back to article Skype launches in-call ads

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 …


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  1. andreas koch

    That will get them a lot more users

    - - - not.

    1. Martin Huizing

      They lost one... Me...

      Even with Skype credits I get annoying ads in the corner of the screen. If I leave my pc on for a while those ads accumulate and I have to click each one away... with 3 seconds interval...

      If ever I had a conversational topic about those ads with my partner on the other side of the line, it would be how pissed off I was with those freaking talking ads!

      Well... At least they get people talking...

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: They lost one... Me...

        Tools > Options > Alerts and Messages > untick everything.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They lost one... Me...

          you're deluding yourself, unless you're talking about a paid version. But I must mention I saw a handful of paid users, who complained exactly about that - they pay, they unticked everything - and they did appear to be above the IT level of "general public", and they still got the f... ads.

          On unpaid version I tried to get around with manipulating language file. It worked, until, of course, skype updated itself, and no, you can't untick "update automatically" with skype these days. So I went to old skype, 4.2 or something, and it's all right, kind of. No more stupid facebook buttons and other "essential" crap you get annoyed with. And no more of those pop up ads in the corner. Strangely enough, an odd advert does come up - very seldom, once in a blue moon.

          But it will be trivial for them to block old skype client, on the pretext that it's "not compatible, we're awfucking sorry about this, click here to download the latest, enhanced (yeah, right) version.

          And I'm pretty sure that as soon as people start using the loophole of unused credit (small change), they will update their terms and conditions so that the credit below x will expire sooner.

          I'm actually quite surprised that nobody's hacked skype. Perhaps now people will, once they get this latest idea up their arse. It tends to have a stimulating effect.

          As for me.... skype can fuck off and die. I only regret my kids won't be able to use it to speak to their grandparents, so in the meantime, I'll have to subdue to the "charm" of google talk. Until they, promptly follow skype example.

          So why moan, why not pay? Because I have nothing but contempt for drug dealers. I would pay to get better streaming, really useful features, like conversation recording, or something. This sort of nagware doesn't work on me: pay, or we will shit on you. Well, shit on somebody else.

  2. stanimir

    ads, more ads, even more ads

    this is what the web needs!!

    If you want to avoid the ads, you have to pony up and buy the credit; it had to happen eventually

    or use an ancient version [like (!!)] of skype.

    1. Anonymous Coward


      "If you want to avoid the ads, you have to pony up and buy the credit; it had to happen eventually"

      Or simply use a Skype client on a phone like I'm doing on my Windows phone. When I have it against my ear I don't see any commercials what so ever. Problem solved.

      1. stanimir

        Re: @stanimir


        The main problem w/ the credit is: you have to use it or it expires anyways.

    2. Gio Ciampa

      Re: ads, more ads, even more ads

      Nice idea - in theory... until the ancient version won't talk to the current one because they've "improved" it

      ... just like MSN/Live Messenger did to third-party clients at regular invervals...

      ...and the "latest" version of Skype for Linux (in quotes as it hasn't seen an update for ages) which now refuses to share screens with the Windows version...

      1. stanimir

        Re: ads, more ads, even more ads

        3.8.x skype can't share screen, although it can see video and I could not care less about it. Skype blows extremely hard for screen sharing.

  3. TrixyB

    Damn it...

    Just as I was finding skype useful again.

    BTW, does anybody else find that call quality gets worse the longer your call lasts?

    1. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

      Re: Damn it...

      I haven't seen it degrade, seems fine for me.

      I guess I am lucky in that I have not come across the ads yet, but then again when i am talking the Skype screen is minimised.

  4. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    OK guys, hands up who DIDN'T see this coming.

    1. Goat Jam

      Well, me for one.

      When Microsoft purchased Skype I assumed that they would use it to progress their "Windoze Everywhere" policy and deeply embed it inside their products as a way to link these disparate products (PC, xbox, phone) and try and build a holistic "ecosystem" where all three leverage off each other and get Microsoft back in the game.

      That they might possibly succeed was a scary thought indeed.

      Therefore, it's comforting to discover that MS have not learnt anything from their previous acquisitions and are charging down the same path of destroying the very company/product that they had only recently spent so much money buying.

