Skype Begins Showing Ads for Bots in Notification Panel

Posted on November 21, 2017 by Brad Sams in Skype with 19 Comments

 

I have a love/hate relationship with Skype; on one hand, it’s easy to use and makes it easy to conduct video calls but on the other hand, the app is very good at shooting itself in the foot. Earlier today, an advertisement for a new bot on Skype showed up in the notification panel of the app and thus begins the era of bot advertising.

This advertisement showed up this morning and while it’s easy to brush this off as a minor thing, it’s likely the start of more advertising showing up in this app.

Typically, I am against these types of ads but there are two ways to look at this. This service is free and while there are premium services connected to it, I do not actively pay for this product which means I should expect ads at some point.

That being said, Skype is currently struggling with consumers and I am under the impression that it has not seen any meaningful growth for several years. The company says they have 300 million active users but that figure has been used all the way back to 2013; ‘new’ services like WhatsApp have over a billion users.

Knowing they are struggling for growth, tossing advertisements into the mix does not look like a sustainable path to growth. Further, bots in Skype have typically been awful and I still think we are several generations away from of these digital-boxes being able to perform a useful action.

Also, who is able to type while cooking? This would be much better for Cortana than Skype.

Microsoft has slowly been fixing Skype and now that it is fully ‘in the cloud’, it has been more reliable with message delivery but it’s far from perfect. If the company hopes to grow the platform, they need to start adding extensibility that people actually want and not bots that are only creating more noise.

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Comments (22)

22 responses to “Skype Begins Showing Ads for Bots in Notification Panel”

  1. longhorn

    I think it's possible to turn off bot messages (log in on Skype.com). I'm worried about something else. I have Skype 7 (native app) and I don't want Skype 8. Oh, I see you are using Skype 8...

    Sometimes I wonder why I am negative to tech in general and especially Microsoft these days. I do have a hard time to accept change and in particular when change means:


    Ads

    Telemetry

    Win32 being replaced by web or mobile apps

    Forced updates (and perpetual beta software), I bet most people don't want their OS to change


    Microsoft is in a difficult position without mobile. When will Microsoft realize that their biggest asset is Win32? The PC won't die if Microsoft doesn't kill it. Right now everything MS is doing is aimed at killing the desktop-experience and that's why I'm negative. Skype 8 is just another mobile slap in the face. I'm actually surprised that many people seem to handle the destruction of the desktop quite well. Good for you I guess. I always saw the desktop as the luxurious castle and mobile as the cabin in the woods. Let's not move the cabin into the castle. How much work would be required to maintain Skype 7 for the desktop? Not that much I would assume. Keep Skype 8 on mobile where it belongs. Technological regression is depressing.

  2. OwenM

    The recent UI updates were the final nail in the coffin for me. Friends and I have moved to Discord.

  3. bluvg

    I'm a big Skype fan, and I've used many of them... Viber? Yuck. LINE? Double yuck. Facebook Messenger? What the heck? WhatsApp? No thanks. Yahoo Messenger? Used to be great, but collapsed under its own weight, and the new one is a sad shadow of the past. When Skype replaced MSN Messenger, I was initially sad, but over time, it got so much better. One big reason for me is that the emoji *****actually express human emotion***** (the old Yahoo Messenger smileys were also great for this). What is the crap they use in WhatsApp, Viber, LINE??? If you want weird stickers, go nuts, but at least have *some* easily-understood emoji--i.e., they look like faces actual humans make, AND include descriptions in case you weren't sure. On some of these, I have no idea what > half of them mean.


    That said, the new Win10 UWP app is still not quite a replacement for the Win32 version. In particular, it soaks up memory until it becomes unusably slow, and in general is rather pokey in comparison. It's also missing some features. The Skype mobile client on WinMo 10 is almost unusable on my phone, but no one cares about that anymore. Haven't tried it on iOS/Android. But that's part of it: I *hate* IM on a phone--I can type/swype fast, but what a pain in the behind compared to typing on a computer. It seems that, for desktop, Skype >>>>>>>>> others. For mobile, others > Skype.

  4. cawoodstock

    I'll be the guy who says he has no problem with this ?. I use Skype for work and to communicate with friends all the time, and have seen it improve markedly in the past couple years in reliability. While I certainly want to see the user base grow, if having ads makes it profitable, and therefore much more likely to never be shuttered, I'm ok with it.

  5. Ron Diaz

    Sometimes I think Microsoft wants to be hated....

  6. wbtmid

    I thankfully don't have any use for Skype. But, I still use Windows to accomplish other tasks, which as Longhorn comments, is made increasingly more difficult by all of Microsoft's recent changes. More distractions are caused by ads, the continual bonging of notifications of one sort of another. UI changes that slow down the process. (I'll never understand why adding clicks, increasing menu choices adding complexity is supposed to be an improvement, if the changes don't benefit the user! Sure, if the change is something the user needs and will actually use.) Ads and random notifications are more often a distraction, interrupt a train of thought or fragment my attention on something else I am trying to do! I am with Longhorn, Microsoft is wrecking the place I go to get things accomplished!

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  8. Roger Ramjet

    This would be like me getting up in arms if Brad Sams would mention: hey, go over to Petri.com for some Tech news, on a Video that I got to watch sans payment of First Ring daily. Oh, wait ..

  9. Stooks

    Who in their right mind uses this application anymore?


    With all the name changes, UI changes, and client changes (broken apart, put back together) I seriously have no idea what Skype is anymore.

  10. MikeGalos

    Awww. Poor babies. The product you get for free is showing ads...

    By comparison with what's done in other companies' "free" products that's not only trivial but is, at least, visible.

    Do any of you seriously think that development and a world-wide set of server farms are free?

    Either pay for software or stop complaining that you aren't a charity.

    • anchovylover

      In reply to MikeGalos:

      I happily pay for this site Mike yet I still see disgusting ads. Given that, what's your point?

      • dontbe evil

        In reply to Stooks:


        probably not, because it's already a challenge to use it, imagine even if they start to provide ads

        • Stooks

          In reply to dontbe_evil:

          "because it's already a challenge to use it"


          You are joking right? Hangouts is stupid simple to use. You know they way things should be in 2017. FaceTime as well.

          • dontbe evil

            In reply to Stooks:


            yes it's easy, the challenge it's to wait when it works

          • bluvg

            In reply to Stooks:

            I strongly disagree. I subscribed to the paid version of Hangouts for a series of weekly conference calls for several months last year, and the service was a huge pain. There were numerous problems, but one big one was that I accidentally clicked on the wrong button once, denying someone's entry to the meeting when they called (I would also argue that the buttons were in the opposite order one might expect, essentially making the option to reject a caller more prominent than the option to accept them). I had a call and email exchange with support, but long story short, once you do this, there is NOTHING you can do to get a rejected person back in the meeting (unless you shut down the meeting for everyone and start it again). The admin UI also offered basically zero control over meetings.


            This may have changed since last year, but I was not impressed at all. At the time, though, it was one of the less expensive options to support the number of people on the calls.

  11. Care

    I just got off an Alaska Airlines flight, where messaging (text only) was offered free through Facebook Messenger, iMessage, and WhatsApp. One would think that a lot of Microsoft employees, not to mention many others, fly this airline that has a major presence at SeaTac. Advertising/perception has always been Microsoft's biggest shortcoming. I wish they'd do it a better way.

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