Taboola

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Taboola, Inc.
TypePublic
NasdaqTBLA
IndustryAdvertising
Founded2007; 15 years ago (2007)
FounderAdam Singolda
Headquarters
Number of locations
20
Key people
Adam Singolda, CEO
ProductsTaboola Feed, Taboola Newsroom
RevenueIncrease US$1.38 billion (2021)
Decrease US$−13 million (2021)
Decrease US$−25 million (2021)
Total assetsIncrease US$1.60 billion (2021)
Total equityIncrease US$768 million (2021)
Number of employees
c. 1,800 (2021)
Websitetaboola.com
Footnotes / references
[1]

Taboola is a public advertising company headquartered in New York City. The CEO of Taboola is Adam Singolda, who founded the company in 2007. It provides advertisements such as "Around the Web" and "Recommended For You" boxes at the bottom of many online news articles. These sponsored links on publishers' websites send readers to the websites of advertisers and other partners.[2] These online thumbnail grid ads are also known as chumbox ads.[3]

History[edit]

Taboola was founded in 2007[4] by Adam Singolda.[5] The company was founded in Israel[6] and initially provided a recommendation engine for video content.[4] The company headquarters were later moved to New York City.[7] Taboola raised $1.5 million in funding in November 2007.[8] This was followed by $4.5 million in November 2008, and $9 million in August 2011.[9] Additionally, Taboola raised $15 million in February 2013.[10] By 2019, Taboola was used to provide 450 billion recommendations on a monthly basis,[11] due to adoption by major news websites, like the IBM-owned The Weather Company.[12]

In 2014, Taboola acquired a California-based programmatic advertising company called Perfect Market.[13] In February 2015, Taboola raised $117 million in a Series E funding round.[14] In May of that year, Taboola announced an additional funding from Baidu for an undisclosed amount.[15] In July 2016, Taboola acquired ConvertMedia, a recommendation engine for video content.[16] Terms of the deal were not disclosed.[16] In January 2017, Taboola acquired a website personalization firm called Commerce Sciences, for an undisclosed sum.[17] Commerce Sciences' technology may re-work a website's layout, based on whether a user is more likely to click on a banner ad, newsletter, or video.[17]

In October 2019, Taboola announced its intention to merge with its rival, Outbrain, subject to regulatory approval.[18] If implemented, the deal would have combined the internet’s two largest content-recommendation companies. The aim of this merger was for the two companies to reach a bigger audience in order to be more competitive against the advertising activities of companies like Google and Facebook.[19] Under the terms of the deal, Taboola would have paid Outbrain shareholders 30 percent of the combined company’s stock and $250 million in cash.[20]

The sharp downturn in advertising revenue caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 brought Taboola and Outbrain back to the negotiating table. Both companies stated their ad rates dropped by double digits at the start of the pandemic. The Wall Street Journal reported that the drop in revenue made it harder for Taboola and Outbrain to continue to make their fixed payments to publishers. In September 2020, Taboola and Outbrain could not agree on revised terms and decided to continue as independent organizations. Taboola CEO Adam Singolda said the merger "failed because of the financial contribution of Outbrain" in the previous 12 months. Singolda also said Outbrain “tried to do a deal that was equity only (but less equity), or equity and cash (but less cash) that matched Outbrain’s financial contribution to Taboola."[21] The combined valuation of the called off merger would have been $2 billion.[22]

On 30 June 2021, Taboola began publicly trading on the Nasdaq at a valuation of around $2.6 billion following a merger with special purpose acquisition company ION Acquisition Corp.[23][24] On 23 July 2021, Taboola announced it was acquiring Connexity, a marketing technology company that operates an retail- and e-commerce-focused advertising network, for $800M from Symphony Technology Group. According to the announcement, the company would become Taboola's e-commerce arm following the completion of the acquisition.[25]

Corporate affairs[edit]

Leadership[edit]

Taboola is managed by CEO and Founder Adam Singolda. Other key executives are:[26]

  • Eldad Maniv, President, COO
  • Stephen Walker, CFO
  • Lior Golan, CTO

Products / business model[edit]

Taboola's Facebook-like scrollable feed

Taboola creates the "Around The Web" and "Recommended For You" boxes at the bottom of many webpages.[15] Additionally, it can recommend relevant content, including video content.[27] Taboola is used by content publishers to encourage users to view more articles on the same site, or to gain revenues for referral traffic.[28] Marketers and brands bid for views of their content.[29] Then, an algorithm displays the advertiser's content to certain website users based on the content the user is viewing, the content's length and metadata, the user's history, and other factors.[8] Taboola also has tools for publishers to remove offensive content and vet ads before they are displayed.[30]