      I'm sure the guys from Danger will be watching on with a certain amount of schadenfreude as the MBA's at MS commence to destroy any value that Skype once had with this sort of idiocy.

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  5. Uplink

    We interrupt this conversation...

    We interrupt this conversation for a word from our sponsor. Why isn't Google Talk popular yet?

    I'm on Linux. Will this be a client side "enhancement" or a server-side one? I thought Skype was P2P more or less (they were talking about nodes and supernodes as being how they keep costs down) so the client has to be involved somehow. Asking this because the Linux client has been in beta for ages now and no one updated it for anything.

    If they do manage to shove ads into my Linux Skype, do they mean that if I give them a quid they'll go away and leave me alone forever? So MS will go like "If I had a pound for every time someone cursed an ad, I'd be rich. Oh, look, I do :)". But then they'll be a few million pounds richer, but then the revenue stream would abruptly dry up, because everyone would have paid their quid to forever rid themselves of ads. I'm sure they'll figure something out, like "top up every 6 months or you get ads again" though.

    1. Knoydart

      Re: We interrupt this conversation...

      If we do all top up a quid, then they sit on that cash and get the interest. Micro$oft prob then lend out 10 times as much and create the bank of skype.

      Loud hailer well 'cuase skype replacement maybe needed

    2. stanimir

      Re: We interrupt this conversation...

      you have to use your account (money) or it expires.

      1. Flatpackhamster

        Re: We interrupt this conversation...

        Not as far as I can see, it doesn't. I've had 18p sitting in my Skype account for about six months.

        1. Paw Bokenfohr

          Re: We interrupt this conversation...

          @Flatpackhamster: yup, you can have it sitting there for many months, and do nothing with it, but eventually, they *will* email you and remind you you have x days to use some credit or it will expire and if you don't use some, it wil.

          1. Steve Crook

            Re: We interrupt this conversation...

            The expiry was what made me decide not to buy any more Skype credit. After all, why would I if my money (and it is mine) apparently becomes worthless while Skype are looking after it for me...

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              Re: We interrupt this conversation...

              @Steve Crook. You caould always contact them and ask them to repay any unused credit. They can send it by Postal Order :-)

              I've never bought any Skype credit. Do they show the credit as a monetary value or as some sort of "unit"? If it's effectively an advance payment for the use of a service, then you are probably entitled to a full refund of any unused payments under UK. BTW, IANAL

    3. CraigW

      Re: We interrupt this conversation...

      Why isn't Google Talk popular yet? Maybe because it only works in one country?

      1. Danny Roberts 1

        Re: We interrupt this conversation...

        I think you mean Google Voice which is only available in the US due to the 'pay to receive' architecture.

        Google Talk does have voice & video chat and is available outside the US and works very well. It will allow me to call landlines(with credit) or other GTalk users. Works very well with Android ICS as well :-)

    4. MrXavia

      Re: We interrupt this conversation...

      I think google talk needs closer integration with the mobile itself, and advertise the feature!

      how many ICS phone owners know they can video chat with built in apps??

      Personally i've used Skype for years, but I WANT to move to google talk.. if others move with me...

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Are they mad?

    Skype is peer to peer. The only services skype provide are the accounts/dialling and interface with POTS (for which you have to pay). Why should users have ads rammed down their throats when they're using their bandwidth on their own networks and skype is barely providing the most minimal of services? One way ticket to alienating all their users.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they mad?

      "Skype is peer to peer."

      No mate it isn't. Go read about super peers and the like.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Are they mad?

      "Why should users have ads rammed down their throats when they're using their bandwidth on their own networks and skype is barely providing the most minimal of services?"

      You haven't quite grasped the Microsoft Weltanschauung. Those people probably make their own kids pay for their breakfast and their ride to school; they firmly believe it is immoral to do anything for anyone without getting paid a vig.

    3. Terry Barnes

      Re: Are they mad?

      Erm, there's the directory underpinning it all and the application itself.

      If you don't believe their service is acceptable, don't use it. I don't believe Skype is compulsory.

      I don't use it everyday, but I do if I go abroad for work or pleasure. I'm happy to pay Skype an amount of money far smaller than my mobile phone provider would require for the ability to stay in touch and see my kids.

