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Advertising Communications Microsoft

Skype To Feature Giant Ads 178

Posted by Soulskill
from the when-advertising-departments-attack dept.
benfrog writes "Skype will be introducing a new 'feature' into calls for users don't have subscriptions or credit. Giant ads. They are actually calling them 'Conversation ads' because they hope the ads (as large as the picture of the person to whom you are speaking) will 'spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences.' The ads, of course, are tailored to each individual user, though there is an opt-out for that."
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Skype To Feature Giant Ads

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:24PM (#40314847)

    What the fuck is up with this fucking ad and how the fuck do I get rid of it?

    • by PeanutButterBreath (1224570) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:32PM (#40314961)

      - What? What ad are you seeing?
      - Its some damned ad for. . . [cash register sound effect]

    • What the fuck is up with this fucking ad and how the fuck do I get rid of it?

      You got me. How 'bout we try Jitsi.

    • by Technician (215283) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @06:25PM (#40315597)

      You can use Skype if you wish. Somehow I see alternatives gaining traction.

      SIP protocol for VOIP supports video from several vendors for free. Some SIP providers provide free VOIP gateways to/from Skype and Google Talk.

      You can ring my POTS phone plugged into a SIP ATA (analog telephone adaptor) suchas a Linksys PAP2T from Skype, Google Talk, SIP, or a plain POTS phone for free. No ads, no Skype-In expense. I call all of US and Canada for free dialing with Google Talk. No cost for Skype out.

      Other than the optional Linksys box purchase, the calls are free.

      SIP provider with free Skype gateway - ippi.fr
      Free US DID number for free in calls from POTS - IPKall
      Free calling to US and Canada linked to IPKall number and SIP -- Google Voice (limited locations)
      Free SIP softphone for Linux as an alternate to the Linksys box - Ekiga.net or Twinkle.

      Why pay for Skype-in or out minutes? Ads are optional.

      • by bryan1945 (301828) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @07:12PM (#40316151) Journal

        Yeah, that will be so easy for my family and friends to figure out how to implement. Maybe I should just dig a dedicate landline to all their houses while I'm at it.

        • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

          by Macrat (638047)

          Yeah, that will be so easy for my family and friends to figure out how to implement. Maybe I should just dig a dedicate landline to all their houses while I'm at it.

          Good example of why they should have Apple products and use Facetime.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Sigg3.net (886486)

            You hit the nail on its head,sir! Congratulations!

            Swapping a locked in proprietary solution for another locked in proprietary solution seems like a well thought out strategy.

            V long-sighted.

          • by AmiMoJo (196126)

            So you want to switch from one locked-in product to another, and transfer the cost from viewing adverts to up-front purchases?

            Google Talk and Google+ are actually pretty good for this, and both will run on existing Skype compatible hardware (i.e. a PC or Android/iOS phone/tablet).

            • by smash (1351)
              Well... yup. The devices they sell actually work, have decent support and value add services like... facetime.... :D
        • by Splab (574204)

          couple of cans, some rope and you are good to go.

      • You can use Skype if you wish. Somehow I see alternatives gaining traction.

        Skype used to be great and everyone was on it. Now not so much. I have a lot better luck getting people on Google Talk. And Skype just seems to suck a lot lately in terms of dropped calls, stuttering sound and slow status updates. On my Android tablet it runs for an average of maybe 10 minutes before the app crashes. Looks to me like quality control ended when Microsoft bought the business.

      • You can use Skype if you wish. Somehow I see alternatives gaining traction.

        SIP protocol for VOIP supports video from several vendors for free.

        I recently had a similar thought. I've been using Skype while living in Germany to keep in touch with my long-distance girlfriend for the last few months. I figured, let's give SIP a go, and give Skype the boot.

        In summary: SIP is flaky as hell when both parties are behind NAT. Sometimes it works, but most of the time, it doesn't.

