Outbrain links (on The Guardian, unfortunately) on 10 November
…promoting an Education Post story from seven months earlier:
Outbrain links (again on The Guardian) on 23 November
…promoting an Education Post story from three months earlier:
Even more absurdly, they have in the past promoted an old news story about schools and kindergartens being closed due to a typhoon:
Of course, Outbrain is nonsense, as the New York Times rightly points out:
You see them everywhere, and maybe, sometimes, you click: those rows of links under web articles, often augmented with eye-catching photos and curiosity-stoking headlines about the latest health tips, celebrity news or ways to escape financial stress.
Usually grouped together under a label like “Promoted Stories” or “Around the Web,” these links are often advertisements dressed up to look like stories people might want to read. They have long provided much-needed revenue for publishers and given a wide range of advertisers a relatively affordable way to reach large and often premium audiences.
But now, some publishers are wondering about the effect these so-called content ads may be having on their brands and readers. This month, these ads stopped appearing on Slate. And The New Yorker, which restricted placement of such ads to its humor articles, recently removed them from its website altogether.
Among the reasons: The links can lead to questionable websites, run by unknown entities. Sometimes the information they present is false.
Or not exactly false but very old. Here’s another take on this:
Outbrain is just another short-term fix that creates a long-term problem. You don’t have to take my word for it. Take it from one of the biggest-spending clients in the business, who clearly explained why this idea of buying traffic is sending premium publishers in the wrong direction.