  7. Rufo

    voice recognition --> targeted ads

    "calling" it now

    1. Gio Ciampa

      Re: voice recognition --> targeted ads

      Race you to the patent office!

  8. Eddy Ito Silver badge
    Big Brother

    Got one thing right

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

    I can guess what the topics of conversation will be. Probably something along the lines of "WTF? Another dating site ad for homosexual Catholic retired black transgender females of Japanese decent? Maybe I should opt back in to the demographic filter."

    Since, as Rufo so deftly indicated, they'll be listening in anyway to figure out what might be "relevant"; does anyone think they'll be giving the DHS a freebie? You know, scan it for the those saucy words that make an NSA agent's pulse quicken and make a recording. I'm sure they can work out the details in 3 point font on page 143 of the 197 pages of the new and improved EULA and T&Cs.

    1. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Re: Got one thing right

      Skype was successful precisely because it didn't do this sort of shit. And MickeySoft thinks that this sort of avertising actually works!!!!! Because GM doesn't. so.

      In addition that are also going to target , spy on people and track them.

      We may use non-personally identifiable demographic information (e.g. location, gender and age) to target ads. This will help ensure that non-paying users see ads that are of greater interest and relevance to them.

      Oh! do you really think so?

      Searching google for "blocking google ads" produces 'about' 127,000,000 hits, it won't be long before "blocking skype ads" does the same.

      There's plenty of browser add-ins to block tracking, ads, flash cookies etc. One of the best things I've ever done was to use a modified hosts file see for details. It's not a perfect set up, but I do take a certain amount of pleasure for seeing the pop-under window opening up to display "unable to connect to server".

      My PC, my broadband, I'll decide how it's going to be used.

  9. Big-nosed Pengie

    WTF have these morons been smoking?

    Can I have some too?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: WTF have these morons been smoking?

      It's right up there with Microsoft's other marketing triumphs, e.g. the idea that people would want to have a home party and invite their friends around to watch them install Windows...

      1. GBE

        Re: WTF have these morons been smoking?

        > It's right up there with Microsoft's other marketing triumphs, e.g. the

        > idea that people would want to have a home party and invite their

        > friends around to watch them install Windows...

        Yikes! Having not heard of that before, I had to shake my head

        and check with Google.

        I just couln't fathom how MS would not think such an idea too

        embarassing to mention in public. And of course it's true. MS

        _did_ promote the idea of having a batch of friends over so you

        could shill for Windows 7.

        Perhaps the whole thing was meant ironically, but I doubt it.

  10. Ketlan
    Thumb Down

    Never ending

    If there's one thing that's eventually going to make the internet and everything associated with it so crap that it's no longer worth using, it's the relentless intrusion of advertising into our lives, in the eternal scrabble for profits wherever they can be found. Maybe I'm deluding myself but I'm sure it never used to be this bad back in the old days (1994 or so) when if you wanted to read about buying a new car, you visited sites that sold new cars. Having my telephone calls or emails monitored for any mention of a desire for a new car just so a relevant ad can be shoved in my face (or ear) does not, in my opinion, 'add to my user experience', it detracts from it.

    1. Terry Barnes

      Re: Never ending

      It is distasteful - but what's the alternative? One thing we've learnt from nearly 20 years of mass-market Internet is that people won't pay to use the services they want. Advertising can plug the gap between what a service provider spends and what they earn, but people don't much like it.

      It's the Holy Grail of the web, but a new model that lets service providers make a return on what they provide consumers has to be found. Eventually VCs and investors will tire of pumping money into businesses whose only model for success is "get lots of users and hope the advertisers are interested". What comes after that? I don't know.

  11. NoOneSpecific

    Pardon me while I just delete this program...

    So, I guess it's time to start using TANGO and other programs to VOIP and ditch Skype. Oh well old friend, it was a good run while it lasted!


  12. Nick Kew Silver badge

    Demographic targeting?

    I wonder if they might target this a little bit. To take the most obvious example, spare Linux users the crap on the grounds that they might expect Linux users to have a much lower tolerance of crap before we switch to an alternative, compared to windows users?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Demographic targeting?

