Skype have just announced a new feature for voice calls, 'Conversation Ads'. Conversation ads will allow users without Skype Credit or subscriptions to make Skype-to-Skype audio calls with the Windows client, but will now experience ad images displayed in their call windows.
Skype pushes this in a weird way, by saying that the new feature is a way to get customers to engage in "meaningful conversations about brands in a highly engaging environment". Gotta love marketing speak. Skype will target the ads using non-personally identifiable demographic information on the users involved in the calls, including location, gender, and age. Users do however have the option to opt out of these targeted ads, but will experience non-targeted ads.
Skype's new Conversation Ads are available in 55 countries and they have assured users that call quality will not change. Skype's Creative Acceptance Policy states that ads cannot expand beyond a 300x250 rectangle and cannot be larger than 40k. They will arrive in GIFs, Flash files and JPEGs. Animations have a time limit: 30 seconds, and can only loop three times while displayed.