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Adam Singolda, who runs Taboola and will take charge of the combined company, characterized the deal in a statement as a way to “create a more robust competitor to Facebook and Google” while “strengthening journalism.”

Outbrain describes itself as providing “high-quality, reliable content from premium publishers and marketers.” Both companies have advertising guidelines, some of which prohibit allusions to sexual activity, headlines written entirely in capital letters and before-and-after photos.

But the ads that Taboola and Outbrain attach to news stories are unlikely to win awards. In 2015, the now-defunct website The Awl compiled what it called “A Complete Taxonomy of Internet Chum,” describing the different types that readers may encounter in their online travels. The categories included “Miracle Cure Thing,” “Celeb Thing,” “Oozing Food” and “Disgusting Invertebrates or Globular Masses Presented as Weird Food.”

Content ads have long been popular with many publishers: 82 percent of the top 50 news sites were using them, with the vast majority of ads provided by Outbrain or Taboola, according to a 2016 report from the nonprofit Change Advertising. But fewer than half of links connect to legitimate advertisers, with many routing readers instead to anonymously registered domains, data-gobbling quizzes and landing pages for more ads.

Digital news providers are fighting for revenue as Google and Facebook claim more than 60 percent of online advertising revenue. By 2021, 27 percent of internet users are expected to use ad-blocking technology, up from 24.9 percent last year, according to the research firm eMarketer.

But to some news publishers, already fending off fake-news accusations and struggling to retain readers, chumbox ads have turned from annoying to toxic. The New Yorker stopped posting them in 2016.

“The pursuit of revenue, especially in some of the darker days for journalism, meant that publishers would take the money from content-recommendation services, and they might be reluctant to give it up now,” said Brian Wieser, who analyzes media for GroupM. “But the downside is that these ads can potentially diminish the brand of the publisher, especially when they’re run alongside serious journalism.”

You Will Be Shocked by This Article