You’ve seen it.

  • “Sponsored Content”
  • “You might like”
  • “Recommended from the web”
  • “Popular Stories”

What do you even call this stuff?

I call it promoted content. Others call it content distribution. Some people would say they are crap spewing web plugins. There are a variety of “content recommendation networks” out there serving up this stuff.

This article is being written in 12/2016, but I doubt much changes in 2017. Maybe this will go the way of the web banner and dodo bird by 2018. We’ll see.

Screenshot of promoted content circulating the web in 2016.

Why do I see this promoted content?

I personally work in the world of Search. I make content that people find when they are looking for information.

Other people make content to be shared on social media, which is usually a huge waste of time.

Others serve up content that you would never look for. They own websites which exist to make money from ads. To get traffic, they buy it by promoting their content on legitimate, more highly trafficked websites. They usually pay per click.

Content recommendation companies

I am sure that I am missing a few, but the big ones are Outbrain, Taboola, ZergNet, Revontent and Yieldmo.

Not all of these companies are created equally.

Outbrain sometimes pushes content on a site that is legitimate, related content, from the same site, along with some other related content from around the web. Sometimes, you will see some silly promoted content from them. Case in point:

outbrain screenshot

Revcontent pushes clickbait. I even click it sometimes. It isn’t Revcontent’s fault, but I am usually very disappointed in the results.

Revcontent screenshot

Taboola – same.

Taboola screenshot

ZergNet – same.

ZergNet screenshot

Yieldmo – I usually see their stuff sneakily added to a page where it blends in with much of the other content on a page. People who don’t spend as much time online as I do would not notice this.

Yieldmo screenshot

Should I promote my content?

No idea. The Internet really doesn’t need any more crummy websites, and if you have legitimate content which answers people’s questions, people will find you via search. But, if you are a nationwide company that could benefit from spreading the word on something in particular, sure, this could help. Legitimate businesses and sellers of products and services will likely want to take a look at Outbrain. If you are pushing silly content and monetizing clickbait style articles, I would suggest you look at all of the content promotion companies above, as they all have their own pros and cons.

The type of websites these show up on varies greatly as well, so that is something to keep in mind. I do know Revcontent is a popular choice by blog owners with popular blogs.

Should I put promoted content on my website?

This depends entirely on the type of website you are trying to run. It is very, very hard to make money online and you need a LOT of traffic to do so, unless you are a business owner with an actual product or service. Most topics do not bring in the 700,000 hits per month you will need to make your efforts fruitful.

That said.. Each content promotion company has their pros and cons. I am not the expert here but I can tell you, some companies suhc as Taboola have exclusivity clauses. The payouts are different, as well, along with the splits. For example, Revcontent pays out 80%, with 80% going to the publisher. But some types of websites do not want Revcontent style content showing up on their site, and may prefer outbrain.

What do you think?

Do you block ads with AdBlock Plus? Do you click this type of content? Have you ever promoted content? Have you ever served this on a website? Do you not care at all? Feel free to let us know below.


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