Free Ride Over: Skype Calls to Feature Ads

Skype has announced that Windows users without credits will soon see “Conversation Ads” when they make one-to-one audio calls.

At this stage the ads don’t seem like they’ll be too intrusive – as they are silent and of a visual nature. The system will draw on demographic information including location, gender and age to provide targeted advertising.

Some might consider the company announcement to be a little spin-heavy:

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.

Personally, your author will never find looking at advertisements “engaging or useful.” But since my family is scattered all over the world, Skype has saved me literally thousands of dollars over the years. I think that I will be able to cope as long as I never have to hear, “we interrupt your conversation to bring you these messages.”

Users who are concerned about ad-targeting can opt out through Tools > Options > Privacy.

Some people are bound to cry foul, but consider this: pPrograms like Skype cost a great deal to maintain. It’s a popular service, but not an especially profitable one. Generating some ad revenue has the potential to change that – and if it starts doing well, who knows what Microsoft could do with it.

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