The free services on Skype are being ruined by huge display adverts.
Skype is bringing in something called "Conversation Ads" that will appear within the calling window during audio calls. Apparently the advertising people at Skype actually believe that people will see the adverts and start talking about its content to the caller.
It is the sort of thing that advertising people are programmed to believe – that their product is so important that people will want to talk about it. while it is more likely that any caller will be swearing at the advertisement.
The advertisements will be targeted at users based on their location, gender, and age.
Skype's Sandhya Venkatachalam wrote on her company bog that on a 1:1 audio call, "users will see content that could spark additional topics of conversation that are relevant to Skype users and highlight unique and local brand experiences."
After all people have nothing better to do in a consumption based capitalism other than talking about products which are randomly flashed in front of them.
Venkatachalam thinks that the advertising is a way for Skype to generate "fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about".
Skype needs to know that any of my friends are so shallow that they will talk to me about any products. Well other than Nigel, but he is an Apple fanboy and we don't talk much.
Apparently the adverts will not be small either. The display ads will be just as big as the picture of the person you are trying to communicate with.
It looks like the ads will appear during Skype-to-Skype audio calls for users of the Skype for Windows client. However only those who do not have Skype Credit or subscriptions.
Skype insists that there would be no degradation of call quality and will be silent, non-expanding.
Users can opt out of personalised advertisements, but it's a bit tricky. It requires you to go to the Privacy menu in Tools -> Options of Skype for Windows. You will still get adverts but they will be connected to you are location rather than hitting your personal data.