Outbrain Pushes Must-See Content, Attracts Venture Capitalist to its Ranks

7/13/11Follow @jpruth

News links in the social era get swapped much like baseball cards of old. Readers repost and Like topics they expect their friends to share an interest in. New York startup Outbrain is not out to become your Facebook buddy—but the company will steer you to stories it believes you want to see.

Outbrain has created a recommendation engine that notes what stories are holding readers’ attention and presents other stories of comparable flavor. Gilad de Vries, vice president of brands and agencies with Outbrain, says the four-year-old company operates somewhat behind the scenes, running its widget on websites for content sources such as Slate, TMZ.com, USA Today, and Chicago Tribune. “We’re installed on 80 percent of [the websites for] the top 200 publishers in the U.S.,” he says.

Outbrain’s widget presents links to stories on third-party sites that are also part of the network, not just related stories from the original outlet. That gives readers multiple sources to choose from if they want to see new angles on a topic. Moreover, it increases publishers’ exposure, which in turn gives their advertisers more chances to connect with potential customers. “You read an article on CNN and get a recommendation to continue reading on Chicago Tribune or vice versa,” de Vries says.

Outbrain’s widget has already impressed investors, who have pumped … Next Page »

João-Pierre S. Ruth is the editor of Xconomy New York. He can be reached at jpruth@xconomy.com and followed on Twitter @jpruth. Follow @jpruth

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  • Marvin

    This is the same guy that founded the PPC advertising business called Quigo and he’s basically doing the same thing but hes just not marking the links as advertising. As a matter if face he’s positioning paid links as “recommended” if you look in their media kit. I think this is immoral, I think its illegal and it certainly against the editorial standards of most of the publishers that take these links.

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