Taboola, a company that powers content recommendation and monetization for Web publishers, is now offering users a chance to reject and even weigh in on stories that the company suggests.
The company's content recommendation tech appears on all sorts of sites on the Web, often in the form of "Around the Web'" collection of links at the end of an article, like this Politico story. Taboola CEO Adam Singolda compared the new feature—dubbed "Taboola Choice"—to Pandora, where users can skip songs but also have the option to give tracks a thumbs down.
For example, hover over a Taboola-recommended story and an option to "x" out will appear, according to Singolda. And if a user vetoes a story, he or she can also give Taboola some feedback as to why the content wasn't a good fit, whether it was "uninteresting," "misleading," "offensive," etc.
Taboola already offers publishers the opportunity to tailor the sort of recommended content that appears on their sites. But Taboola Choice further "puts users in control and gives them choice," explained Singolda.
The feature is reminiscent of products from Facebook (where users can choose to hide an ad) and Yahoo (whose homepage offers a thumbs-up or -down option next to stories)—in fact, Singolda even references those tools in Taboola's official release. But he insisted his company's new product is not directly inspired by those offerings. "[We're] always thinking about the user as the center of what we're doing," he said.
Singolda also said the feature wasn't a response to users complaining about irrelevant content recommended by Taboola (a common criticism of such tools). Users don't actually want more of the same content after they're done reading an article, Singolda insisted. "That's not what we're going for. It's not what people want," he said.