Skype to insert ads on Skype-to-Skype calls

Microsoft is slowly but surely adding new "features" to its Skype Internet phone and video service. Today, the official Skype blog announced that it will be putting it what it calls "Conversation Ads" inside the window of free Skype-to-Skype audio calls on Windows PCs. if you have Skype Credit or use one of Skype's subscription services, these new ads won't appear.

In the blog post, Skype states:

While on a 1:1 audio call, users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. 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.

Skype adds that the quality of the audio with the new Conversation Ads features will be the same as before. The ads themselves will be silent and won't expand beyond a certain size. The ads will appear in 55 different international markets and this new "feature" appears to be limited to Skype on Windows-based PCs; tt will apparently not show up yet for the Mac client or for mobile clients.

The blog also states that this new service may also "use non-personally identifiable demographic information (e.g. location, gender and age) to target ads." A Skype user can choose to keep some of their information to themselves by going to the Privacy menu of the Skype Windows client via Tools and then Options, but they will still see the Conversation Ads pop up.

Source: Skype blog | Image via Skype

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43 Comments

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It's already coming up on my Skype calls. But to be honest, it really doesn't affect me. I have Skype minimized the whole time.

Love the acceptance.

Typical MS, and you're right, I'm not a fan. The continuance of screwing up Skype to where in the not too distant future, it'll have nothing but AOL type zombies clinging to it. When my credits are gone, so am I. Thankful for alternatives.

Hahaiah said,
Typical MS, and you're right, I'm not a fan. The continuance of screwing up Skype to where in the not too distant future, it'll have nothing but AOL type zombies clinging to it. When my credits are gone, so am I. Thankful for alternatives.

Yes, how typical they should try and recover some of the costs of something that costs a lot of money to run by showing ads to the free users. It's my right to be given access to premium services that cost a lot of money to run for free damnit. /s

"will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences. 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"

So now our personal pursuit will be to talk to each other about ads ?
This is what is going to drive our lives and be be a purpose to live for ?
Pathetic...

So Microsoft is adding more features that will consume precious CPU cycles at a time when the latest client consumes 30% CPU usage when idling? Microsoft really needs to get its priorities sorted.

theyarecomingforyou said,
So Microsoft is adding more features that will consume precious CPU cycles at a time when the latest client consumes 30% CPU usage when idling? Microsoft really needs to get its priorities sorted.

If you're talking about the Windows 8 only bug, they fixed that within a few days, it's available by doing a check for updates.

I don't mind the ads, just don't make them intrusive, like the ones on THIS WEBSITE that I purposely NEVER CLICK ON, because they get in the way of what I am trying to read.

Make them short, and clever, and make me want to watch them. You give me free video calls, I can watch a few ads.

jimmyfal said,
I don't mind the ads, just don't make them intrusive, like the ones on THIS WEBSITE that I purposely NEVER CLICK ON, because they get in the way of what I am trying to read.

Make them short, and clever, and make me want to watch them. You give me free video calls, I can watch a few ads.


just use IE9 with tracking protection enabled. I just see 2 ads on neowin (as I didn't add them to the list myself). they do not go over anything, are out of the way (top and right). cry more?

Saw one earlier, didnt bother me, it wasnt on a videocall and thus the window was minimized anyways for most of it. People need to appreciate the fact that its a FREE service.

So just to clarify, video calls will not be affected?
If so, of course this is not a significant problem.

However, the cynic in my wonders how long it will be before ads also find their way into video calls...

Microsoft is working on a way to overlay products brands - like Coca Cola and McDonald's - onto people's clothing in webcam chats. They're also working on a way to detect how much somebody weighs from the video feed and will use this to recommend fitness centres and gyms to overweight members. I would have thought they're conflicting interests but that's what happens when money's involved.

theyarecomingforyou said,
Microsoft is working on a way to overlay products brands - like Coca Cola and McDonald's - onto people's clothing in webcam chats. They're also working on a way to detect how much somebody weighs from the video feed and will use this to recommend fitness centres and gyms to overweight members. I would have thought they're conflicting interests but that's what happens when money's involved.

actually not a bad idea to suggest fat blobs to go to a gym

Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day.

Now that's some serious marketing bull****.

As long as the ads aren't using voice recognition to give you "targeted ads" based on your conversation, it's ok for cheapskates who don't want to pay for credits.

I'm really getting ****ed off at Skype... really starting to hate the ads they are shoving in your face when trying to use it. I wonder if this just involves new updated versions cause if so I'll stay on the old version I'm on now.

sava700 said,
I'm really getting ****ed off at Skype... really starting to hate the ads they are shoving in your face when trying to use it. I wonder if this just involves new updated versions cause if so I'll stay on the old version I'm on now.

Its an ad to the right of a picture of the contact you are calling on AUDIO ONLY. Please tell me you aren't this dense.

Magnum to me always sounded like a condom company, and it just makes it worse when its an ad saying "Pleasure hunt"

If Microsoft use the ads to improve the reliability of the service I'm all for it, however if they just do it to bolster their bank balance it will be a rather tacky move.

Javik said,
If Microsoft use the ads to improve the reliability of the service I'm all for it, however if they just do it to bolster their bank balance it will be a rather tacky move.

When do ads (themselves) ever improve the reliability of a service?

No problem, it's not like I stare at the call screen whilst making an audio call anyway, and they're not getting in the way of anything :3

To be honest I still use Windows Messenger for video calling. Skype has become a little bloated and version 5.5x doesn't work on Windows 8 for me.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
What? 3 comments after me and no hate yet? o.O That's new.

actually most of the time you get comments like this that talk about hate rather than the article itself.

djpailo said,
To be honest I still use Windows Messenger for video calling. Skype has become a little bloated and version 5.5x doesn't work on Windows 8 for me.
actually most of the time you get comments like this that talk about hate rather than the article itself.

Skype runs fine on win8 altho I just copied the .exe from another computer in the network.

alwaysonacoffebreak said,
Cue the Microsoft hate since they don't need to make money on a free service anyway.

AND IT'S FOR AUDIO CALLS ONLY

Biased journalism, that is all.

Who looks at chat when you make AUDIO calls? No one

FoxieFoxie said,

AND IT'S FOR AUDIO CALLS ONLY

Biased journalism, that is all.

Who looks at chat when you make AUDIO calls? No one


I do.

Sincerely,
no one

FoxieFoxie said,

AND IT'S FOR AUDIO CALLS ONLY

Biased journalism, that is all.

Who looks at chat when you make AUDIO calls? No one


That's what I said in the forum. Just minimize the damn thing and keep on romancing with Beth.

Ently said,

As do I

But is it intrusive? Does it covers the text you are supposed to read? Those it obstructs something important? If it does then I am with you. If it doesn't, then I don't care.