        The big thing Skype has going for it is "it just works". No need to forward firewall ports, and no worries about whether it works when one party is behind a particular brand of

    • More importandly: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Please point me to a open source equivalent that can do video too.
      (And that I can use with my grandma, who can't handle anything more complex than a iPad. *sadface*)

      SIP only works with audio, as far as I know
      XMPP's Jingle can also only do audio, as far as I know.
      And in any case, I don’t know any client that does video.

      MSN, Yahoo and ICQ do video, don’t they?
      (But it was usually not really good quality, and complicated to get to work. Plus, I did never see it work with open-source clients. [Includ

  • Can't Wait (Score:5, Funny)

    by Phoenixlol (1549649) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:26PM (#40314865)
    "they hope the ads (as large as the picture of the person to whom you are speaking) will 'spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences" Hey, Grandma, what do you think of hot singles near me?
    • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:28PM (#40314899) Homepage Journal
      "Mommy, why do I always see Valtrex ads when I call daddy during his business trips?"
    • by Sir_Sri (199544)

      Prior to the microsoft buyout that would have expected something like that. Now I would expect to see less sketchy site ads, and eventually things like trying to recognize keywords/phrases in your speech and highlighting products consistent with what you talked about. So rather than have sketchy ads you have a sketchy service.

      For all of the many things wrong with microsoft, they try and bury the sketchier side of their business from public view. But if I call my girlfriend and skype to talk about dinner,

      • You know what would make me put up with it (if I were a Skype user)? If they just released the algorithm used, linguistic DB etc. There's enormous amounts of work going into advertising, marketing and proprietary devices that would be of great value to the AI crowd (I'm thinking part of a computer-linguistics library). Even if you put a three year delay on it to protect commercial interests, there's more of benefit to humanity here than just generating bits of green paper.
      • Apparently you've never tried Windows Live Messenger (MSN Messenger) Microsofts, IM program which is FUCKING PLAGUED WITH ADS all over the fucking place. To make it wose, Its the worst UI ever.

        There are no good IM programs/networks anymore. Google talk is it, but they never update their desktop client. Now Skype is going to shit? WTF?!

    • by kpainter (901021) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:51PM (#40315185)
      This is slashdot. There won't be hot singles ads flashing up on the folks that hang out here. There will be ads for "Fleshlight" popping up.
    • I'm just wondering who the brands in the ads will be local to? Me or the relative on the other side of the world I'm speaking to.
      When the housewives speak to troops in Iraq will it strike up a conversation on the best local store to buy suicide bombers vests?
      When I speak to my Russian friends will all my ads get served up with incomprehensible type containing the letter R backwards?
      Or maybe someone in the UK will be interested in the new toll road opening in my city.

  • by Sparticus789 (2625955) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:26PM (#40314875) Journal

    Marketing department: They are not ads, they are conversation starters. Therefore you should read every one, click on them, purchase something from the site, then talk to your friend on Skype about how great they are!

  • by fche (36607) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:26PM (#40314879)
  • by Lucas123 (935744) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:29PM (#40314911) Homepage
    What's more fascinating than discussing ads? I can just imagine the Skype conversation with my wife as I'm on a week-long business trip: "Hi Honey, how are you doin ... hey, did you see that Microsoft just added new Windows Phone app?"
  • if the complete abandoning of the linux version wasn't enough, i think this will give just the right incentive for us to start using it and for the devs to do their best
    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Don't worry, the Linux version won't have these ads. It won't be updated for that.

      Also, MS didn't abandon the Linux version. Skype did it loooong before.

    • by jonadab (583620)
      > if the complete abandoning of the linux version wasn't enough

      Honestly, speaking as someone who has used Linux since 1998 and used it pretty much exclusively for about half of that time (and a couple of years of the non-exclusivity was because I was using BSD), if it had been my decision, I'd probably have abandoned the Linux version of Skype too.

      The Linux version of Skype was basically a steaming pile of rabbit droppings. It felt totally out of place on a Linux desktop (due mostly to completely ignori
  • by backslashdot (95548) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:31PM (#40314943)

    "Looks like you're going to be in the doghouse tonight. Would you like to order some flowers?"

