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Skype launches in-call ads

Sticks its fingers down the throat of conversation

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In the kind of emetic doubletalk that can only be produced by highly-trained university professionals, Skype has justified its launch of in-call advertising by saying the move will let people “have meaningful conversations about brands in a highly engaging environment”.

Admittedly, it’s proven devilishly difficult over the years to turn the popular free-but-proprietary-VoIP platform into a river of gold: first, its founders only struck a paying vein by selling to eBay, and now Microsoft is having a shot at “monetizing” Skpe.

So the new idea is to offer “conversation ads” to marketers, which as this post says, will mean that “users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.”

Reaching for the porcine Maybelline, Skype says its users “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” (emphasis added – don’t you love it when marketers tell you how you “should” think?).

The ads, available in 55 countries, will only be imposed on users without any Skype credit.

If users want to completely randomize their advertising “experience” (which would probably make it more enjoyable than having advertisers decide what you want to see and get it wrong), they can always opt-out of demographic targeting using this link.

That only gets you out of the demographic gunk. If you want to avoid the ads, you have to pony up and buy the credit; it had to happen eventually. ®

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