Taboola provides approximately 450 billion article recommendations each month.[11] It is implemented on a website with a line of JavaScript.[8] The Taboola Choice feature, which was introduced in 2013, added the ability for users to filter out recommendations they do not want to see.[31] An API for mobile apps was added that December.[32] Taboola started working on extending more features to mobile devices, user-generated content, and apps in 2015.[15] In 2017, the company added a Facebook-like scrollable feed of links to articles and videos.[33][34]

Reception[edit]

According to Fortune, "Popular content isn't always good content."[35] Advertiser-sponsored content displayed through the platform might include articles such as “The World’s Cutest Cat Pictures All On One Site” or “Jeff Bridges’ Magnificent Home Is Beyond Stunning”.[36] In May 2013, Taboola founder Singolda said the ads help support a sustainable business model for journalism and the company vets ads before they are displayed.[37] The company has faced criticism for its promoted content alongside the rest of the native advertising industry, including concerns about the promotion of clickbait articles.[38] According to comments made to the BBC, Taboola CEO Adam Singolda has said that "The problem is that for everyone who hates one piece of content, many others love it, and click on it…if no-one clicked on it, or tweeted about it, then we would remove it."[39]

A report in September 2016 from the nonprofit ChangeAdvertising.org found that 41 of the top 50 news sites — including The Guardian, CNN, Time and Forbes — embed widgets from so-called content-recommendation companies, including Taboola. Several of those that do not, including The New York Times, pay for content created with advertisers in-house to appear in the widgets to increase traffic to their own sites.[40] In 2016 the Taboola widget was installed on a site promoting numerous fake-news stories, and subsequently appeared on a number of articles originating from the site, including one claiming Muslim nurses were refusing to wash their hands before surgery at hospitals in the United Kingdom.[41] Taboola subsequently confirmed that the site operators had displayed its code without permission and that they had since removed their code from the site. A company spokesperson said that “Taboola has a very clear and strict set of guidelines in terms of both fake news as well as trademark infringement”.[42]

In May 2014, the Better Business Bureau's (BBB) National Advertising Division (NAD) requested that Taboola make it clearer that its recommended links are sponsored by advertisers following a complaint by rival company Congoo. The NAD said it recommended the changes, citing the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) due to concerns that Taboola's "sponsored content" disclosures "were not sufficiently clear and conspicuous, or easy to notice read and understand."[43]

In the following years, to tackle the brand safety issue for marketers, Taboola has made a series of investments: it has employed more than 40 people to monitor 30+ languages – committed to reviewing more than 1 million pieces of content on a monthly basis to ensure brand safety – and established partnerships with IAB, Moat, TAG, Integral Ad Science, and Double Verify to address the issue.[44][45] This ongoing commitment to improving standards across its network led Taboola to be awarded the Gold Standard 2.0 Certification by the IAB UK, in February 2022.[46]

See also[edit]

