When I look at Taboola Ads – it seems a mess of Arbitrage and Shock advertising. I open up any news site and am bombarded with mountains of this junk advertising.

In 2007 Google shut down sites using Arbitrage to game their system. eg. Sites Paying 2 cents for a click on low-value keywords to take users to a page with high-CPC ads showing on them.  Eg… bid on terms such as “Chicago pet turtle training” where click cost might be 10 cents or lower,  and send users to a page with content and ads about “Chicago Mesothelioma Lawyer” where click value would be more like $100.

Makes sense, users don’t want to click on an ad, to go to a poor experience site where they are just being sent to be shown more advertising. Taboola, on the other hand, seems to be fine with selling as much low-quality advertising as people are prepared to buy.

Arbitrage on Taboola works like this.

a. Create a native Advertising ad.  Pay as little as possible per click, perhaps as low as 5 cents.
b. Take users to a paginated story or set of images.
c. Cover the pages in advertising, that is pay per view PLUS pay per click. So even if no one clicks on them, you get paid.
d. Set the progression of stories to try and get site visitors to click through as many pages as possible. Maximise the number of banner views.

  • Sorry, Taboola, I don’t care what they look like now.
  • I don’t want to hear about how “Random Celebrity A” has aged,
  • I am not clicking through 20 pages because I “Won’t believe who it is on the last page” because understand this is just a scam to get people to click through 20 pages of minimal content covered in ads, where the publisher is paid for banner views.

I understand its a tough world for publishers these days.  They sell advertising in and beside their articles, and put this junk at the bottom of pages, because its typically a low click-through, low-value area of the page for which they might at least try and make some money.

I also get it from the advertisers perspective.  Why not game a system for profit?  Personally – I can’t do it.  Make something junky and annoying simply to make some money.   I just cant.

But gee whiz. On the finance pages?