      There's no Linux in Microsoft's sight, Microsoft knows no Linux.

    2. Dan 55 Silver badge

      Re: Demographic targeting?

      They're going to have fun demographically targetting me. My profile is basically empty.

  13. J. R. Hartley Silver badge


    Well that's the end of that then.

  14. Anonymous Coward

    We have to ask ourselves... "What would Jesus use?"

    And what adds would he like to "chat on gaily" about?

    Blade sharpeners - for his mightly sword of righteousness? Fire lighters, to kindle the fires of hell for the big roast? Or which sects of the small time cult, just don't quite make the grade - and shall be punished for not loving him enough?

    Lets ask Microsoft shall we?

    1. DJ 2

      Re: We have to ask ourselves... "What would Jesus use?"

      The same as everyone else, Whores, Money Lenders and Leppers.

  15. Lance 3

    Next Microsoft will use this in the following methods.

    1) They will see if you Windows Activation Technology shows you have a valid license, if not they will connect you to a rep that can assist you in rectifying that.

    2) If they see you are not running the "Ultimate" edition, they will connect you to a rep to assist you.

    3) If they see you are not running Windows, they will connect you with a rep to sell you a license.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New verb?

    Hi, you've just been Skyped

  17. James O'Brien

    Title is wrong....

    "Skype launches in-call ads

    Sticks its fingers down the throat of conversation"

    "Microsoft launches in-call ads

    Won't even offer a reacharound"

    There fixed

  18. Graham Wilson

    Fuck 'em! - - That's the end of that!

    Goodbye Skype.

    Fuck off and good riddance.


    P.S.: Hope you go bankrupt soon.

  19. shane fitzgerald

    Leg in

    No doubt the next line will be...

    Subscribe to xbox live - get ad free skype!

    Buy windows phone - get ads free skype!

    Upgrade to windows 8 - get ads free skype! (metro ui only!)

    Buy a windows 8 tablet - get ads free skype!

    Kiss our ass - get ads free skype! (ARM compatible ass only)

    1. Graham Wilson
      Thumb Up

      Re: Leg in

      Yeah, too right!

  20. P. Lee Silver badge

    How do you make a substantial userbase?

    Take a massive userbase and add annoyances.

    Perhaps MS wanted the tech rather than the userbase.

  21. CaptSmegHead
    Thumb Down

    voice recognition

    If they are going to use voice recognition to target ads i'd like to see what they offer with my usual skype conversation



    hello can you hear me?

    you're breaking up



  22. guvna

    Find that man

    Find him. The man that went into the boardroom and said "hey, I've got a great idea of what we can do with Skype"

    I want to hurt him.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Find that man

      We should all Skype him and call him a c**t - just to see if Skype then pushes us ads for pr0n.

  23. Silverburn
    Black Helicopters

    If the ads are contextual to my conversation (eg: talking about "boats", and an ad for a yacht dealer in my area comes up), I will unplug all my appliances, and go live in a cave. Or sue.

    1. rob miller
      Black Helicopters

      contextual to my conversation

      indeed. guess this confirms that the NSA/CIA/XXX got their skype wiretap when MS bought them - but we did know that anyway. this just shows that MS has the contract for all the speech-to-text processing as well.

    2. Havin_it


      ...I will [...] go live in a cave. Or sue.

      Are you sure Sue, whoever she is, won't mind you living in her?

  24. wowfood


    When it said "in call ads" I honestly thought you'd get interrupted mid call by a silky seductive voice telling you to buy a product.

    Which could get pretty awkward.

    1. ArmanX
      Black Helicopters

      Re: Phew

      You've never listened to audio ads, have you? No, it wouldn't be a silky, smooth voice, it'll be some loudmouth with the gain on his microphone pegged, roaring on about used cars, or explaining how you're the winner of select coupons worth over 10,000 Yen.

      Don't worry, that's in the next step of this plan. And the third step? You get random calls, day or night, from automated audio ads - only the "from" number is always one of your friends.

  25. Only me!
    Thumb Down

    Opt out what opt out?

    From the Microsoft Opt out screen....

    Opt out from all participating companies.

    Submitting your choices for all currently participating companies stores your opt out preferences to interest-based advertising in your browser.

