Trust & Authenticity
Our content guidelines
We are readers, creators, and consumers living in an exploding world of digital media.
At Outbrain, we’re driven by our desire to find the next great story: one that will excite and change us. One created by quality publishers and brands who are testing the limits of what content can be.
And we believe that finding that next best thing should be intuitive, seamless, and personalized.
Welcome to Outbrain’s content guidelines. We define content as any article, video, slideshow, social media, podcast, or infographic – owned, earned, sponsored, native, and more! – that offers informational and/or entertainment value to the reader outside of information about the product or service.
Outbrain partners with trustworthy publishers, brands, and agencies who are passionate about authenticity and creating a great user experience. As such, we ensure that our widgets exhibit transparent labeling to provide a clear content discovery experience.
Please note that Outbrain reserves the right to reject any content for any reason at our sole discretion. While we may not identify problematic content before it goes live, content will be blocked post-launch if we feel it compromises the safety or quality of our network. In addition, any content linked to from the Outbrain service that is not identical to the content as initially submitted shall be immediately removed. Further, our distribution partners may choose to block specific pages or entire sources. Any advertiser who repeatedly violates our guidelines will be blocked from the Outbrain network.
*Outbrain reserves the right to accept content outside of these guidelines from time to time at our discretion.
- Pornographic language or imagery
- Suffering or violence
- Exploitation or endangerment of minors
- Sale or promotion of weapons or explosives
- Illegal drugs or tobacco (including e-cigarettes)
- Non-government approved pharmaceuticals and supplements
- Class-action suits or malpractice claims
High-Risk Investments or Business Scams
- Content which encourages high risk investments or money making schemes with the intention of profiting off user participation
- Content that harvests personal and/or confidential information from users with the intent to distribute or engages in lead generation with the purpose of generating profit off information gathered
- Contains adware, malware, spyware, virus, Trojan horses, or other features designed to infiltrate or damage computer systems or access personally identifiable user information without explicit user consent
Negative Earned Media
- Direct competitors cannot promote negative earned media or content that defames or otherwise compromises an industry competitor without clear disclosure
- Content that promotes hate, violence, or discrimination;
- Defames an individual, organization, or group of people; or
- Segregates or classifies individuals or groups of people by race, religion, or sexuality
Outbrain reserves the right to block content from the following groups and categories. Restrictions may vary depending on the region your campaign targets, the value provided to the reader, and the quality of the content.
Content that is explicitly sexual in nature
Content that promotes underage or irresponsible drinking; sites that enable the sale of alcoholic beverages
- Financial services
Content must comply with financial governing bodies
- Health services
Promoted products and services must be approved by a governmental body when appropriate; products and services may not make illegitimate or unproven claims about results.
- Political advertisements
All political content must have clear disclosure (ie. Promoted By [Political Party])
- Overly personal or niche content
Content must have broad cultural appeal and/or be of value to more than just content creator
Content cannot advocate for or promote one religion over another; publishers may also choose to block content from religious domains
- Subscriber-only content
Content should provide a positive, value-adding experience for users.
- Content should not employ any misleading advertising techniques, including but not limited to: using deceptive practices to encourage continuity sign-ups; encouraging accidental clicks by implementing ads that appear to be organic content; utilizing fake comments that appear to be from real individuals; or employing unsubstantiated claims to promote a product or service
- If the primary goal of the content is to generate a lead or a sale, Outbrain requires clear and conspicuous disclosure of such (ie. a prominent “Advertorial” or “Advertisement” label must appear at the top of the page)
- Submissions may not contain exit popups or advertisements that cover or hide portions of the content
- Affiliate marketing sites must clearly disclose any financial relationship between the host site and sponsoring advertiser in accordance with FTC guidelines
- Content cannot be copied from another site. Any plagiarized content without clear disclosure of authorship will not be allowed.
- Content must clearly display logo of website; content should not include trademarks or logos that are confusingly similar in design to that of third parties
- Links in content must be labeled accurately and must link to the page or pages reasonably expected by the reader
- No grainy or improperly formatted images
- No illegible fonts or copy
- No improper spelling or capitalization
- No incorrect language or grammar
- Coherence in structure
- We do not accept traditional 30-second commercial spots that end in a call-to-action to promote the sale of a product or service
- We do not accept home pages, directory listings, or traditional product sale pages
- Content must live on HTML page (no PDFs)
- Content cannot require a login for access
- Content must be the primary focus of the page and live above the fold. Calls-to-action, forms or sales copy must not detract from the content itself.
- Page must contain clear organic navigation, including but not limited to easily locatable Contact and About Us pages
- News content older than 14 days cannot be added to our network
When creating additional titles for your content, please ensure all new titles accurately reflect the tone and subject matter of your content. Headlines will be rejected if they attempt to mislead or falsely entice readers.
Inaccurate, Misleading, or Overly Sensational Headlines
- Does not accurately depict the content
- Exaggerates or embellishes the content
- Employs sexual/violent/explicit language that sensationalizes content
“Too good to be true” headlines
- If it sounds too good to be true, it is
- “One weird trick that will help you lose that belly fat”
- “Mom reveals clever $4 wrinkle therapy, makes doctors furious”
Calls to action
- Registration pleas, sales offers
- “CLICK NOW to find out which new driving rule has drivers shocked!”
Please adhere to the following grammar, punctuation, and style regulations when submitting titles.
- Capitalize the first word of the title/heading and of any subtitle/subheading
- Capitalize all major words in the title, including the second part of hyphenated major words (e.g., Self-Report not Self-report)
- No excessive capitalization or inter-capitalization, such as words or phrases in all capitals (exceptions include trademarked brand names, acronyms, and common abbreviations)
- Observe correct verb tenses, subject-verb agreements, and spelling
- Use correct spacing (e.g. no missing or excessive spaces between words or punctuation)
Punctuation & Symbols
- Refrain from inappropriate, aggressive, or tasteless punctuation in headlines
- Do not use periods at the end of headlines
- Repeated punctuation (?!?!) or symbols are not permitted
- Do not include a price point in headlines
Any images being promoted in Outbrain's widget must meet the following standards of network appropriateness.
Thumbnail images cannot include:
- Nudity or sexual imagery
- Drugs or drug paraphernalia
- Imagery that is designed to provoke or offend
- Violence or gore
- Graphic images of physical deformities or health conditions
Quality & Appearance
All images must be relevant to the linked content. Images must be clear, recognizable, and properly oriented. Images that have been altered with Photoshop or other graphic editing softwares will not be permitted.
"Trick to Click"
Images cannot employ deceptive practices to entice a user to click. These include:
- Images that pretend to be a system or site warning
- Images that use sensational tactics that are not relevant to the source material