Want to Skip Those Veloster Pre-Roll Ads? What’s It Worth to You?

SpotXchange bows SkipIt, a service that allows users to bypass an ad for a small fee

You all knew it was coming. An enterprising media buyer has come up with a way to let you skip ads for a small fee.

Mike Shehan of SpotXchange, a company that sells digital video advertising, is rolling out a new service called SkipIt that will finally allow users to express their distaste for the Geico gecko, the Aflac duck or the advertising campaign of their choice.

Shehan's choice? "If I see that Esurance ad on CNN one more time, I'm going to lose my mind—it's great, it's the guy from the office, it's funny, but I'm sick of it," he said with a laugh. "I don't click on some CNN videos because I know I'm going to get a video ad, and I'm the CEO of a video ad company."

The goal, Shehan told Adweek, is not to give consumers a leg up on advertisers, or even to directly get a buck or two out of the digital consumer; SkipIt will give users a few free skips to start and then will provide ways to earn more, allowing the consumer and advertiser to communicate with each other a little more effectively.

It was not easy for Shehan to broach this subject with his clients. "It was a little bit of a nerve-wracking conversation," he said. "We were going to our advertisers and saying, 'So…we're going to have a product that allows users to skip your ads. By the way, if they do skip your ad, you won't pay for the ad.'"

Shehan's clients surprised him by liking the idea—nobody, after all, wants to land in a Most Annoying Ads roundup (hear that, people who set telephone numbers to music?)—and they suggested different ways to join forces. One company said it would offer 10 free skips to anyone who agreed to answer a five question survey about why he or she hated the advertisement enough to skip it. "We're going to try to find ways to allow our users their skips without actually using money," Shehan said.

Publishers are credited for the skipped impression to the tune of more than they would have paid for the spot to begin with. If, for example, the most a publisher would have been paid for the spot is $20, the publisher would get $25 back for the skip. The goal, obviously, is not to rake in a ton of cash; it's to provide something even more precious: data. "If you start to offer the ability to skip ads, you can measure the creative burnout on the ads themselves," Shehan said.

For consumers that have nightmares about a duck chasing a lizard, that's good news.