A chum box (or chumbucket) is a form of online advertising that uses a grid of thumbnails and captions to drive traffic to other sites and webpages. This form of advertising is often associated with low quality 'clickbait' links and articles.
The term derives from fishing terms such as chumming – referring to the use of (fish) meat as a lure for fish.
Chumboxes became very common during the 2010s. They are often presented to the reader as additional reading intended, and use headings such as "around the Web" and "you might like". The use of chumboxes became common on many mainstream websites, including those of CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, USA Today, and others.
Providers of this content included Outbrain, Taboola, and others. In the mid 2010s addition of such ad platforms to large journalism based sites was said to provide over $10 million per year extra revenue. Casey Newton (The Verge) concluded that the ad format was likely to be short lived, similar to schemes such as Groupon; though clickthrough on such ads was in the single digit percentage region (compared to 0.1% for banner ads), this figure was comparable to that early experienced by banner ads – he expected that as with banner ads, users would eventually come to learn of the low utility of such links, and eventually avoid them.
clarify] some internet websites were re-thinking the use of "chumboxes" due to the negative impact such low quality links and content had on their brand, despite the additional income from such links. An analysis of images used in advertising of the kind found that 26% used sexually suggestive or "interruptive" images; often the ads had no relation to the article content, and on occasions were innapropiate or offensive, such as one entitled "Meet the Women Making Rape Jokes That Are Actually Funny" placed under an article about teenage rape.[
A report by changeadvertising.org that analysed 50 high rank news sites, found over 80% were using such ads, the majority from Taboola or Outbrain – many were found to be confusing or misleading in their purpose.
An analysis of images and headlines used in such adverts found a number of basic archetypes used – these included : a sexy image in association with location based advertisment; reverse aging (skin) treatment based, or 'miracle cure'; body shock images (e.g. triggering Trypophobia etc.); celebrity gossip based; tattoo based images, including those simulating body horror/orifices; images of pills; and weight loss.
- Newton, Casey (22 Apr 2014), "You might also like this story about weaponized clickbait", www.theverge.com
- Maheshwari, Sapna; Herrman, John (30 Oct 2016), "Publishers Are Rethinking Those 'Around the Web' Ads", www.nytimes.com
- "The Clickbait Report", changeadvertising.org, 2016
- Mahoney, John (4 June 2015), "A Complete Taxonomy of Internet Chum", www.theawl.com
- "Diving into internet "chum?" Yes, it's as bad as you'd expect.", CBC News, 7 October 2016