As reported yesterday, Outbrain has acquired Surphace from AOL. This is our 1st acquisition. It’s not every day that a startup buys a company from a BigCo (it’s usually the other way around!), and this is obviously a pretty huge step for Outbrain.

Here’s why we did it:

Offering readers more interesting recommendations - As with any recommender system, the more data going into the algorithms, the better the recommended links become. Acquiring Surphace will enable us to further improve the quality of the links we recommend to readers by having more data to feed into our algorithms.
Furthermore, by merging the best technologies of both companies to a single platform, we can further advance our leadership in the quality, the relevancy and the “interestingness” of links we serve to readers.

Increasing PV’s and CTR’s for publishers - Our numbers show that by providing readers with a consistent experience around recommended links, habits are created around engaging with them. By merging Surphace and providing a more consistent user experience across more premium publishers, we expect all publishers using our service to benefit with increased click-through-rates (CTR’s), and more page views (PV’s) for them to monetize.

Broader distribution for buyers - Since introducing our paid link program (http://www.outbrain.com/outloud), we’ve been overwhelmed by demand from publishers and advertisers alike looking to expose their content to a bigger, and better audience, on Outbrain. By combining Surphace and Outbrain, we’ll be able to deliver more interested readers to our buyers from some of the best publishers in the world.

Team - Josh Guttman (Surphace’s CEO), and the rest of the Surphace team have been fierce competitors and are going to be a great addition to the Outbrain team. We share a common DNA, and a common mission for providing readers with interesting content links. Josh has done a fantastic job under the AOL umbrella in advancing the content discovery space, developing one of the best platforms for content discovery in the market. We’re excited to be bringing Josh & Team into Outbrain and together create the clear leader in content discovery.

Since the day we started Outbrain, we’ve been obsessively focused on doing one thing, and doing it better than anyone else in the world – and that is showing readers of content the most interesting links. With today’s acquisition of Surphace, we advance that mission in multiple ways and we create the single clear leader in this category of content discovery.

The full press release is available here. More coverage on the Surphace blogAll Things DVC Cafe and PaidContent.