Skype is no longer commercial-free. The Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) service owned by Microsoft (Nasdaq: MSFT) now injects advertisements alongside video conversations of its non-paying members.
The so-called Conversation Ads appear for users who do not have Skype service credit or subscriptions when making 1:1 Skype-to-Skype audio calls using Skype for Windows.
Conversation Ads--silent, non-expanding images--"highlight unique and local brand experiences," the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said in an announcement touting the advertisements as a benefit to its users.
"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," the company said. "Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day."
Marketers may purchase ads in 55 markets where Skype is available, the company said.
Although Skype may use "non-personally identifiable demographic information (e.g. location, gender and age)" to target ad spots, users may opt-out of allowing use of "some of this non-personally identifiable information," the statement noted.
- see the Skype announcement