    "Currently participating" - So there is no way of saying sod off to all future ones too....what a load of tosh....this is not in any way a real opt out choice!

  26. strangefish

    microsoft driving creativity

    I give it about a week before someone much smarter than me comes out with a skype adblocker

  27. CABVolunteer

    Problems for the BBC?

    Will adverts appear on Skype's video-call service?

    Over the last year or so, I've seen several interviews with members of the public on BBC news programmes via the video version of Skype. If adverts appear during the course of the interview, then that'll mean the end of live broadcasting of Skype-based interviews to allow the adverts to the edited out. And presumably the advert-supported channels won't be too happy either.

  28. largefile

    Wow, I really thought that Skype would remain free forever because it doesn't cost anything to own it, run it or maintain it. How do you propose ANY service like Skype exist for free?

    1. GDR!

      Free, skype-like

      OSTN -

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    MS is crazy..

    going the Nokia way when they bought Navteq for 8 billiion. Too much money, than brains.

    Guess what? Google offered Maps fro free.

    MS acquired Skype for 8 billion. too much money, than Brains.

    Guess what? There are (and will be many more options now).

    Try Tango, Google chat, Viber, Vonage et al.

    RIP SKype.

  30. Old Timer

    Dear freetards

    You don't want ads? Pay for it. Skype Premium with multi way video calling costs less than £3 a month and includes voice calls to landline/mobiles to a country you choose (albeit from a limited list). Anyone who wasn't expecting some attempt at monetisation is living in cloud cuckoo land.

  31. Tom 7 Silver badge

    I've got no credit

    on skype and I dont get adds.

    But then I'm not on windows

  32. Wize

    Bet the adverts don't show up...

    ...when they show it off on Hawaii 5-O

  33. Derichleau
    Thumb Down

    What's the ICO doing about this?

    In the UK, section 11 of the DPA98 entitles us to opt out of all direct marketing from a company by submitting a request for that company to cease processing our data for the purpose of advertising, marketing and public relations. In which case, you could simply submit a section 11 request to Microsoft and they would have to remove the adverts or fact prosecution. But will Microsoft comply with such a request bearing in mind that they're a US-based company.

    This is yet another example of our rights as UK data subjects being ignored by non-UK based companies that couldn't give a toss about the DPA98. Twitter, LinkedIn, Skype, Facebook... they all ignore our statutory rights.

    The ICO and the government should be doing more to enforce our rights.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What's the ICO doing about this?

      Erm, you opt out from the marketing by not using the product.

      The DPA doesn't give you protection against using a service, a condition of which is that your personal data gets used, and it doesn't have to because you are free to choose not to use that service.

  34. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Military Impact

    All the troops that use Skype to keep in touch with family whilst in sunny places around the world will be particularly chuffed that their (limited) time to do so will be interrupted by ads. For extra impact make them from funeral directors or divorce lawyers... I can see some great publicity coming!

  35. druck Silver badge



  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Military Impact

    To further your post, often we deal with very limited bandwidth and spotty service (not to mention shoddily-built infrastructure by contractors whose pay I don't want to contemplate) for morale wi-fi and other internet sources. It took me the better part of an hour and a half to actually connect after I got back from work. My connection has dropped several times. My signal to the local router is very strong, yet the backend link is mediocre.

    I digress, but the above situation is exacerbated when ads are introduced. Animated, high-resolution, audio/video, pop-out ads exacerbate this greatly. We don't need advertisements for products we cannot get and do not want to be reminded of the fact.

  37. Nathan 13


    Im sure the "ads" will just be a banner on the bottom of the dialer screen, rather than actually interrupting the call for 30 seconds.

    If it is the latter they will lose their user base quicker than the speed of light!!

  38. IGnatius T Foobar

    Good! Bring it on!

    I think this is a fabulous idea. It will piss off a lot of users and help get the drooling masses off of Skype and onto better non-Microsoft technologies such as Google Talk. Bring it!

  39. Kinjuru

    Got Trillian, deals with Skype along with everything else, sans Adverts.

  40. John 62

    Microsoft driving users to Apple


    Google's Hangouts would be good if they were a bit easier to set up.

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