  • by CanHasDIY (1672858) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:32PM (#40314965) Homepage Journal
    The Prophet consistently referred to those in marketing as "the biggest suckers of Satan's cock"

    By the way if anyone here is in advertising or marketing kill yourself.

    No, no, no it’s just a little thought. I’m just trying to plant seeds. Maybe one day, they’ll take root – I don’t know. You try, you do what you can. Kill yourself.

    Seriously though, if you are, do.

    Aaah, no really, there’s no rationalisation for what you do and you are Satan’s little helpers. Okay – kill yourself – seriously. You are the ruiner of all things good, seriously. No this is not a joke, you’re going, “there’s going to be a joke coming,” there’s no fucking joke coming. You are Satan’s spawn filling the world with bile and garbage. You are fucked and you are fucking us. Kill yourself. It’s the only way to save your fucking soul, kill yourself.

    Planting seeds. I know all the marketing people are going, “he’s doing a joke” there’s no joke here whatsoever. Suck a tail-pipe, fucking hang yourself, borrow a gun from a Yank friend – I don’t care how you do it. Rid the world of your evil fucking makinations. Machi Whatever, you know what I mean.

    I know what all the marketing people are thinking right now too, “Oh, you know what Bill’s doing, he’s going for that anti-marketing dollar. That’s a good market, he’s very smart.”

    Oh man, I am not doing that. You fucking evil scumbags!

    “Ooh, you know what Bill’s doing now, he’s going for the righteous indignation dollar. That’s a big dollar. A lot of people are feeling that indignation. We’ve done research – huge market. He’s doing a good thing.”

    Godammit, I’m not doing that, you scum-bags! Quit putting a godamm dollar sign on every fucking thing on this planet!

    “Ooh, the anger dollar. Huge. Huge in times of recession. Giant market, Bill’s very bright to do that.”

    God, I’m just caught in a fucking web.

    “Ooh the trapped dollar, big dollar, huge dollar. Good market – look at our research. We see that many people feel trapped. If we play to that and then separate them into the trapped dollar”

    How do you live like that? And I bet you sleep like fucking babies at night, don’t you?

    “What didya do today honey?”

    “Oh, we made ah, we made ah arsenic a childhood food now, goodnight.” [snores] “Yeah we just said you know is your baby really too loud? You know?” [snores] “Yeah, you know the mums will love it.” [snores]

    Sleep like fucking children, don’t ya, this is your world isn’t it?

    - Bill Hicks, 1961-1992

    Thank $deity Bill isn't around to see this shit...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    There have to be some decent alternatives out there.. right?
    (Popularity aside, of course.)

    I mean making a decent voice/video chat program doesn't seem like a huge task... and Skype has demonstrated many times that it sucks very much.. so the market for alternatives is there.

    • by fa2k (881632)

      There have to be some decent alternatives out there.. right? (Popularity aside, of course.)

      I'll second that request...

      Wouldn't it be possible to have a reasonably stable P2P network without any central servers? This would eliminate the need to rely on an advertisement company for free callse. It could be hard to store the address book for access from multiple computers, one would need encryption and a DHT.

  • by cpu6502 (1960974) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @05:40PM (#40315063)

    Where I see an ad, and I immediately post a status update about the awesome ad I just saw.
    Oh.
    No.
    I don't really do that. I won't do it on Skype either. Anyone noticing a trend with companies increasing prices this past year? Comcast raised their rates from $60 unlimited TV to $60 + $7 each extra TV. Sounds like a bargain unless you are the typical house with 3-4 TVs, then you spend more.

    Verizon raised their rates from $60 unlimited phone calling to $90 for just 1GB. Dish Network eliminated their $20/month Family Plan, so now the cheapest rate is $35/month, and my phone company just tacked on an extra $1/month for 911 service. Companies are scrambling for extra cash.

    • by noh8rz3 (2593935)

      and my phone company just tacked on an extra $1/month for 911 service

      Those greedy bastards!

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Considering 911 service was Free for the last ~12 years, it is pretty greedy to suddenly add an extra dollar per month.