  • Chumbox, type of advert often used by Taboola

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Taboola, Inc. 2021 Annual Report (Form 20-F)". U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. 24 March 2022.
  2. ^ Hirschauge, Orr. "Outbrain, Taboola Make Their Mark on Online Advertising Industry". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 15 November 2021.
  3. ^ Hsu, Tiffany; de la Merced, Michael. "Taboola, Purveyor of Clickbait Ads, Will Go Public". New York Times. Retrieved 23 September 2021.
  4. ^ a b Lawler, Ryan. "Taboola Raises $15M More to Fund International Expansion". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  5. ^ "Taboola and Outbrain are battling a bad reputation (and each other)". Fortune. August 18, 2014. Archived from the original on August 22, 2014. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  6. ^ "Taboola and Outbrain Said to be Discussing a Merger". Fortune. April 28, 2017. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  7. ^ Carthy, Roi (August 25, 2010). "Taboola Turbo Charges Revision3's Video Uplift by 90%". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  8. ^ a b c Deleon, Nicholas (November 14, 2007). "Taboola Lands $1.5 Million, Powers Video Discovery". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  9. ^ Kincaid, Jason (August 25, 2011). "Taboola Raises $9 Million To Power Video Recommendations Across The Web". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  10. ^ Wauters, Robin (2013-02-19). "Content Recommendation Specialist Taboola Raises $15 Million". The Next Web. Retrieved 2016-05-16.
  11. ^ a b Wauters, Robin. "why Taboola". Taboola Help Centre. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  12. ^ "WEATHER CO. GOES ALL-IN ON 'TABOOLA FEED,' A FACEBOOK NEWSFEED CLONE". AdAge. 29 March 2018. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  13. ^ Griffith, Erin (April 8, 2014). "Taboola acquires Perfect Market, expands into programmatic ads". Fortune. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  14. ^ Griffith, Erin (February 4, 2015). "Taboola raises $117 million". Fortune. Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  15. ^ a b c Catherine, Shu (May 18, 2015). "Baidu, China's Leading Search Engine, Makes Strategic Investment In Content Recommendation Platform Taboola". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 18, 2015.
  16. ^ a b Lunden, Ingrid (July 26, 2016). "Taboola steps up in video, buys ConvertMedia for shy of $100M". TechCrunch. Retrieved July 26, 2016.
  17. ^ a b Marshall, Jack (January 4, 2017). "Taboola Acquires Website Personalization Specialist Commerce Sciences". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  18. ^ "Taboola and Outbrain Are One". Taboola Press Release. 2019-10-03. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  19. ^ Lunden, Ingrid. "Publisher adtech startups Taboola and Outbrain merge in $850M deal to take on Google and Facebook". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2019-11-06.
  20. ^ Maidenberg, Patience Haggin and Micah (2019-10-03). "Digital Ad Companies Taboola and Outbrain to Merge". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-09-26.
  21. ^ Haggin, Patience (2020-09-13). "How the Tie-Up of Clickbait Giants Taboola and Outbrain Unraveled". Wall Street Journal. ISSN 0099-9660. Retrieved 2021-09-26.
  22. ^ Hsu, Tiffany (2019-10-04). "You Will Be Shocked by This Article". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2021-09-26.
  23. ^ Solomon, Shoshanna (2021-06-29). "Taboola heads to Nasdaq as SPAC merger gets green light". Times of Israel. Retrieved 2021-07-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  24. ^ Zerachovitz, Omri (2021-06-29). "Israel's Taboola heads to NASDAQ with $2.6b valuation after merger approved". Haaretz. Retrieved 2021-07-01.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  25. ^ "After going public via a SPAC, Taboola acquires e-commerce marketing network Connexity for $800M". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2021-07-28.
  26. ^ "Management". Taboola.com. Retrieved 2020-01-14.
  27. ^ Lawler, Ryan (January 18, 2013). "After Growing Revenue 750% In 2012 And Conquering Video, Taboola Goes After Article Recommendations". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  28. ^ Richards, Katie. "Website Recommendation Company Taboola Says It's On Pace To Do $250 Million In Revenue". Business Insider. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  29. ^ Grant, Rebecca (February 19, 2013). "Taboola spices up video advertising with $15M". VentureBeat. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  30. ^ Maheshwari, Sapna; Herrman, John (October 30, 2016). "Publishers Are Rethinking Those 'Around the Web' Ads". The New York Times. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  31. ^ Lawler, Ryan. "Taboola Now Lets You Filter Out Content Recommendations That You Don't Want To See". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 16, 2016.
  32. ^ Lawler, Ryan (December 19, 2013). "Taboola Launches An API To Bring Its Content Recommendations To Native Mobile Apps". TechCrunch. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  33. ^ Lunden, Ingrid (May 23, 2017). "Taboola intros Facebook-style 'news feed' to target mobile users with more links". TechCrunch. Retrieved May 26, 2017.
  34. ^ Cerullo, Megan (May 24, 2017). "Daily News partners with Taboola to add endless scroll to website". NY Daily News. Retrieved May 27, 2017.
  35. ^ "Taboola and Outbrain: Combating a bad reputation (and each other) - Fortune". 2014-08-22. Archived from the original on 2014-08-22. Retrieved 2021-11-28.
  36. ^ Temperton, James (May 12, 2017). "We need to talk about the internet's fake ads problem". WIRED UK. Retrieved May 19, 2017.
  37. ^ Marshall, Jack (May 16, 2013). "Content Marketing's Got a Quality Problem". Digiday. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  38. ^ "Taboola and Outbrain Said to be Discussing a Merger". Fortune. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  39. ^ "Taboola: The internet firm at the forefront of 'click-bait'". BBC News. 2014-09-30. Retrieved 2021-11-22.
  40. ^ Maheswari, Sapna; Herrman, John. "Publishers Are Rethinking Those 'Around the Web' Ads". The New York Times. Retrieved 19 October 2021.
  41. ^ Moses, Lucia (November 28, 2016). "'The underbelly of the internet': How content ad networks fund fake news". Retrieved May 18, 2017.
  42. ^ "Taboola Takes On Fake News Furor". www.mediapost.com. Retrieved 2021-10-28.
  43. ^ Davis, Wendy (May 20, 2014). "Better Business Bureau Tells Taboola To Make 'Sponsored Content' Disclosures More Prominent". Media Post. Retrieved September 27, 2014.
  44. ^ "Challenging Walled Gardens: Q&A with Adam Singolda, CEO, Taboola". ExchangeWire. 2018-07-17. Retrieved 2019-11-13.
  45. ^ "Who are Top Advertisers and Publishers on Taboola?". Anstrex. Retrieved 2019-06-24.
  46. ^ "Taboola Awarded IAB UK Gold Standard 2.0 Certification - ExchangeWire.com". www.exchangewire.com. Retrieved 2022-03-17.