Taboola is one of the most well known “content recommendation” firms. They place sponsored links on publishers’ sites. The firm is looking forward to opening a new front. Recently, they have secured a deal with ZTE Corp., the Chinese smartphone manufacturer, this Wednesday. This deal will see Taboola’s recommended links being displayed on some ZTE devices.

Adam Singolda, Taboola Chief Executive, has confirmed that initially there will be links to news and lifestyle stories only. Afterwards, there will be paid links from content marketers.

The list of Taboola’s publishing partners contain heavyweights like USA Today, HuffPost, Business Insider and MSN. Which of them, exactly, are going to be featured with ZTE devices, isn’t revealed yet.

Taboola charges to include links to their recommendations. They refer & redirect readers to their websites. Taboola receives a cut of the advertising revenue, that is generated on the site. As a result of this deal, ZTE will be receiving ad revenue share. No specifications about the revenue split are revealed yet.

I’m concerned the most about the dilution of the relationship between quality publishers and their loyal audiences over time. Taboola wants to be everywhere you make decisions. We always want to drive traffic directly to the content owner, and we never want to become a walled garden ourselves. – Adam Singolda

Taboola has two types of contracts with Publishers. As per one contract, Taboola includes the company’s recommended links on their sites. In return, they give Taboola and ZTE a certain proportion of the revenue that gets generated, once a user clicks on one of those links. The other contract sees the Publishers paying in an automatic bidding system in order to get their links included.

Taboola is trying to create a publisher-friendly Android counterpart of Apple News. But there will not be any stand-alone Taboola app. The news articles will get displayed on their lock-screens, instead. A companion module is expected to come afterward. It will let the users go through the recommended articles by swiping on their phones. In the ZTE feature, the readers will be led directly to publishers’ websites. This way, the publishers get more control over ad sales and readers.

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