        • by smash (1351)
          Its because of the shift to VOIP, and maintaining locational information and priority dialling for 911 is not free. margins on data/telco stuff aren't massive either any more.
      • and my phone company just tacked on an extra $1/month for 911 service

        Those greedy bastards!

        911 is a public service. Charging for it is akin to the police billing the victims of crime when they respond to a call.

        Personally I think 911 is over-rated, particularly all of the geo-location stuff that was mandated for cell-phones and VOIP in order to enable 911 calls to automatically report locations (which has apprently turned out to be too unreliable for emergency services, but good enough for the FBI and local police departments to track people). But as long as 911 is something society in general

    • Anyone noticing a trend with companies increasing prices this past year? Comcast raised their rates from $60 unlimited TV to $60 + $7 each extra TV. Sounds like a bargain unless you are the typical house with 3-4 TVs, then you spend more.

      I'm assuming that there is a typo in here somewhere, since $60 + $7/TV never seems like a bargain compared to $60 + $0/TV.

      I am also somewhat skeptical at the suggestion that the "typical" (whether that is mean, median, or mode) cable-connected home has 3-4 cable-connected T

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        >>>I am also somewhat skeptical at the suggestion that the "typical" (whether that is mean, median, or mode) cable-connected home has 3-4 cable-connected TVs.
        >>>
        Maybe I come from a weird family? I had 2 cable-connected TVs in my tiny apartment (until I switched to antennaTV).

        My parents have 4 (kitchen, living room, garage, basement) and my brother's family has 5 (living room, kitchen, bedroom, kids bedroom, basement). Is that abnormal? How many do most families have?

        • My family has one with cable, and then a smaller one with an antenna in an upstairs bedroom. If the mobile device situation is at all like the TV situation, I suspect that this article [somethingawful.com] may be about your brother's family.
    • You haven't seen nothing if you played Farmville on Facebook.

      People kept bugging me so I decided after a year and half to log in. The ads pop up and you MUST CLICK ON THEM and there is no mimimize or close button. The whole game freezes up and you have to visit Bubbletown or whatever crap, then exit and go back. The Jaded Chinese ad on is the worse as you must setup a game then click cancel and go back and you can't play at all unless you visit every full page ad. It is INSANE.

      Now I know why the adults stop

      • by cpu6502 (1960974)

        Your story reminds me of a BBC show..... a sci-fi future where people ride bikes, play games, and are forced to watch ads in their bedrooms (unless they pay to get rid of them). Day after miserable day.

  • I am not in the market for giants, despite the temptation of Death By Snoo Snoo
  • They're just ripping off Telephore [telephore.com]*:

    telephore's contextual cellular ad system uses advanced speech recognition technology to monitor and record subscriber conversations. It can then deliver advertising in call to connect your customer with high-quality ads that meet their needs.

    For example, if your customer has a medical problem that they discuss with their doctor, our ad system can then later deliver an audio advertising message when they use the phone on a subsequent occasion.

    Better still, the other

  • by Ralph Spoilsport (673134) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @06:02PM (#40315319) Journal
    "So - wow - what the fuck is that?""

    "Looks like an advert for some kind of leisure footwear."

    "I can see that, but what IS this infernal thing, I mean, like WTF?"

    "It seems the Microsoftian overlords of Skype are looking for yet another way to extract value from the working class."

    "That's unfortunate."

    "yes, it is. I guess we'll just have to find some alternative to Skype now. Fuck. What a pain in the ass."

    "No shit."

    "And the damnedest thing is they figured the ads would spark conversation on Skype."

    "Right. Like I'm going to go on about some ad for Crocks. "Crocks! For when Flip Flops are a bit too formal!"

    "See - you just did."

    "Oh, FML."

    "I think the next conversation is when can we meet again, F2F?"

    "When I'm back in town, next week, darling."

    "Cool. So, doesn't Apple have some kind of alternative to Skype on the iPad we can use to avoid - LOOK! There's another! I see it as an ad for boil creme. What do you see?"

    "Oil. All I see is oil."

    "Yeah - well that'll run out soon enough and put an end to all this garbage."

    "Not a moment too soon, love. Not a moment too soon."

