PDT

advertising is a blight.tv especially american tv,and we aren't far behind is an an insult to peoples intelligence,sitting there watching b,,,, mind numbing soaps, or go compare crap every 10 minutes,to much of it,needs curbing,fat chance when there's money involved.pity about skype being contaminated with it,time to change to alternative..

Chris Keane
14th June, 2012 @ 05:57 am PDT

Nothing is free. Advertising is the price we pay for "free" services and it is a lot less expensive that taxes.

Slowburn
14th June, 2012 @ 12:59 pm PDT

I won't be using skype anymore!

Australian
16th June, 2012 @ 03:00 am PDT

I understand that this concept is designed to help pay for the service and create a profit for Microsoft, but personally I believe that this will cause many people who use Skype's free services to stop especially if it interfered with their calls. We are in the era where every second matters.

The better alternative to this plan would be to incorporate a speech program that recognized certain words or a string of them. Then show the user a SMALL list of options(ads) that they could chose from. This would expand the field in which they could advertise for. If the ads peaked the skyper's interest they will go on and continue to with looking into the ad. Either way the companies will come out on top. Skype for the ads and companies for being able to get their name out there.

Steven Chang
21st June, 2012 @ 03:13 pm PDT
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