Skype Launches Interactive Advertising

By Erin Harrison March 07, 2011

It was only a matter of time before Skype hopped on the digital advertising wagon. The Luxembourg-based Internet phone company says it is launching advertising on its service for the first time.

The company, which is still 30 percent owned by online auction house eBay, Inc., also announced Monday its first advertisers: Groupon, Inc., Nokia Corp., Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures and Visa, Inc. “Ads will appear in the U.S., U.K. and Germany and advertising sales for Skype are initially focused in those markets,” according to the company’s blog.

Skype said its platform, with 145 million users a month and 29 million at peak times, is attractive for brands to market their products. The platform will support large-format, rich interactive ads.

Display ads can also feature a “Click & Call” button so users can act on impulse. Ads can be shared on Facebook and Twitter.

Skype said it is partnering with advertising sales companies such as Meebo in the U.S., Ad2One in the U.K., and Stroer Interactive in Germany.

Users be assured that you won’t “suddenly see annoying pop-up ads or flashy banner ads in middle of conversations,” the company promises.

“We may use non-personally identifiable demographic data (e.g. location, gender and age) to target ads, which helps ensure that you see relevant ads. For example, if you’re in the U.S., we don’t want to show you ads for a product that is only available in the U.K.,” the blog said.

Users can opt out of allowing Skype to share this non-personally identifiable demographic data with advertisers from the “Privacy” tab in “Tools,” and then click “Options.”

Erin Harrison is Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives, for TMC, where she oversees the company's strategic editorial initiatives, including the launch of several new print and online initiatives. She plays an active role in the print publications and TechZone360, covering IP communications, information technology and other related topics. To read more of Erin's articles, please visit her columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

Executive Editor, Strategic Initiatives

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