    "I'll check into the Apple angle, and see what we can do. Gotta go - love you!"

    "Love you too."

  • Google knows how to do ads well. If you're looking for free, try their plugin: https://www.google.com/chat/video [google.com]
  • by White Flame (1074973) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @06:06PM (#40315369)

    Isn't Skype supposed to be encrypted between the end users? Of course, that claim has always been in a "Trust us, we're trustable!" framing, but if this listens to your text & voice comms in order to select ads, that finally does confirm that there is absolutely no privacy on Skype.

    • I don't think it says that. They say the ads are based on geography ("local brand experience") and tailored to the user, probably through some other mechanism, like paying Google/Facebook for profile data. I imagine the geographic information is dependant on using a mobile phone with a GPS.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        No need for GPS. IP address is good enough for this purpose. They need to know in which country you live, like to know which city, but that's about as detailed as need be.

    • by postglock (917809) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:13PM (#40316871)
      Nowhere does it say they will listen in to your conversations. From TFA, "We may use non-personally identifiable demographic information (e.g. location, gender and age) to target ads."
  • I'd say this is more or less the death of Skype, since it opens the window for someone to create an open-source alternative which doesn't have this annoying feature at all. Quite what form that will take is up in the air, but really we just need the motivation to put the pieces together in a friendly way.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      There is already a FOSS video/voice chat system, Ekiga, in existence. You can dial "real" phone numbers with a subscription to any number of providers.

  • by flimflammer (956759) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @06:57PM (#40315971)

    I don't understand why people are claiming the service is going to die because of this, or how dare they, or what have you.

    They're silent ads which appear on the conversation window where the participating callers are tiled. Do people seriously do nothing but stare at the conversation window so they can look at that static avatar image of whoever they're talking to? It's not an audio advertisement. It's just a picture that takes up a slot in the conversation frame. It's going to interrupt conversations to have a silent, ignorable show up on the conversation window? Of course their reasoning for doing this is marketing spin but seriously now. You can even opt out of personalized advertisements so it's not trying to target you.

    I really just don't see the problem with them doing this. Skype is a free service with premium services attached. If you're using nothing but the free service, you will get rather unobtrusive advertisements, otherwise if you've been paying for the premium services it won't even show up.

  • Insulting (Score:4, Interesting)

    by JohnFen (1641097) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @07:33PM (#40316385)

    I understand the ads. They suck, but at least you can get rid of them.

    What gets me is that according to Skype, these aren't ads, they're "conversation starters" and they hope that we will discuss them with our friends. That's just downright insulting.

    Show me the ad if you must. Don't tell me that I should like it and talk about it with others. I'm not your damned advertising agent.

  • by Cazekiel (1417893) on Wednesday June 13, 2012 @08:44PM (#40317221)

    I bite my tongue when using a free service with ads.

    But come now, 'conversation starters'? Just because I'm broke doesn't mean I'm dumb. Just say, "We're putting ads on this shit, deal."

  • Anyone here who is the least bit surprised at this move needs to turn in their geek cards immediately.

    While Skype's popularity has continued to steadily increase, its quality has unquestionably been in decline since even before Microsoft bought them. Now that they're MS-owned the only real option is to seek out alternatives.

  • by Tom (822) on Thursday June 14, 2012 @03:11AM (#40319807) Homepage Journal

    This is the 2nd time I'm saying it, for the 2nd reason: Ever since MS acquired Skype, it's been going downhill. MS has always been a marketing-driven organisation, this just goes to show that the takeover is now complete.

    It does give us a glimpse into the mind of the spammer, though. Doesn't "they are conversation starters" sound a lot like the "people are waiting for our newsletter" rationalisation that the other spammers use?

  • Considering Skype STILL have not released a 64bit* version or one that works properly with Phonon, I can guess the Linux users will be safe from adverts too. * Static or dynamic are NOT 64bit versions, they drag a whole pile of 32bit junk. It's pathetic as the only application in Linux that refuses to be designed / built for 64bit systems.

What this country needs is a dime that will buy a good five-cent bagel.

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