Skype users in the UK, USA and Germany should be prepared to see advertising from this week. It's Skype's first foray into adding advertising for the service, a business traveller favourite that allows free Skype-to-Skype video and audio calls, plus cheap calls to phone lines across the world.
Ads will initially appear within the Home tab of Skype for Windows, although Skype's Chief Marketing Officer Doug Bewsher says "we may experiment with ads in other areas as well". No advertising has yet been announced for the iPhone, Android, Mac or other non-Windows Skype platforms.
The company is entering into arrangements with Nokia, Visa, Universal Pictures and social media deals site Groupon to start with, focussing initially on the British, American and German markets.
Skype's plan is for only one set of ads to appear each day. The company also says "you may only see ads occasionally", which we take to mean that users won't see ads all the time.
The company promises "the ads won't interrupt your Skype experience", and specifically mentions that ads won't appear in the middle of a conversation. Here's what Skype says the advertising will look like at first:
Unless you opt out, Skype will use "non-personally identifiable demographic data" -- age, location, gender, and so on -- to target ads.
If you'd rather that Skype didn't use this information, then go to Tools > Options and select the Privacy tab.
Users in Australia shouldn't see any ads until Skype rolls out Australia-based advertising, but Australian users travelling in the US, UK and Germany are likely to see the ads.
Skype has not yet responded to Australian Business Traveller's questions asking if paid Skype Unlimited users will have an ad-free experience.