Skype for Windows is now showing display ads from Visa, Groupon and other marquee partners in an attempt to boost revenues after filing for an IPO last year.
showing display ads from Visa, Groupon, Universal and others on its home
tab-marking the voice over IP service's first jaunt into ad serving that could expand to
other areas of the PC calling platform.
users to make free local and cheap long-distance calls, including video-chat
sessions, from their PCs to other PCs, landlines and mobile phones. The service
has 29 million concurrent users, with 663 million people worldwide who have
downloaded a Skype client to a PC or mobile phone.
network of users makes the Skype platform a natural target for making money
from advertising, though the company has resisted doing so in the past because
it didn't want to clutter the user experience.
for an IPO in August, Skype has clearly
changed its approach. The company began quietly testing ads from its partner
Rdio in the past two months and is now ramping for a wider rollout, starting
with an ad from Visa, which users can see in the Skype for Windows home tab
Only users in
the United States, the United Kingdom and Germany will initially see ads, which
will include spots from Groupon and Universal Pictures. Skype is also starting
slow, showing ads from one brand per day in markets where ads are being sold.
Google's DoubleClick display ad platform surfaces the ads when users click on
eventually show ads in other areas in the future, but declined to say where.
The company promised that Skype wouldn't introduce pop-up ads or glittering
banner ads while users are in the middle of Skype chat sessions.
believe that advertising, when done in the right way, will help us continue to
invest in developing great products," said
Skype CMO Doug Bewsher in a blog post March 7.
Skype will use vague demographic data, such as location, gender and age, to
properly target ads to its users. However, this will not include personally
identifiable info such as names and addresses.
users can opt out of allowing Skype to share its demographic data with
advertisers from the Privacy tab in Tools, under options.
eBay, which resold
the majority of Skype to investors in
2009, and its investor partners helped Skype file for an IPO last August.
majority of its income came from its SkypeOut product for low-cost calling to
landlines and mobile devices, the company said it expected to boost revenues
from new products.
These include group
video calling, licensing and marketing, and Skype for Business products. Ads
are now clearly part of the money-making mix.