Meebo and Skype enter into an advertising partnership

By • Mar 11th, 2011 • Category: Blog

Skype has announced that it will introduce large-display banner ads into its VoIP service. Skype will partner with Meebo to handle all of its U.S. ad sales. The new ads will be featured on the “Home Tab” of the Skype for Windows interface (versions 5.1 and later). Advertisers can choose packages that include the Home Tab ads on Skype, takeover ads on Meebo’s IM aggregator service, and ads on Meebo’s iPhone app.

Skype is finally implementing advertising after all these years. It’s no secret that Skype has been pushing for an IPO as fast as it possibly can, so implementing ads onto the Skype interface could work beautifully for Skype. But for users who are used to a traditional, ad-free Skype experience, adding ads has the potential to alienate a large chunk of users. This isn’t because of the natural clash between users and ads, but it’s because Skype isn’t implementing the ads in a subtle fashion. Other sites like Google and Facebook can get away with advertising because they specifically target ads that are relevant to users and they marginalize the ads so that they don’t bother the user. Implementing an ad right on the “Home Tab” of the UI can and will drive away customers who will be annoyed by flashing, high-visibility ads every time they sign in. Still, implementing ads maybe the next logical step to take, especially since the “freemium” model that Skype implemented may not be showing the requisite revenues for a pre-IPO company.

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