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Skype debuts ad platform with Groupon and Visa

Skype is to display advertising within its software for the first time and has announced a number of partnerships across the US and Europe to sell the platform.

Skype: displays its new ad platform

Skype: displays its new ad platform

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The online communications platform has signed deals with Meebo in the US, Ad2one in the UK and Ströer Interactive in Germany to sell the ads and brands. Groupon, Universal Pictures, and Visa have already signed up to reach Skype users.

Andy Sims, director of advertising for Skype, said the sales deals would give it "great sales teams, reach and meaningful advertiser relationships, right from day one".

Skype "home" will include an expandable masthead capable of carrying audio and video, as well as a "click & call" button. Ads can also be shared via Facebook or Twitter.

Doug Bewsher, chief marketing officer for Skype, said user experience remained paramount.

He said: "We’ve spent a lot of time working through the best way to show advertising in the Skype environment. We believe our daily sponsorship ad from one brand per day is valuable for premier advertisers, but doesn’t detract from the experience for our users."

Skype said it reached 145 million average monthly users during the fourth quarter of 2010 and has 29 million concurrent users at peak times.

Rob Solomon, president and chief operating officer of Groupon, said: "We look forward to leveraging Skype's new display advertising to connect Groupon to an even larger captive audience."

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