Last week, Skype announced that it would begin running advertisements during Skype calls:
"While 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," Skype's Sandhya Venkatachalam wrote on the company blog. "So, you should think of Conversation Ads as a way for Skype to generate fun interactivity between your circle of friends and family and the brands you care about. Ultimately, we believe this will help make Skype a more engaging and useful place to have your conversations each and every day."
At press time, it was not clear whether one Skype caller would see the advertisements the other caller is seeing. Nor was it clear whether Skype will resort to more intrusive methods to serve ads, such as examination of social media activity or analysis of callers' voices and appearances.
THE SCENE: TWO OFFICES, FROM WHICH TWO BLOGGERS TALK ON SKYPE.
Patrick: Any thoughts on topics for next week?
Ken: You know, I once did a review of that Korean BBQ place. I haven't done a restaurant review in a long time. So I was thinking . . .
Ken . . . . Okay, really?
Ken: I'm fat? That's the joke now?
Patrick: . . . what?
Ken: What? What? That's how you're going to play it? Not quite your level of usual humor, is it?
Patrick: What the fuck are you talking about?
Ken: The fat pills.
Patrick: Fat pills?
Ken: The fat pills you just threw up there when I mentioned a restaurant.
Patrick: I have no idea what you are talking about.
Ken: Oh, fat pills just magically appeared on my screen while I was talking to you? Really?
Patrick: Ken. Ken. Look . . . look at me. Look me in the eye. I have no idea what you are talking about.
Ken: I CAN'T LOOK AT YOU, YOU'RE HIDING BEHIND THE FAT PILLS.
Patrick: . . .
Ken: . . . Okay. Okay. Gone now. Thank you. Thank you so very much.
Patrick. Uh . . . maybe I'll make a post suggestion, okay?
Ken: Fine. Good. You do that.
Patrick: All right. There's this local politician in North Carolina who . . .
Patrick: . . .
Ken: Yeah? Who what?
Ken: Okay what?
Patrick: Okay. We're doing the Los Angeles lawyer Harvard-boy "you stupid rednecks" thing.
Ken: I fucking what?
Patrick: Oh, I'm sorry, was I not being clear? Maybe I need to closer to the barn, where my wifi router is, or get the hay out of my mouth.
Ken: WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT? A barn? Is the barn about animals? Is the barn about cows? ARE YOU SAYING THAT I'M FAT AGAIN?
Patrick: I'M NOT SAYING ANYTHING. YOU'RE SAYING I'M A HICK BECAUSE I DON'T LIVE IN SOME POST-APOCALYPTIC SPRAWL SHITHOLE WHERE RODEO DRIVE IS CONSIDERED A CULTURAL HUB.
Ken: I don't know what you're talking about.
Patrick: You're saying that I'm imagining it?
Ken: You were saying that I was imagining it.
Patrick: That's over the line. THAT'S OVER THE LINE. There's a line, and THAT'S FUCKING OVER IT.
Ken: Are you saying I'm crazy? Are you saying that I'm fat AND crazy? Because I'm not crazy! I'm not crazy, I'm a lawyer and I HAVE A BLOG!
Patrick: You can see that too?
Ken: The drug advertisement?
Ken: Yes. Yes. We can both see it. I'm NOT crazy. I'm NOT!
Patrick: This is extremely odd.
Ken: What if . . . what if Skype is sending us advertisements like this? What if they're using some algorithm to do it?
Patrick: Don't be ridiculous. That would be suicidally creepy.
Ken: Well SOMEBODY's doing it. Look, let's just . . . let's just talk about something else. I'm sorry I said you were doing it.
Patrick: No problem. You know, it's past time that we manage to sit down for a drink. In real life, not just online.
Ken: We should. We definitely should. Maybe next time I'm back East on a case. We just need to figure out where to meet.
Patrick: . . .
Ken: Or, you know, we could just keep calling and emailing and stuff.
Patrick: Yes. We can totally keep calling. We can talk about, um, like the Stanley Cup and baseball and stuff.
Ken: Yes! Sports. We should definitely talk more about the games of sports.
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