Content recommendation platform Outbrain has announced a new set of native advertising guidelines to provide better regulation of content on its network.

Under the updated guidelines Outbrain states that all linked content on its users’ websites should provide a positive, value-adding experience to users. Links that drive to commercials, infomercials, advertising copy, or self-promotional content will not be permitted on its system.

Outbrain’s co-founder and CEO, Yaron Galai, affirmed that reader trust was a “number one priority” and to maintain this his company needed to better define native advertising best practice.

“As the industry recognises the promise of content discovery, we believe that, in order to create a long-term and sustainable future, the industry must abide by one simple premise – content recommendations should point to genuine content that is valuable to the reader,” Galai said.

Clamping down

In addition, the platform has also introduced a number of further initiatives. The first gives Outbrain publishers the power to make decisions and exclude content links as they see fit.

Outbrain has also brought in a full-time content strategist to ensure guidelines are constantly adhered to. The strategist will be aided by improved restrictions aimed at clamping down on what the company calls “misleading, sensational or too-good-to-be-true claims, aggressive marketing and sales language”.

The recent changes come after increased scrutiny of content recommendation platforms from both users and regulators. Companies including Taboola, nRelate and Outbrain have received criticism for the insufficient labelling of linked paid-for content.

ASA Breach

In June 2014, the UK Advertising Standard Authority banned a promotion by Outbrain on the basis of a complaint by a visitor to an independent website, finding Outbrain’s link to be non-identifiable as advertising and therefore in breach of the UK Advertising Code.

Galai now believes, however, that future success in the sector relies on Outbrain’s competitors adopting similarly ethical standards.

“We believe that these are guiding principles which the entire industry, including publishers and our counterparts, should adopt. Placing audience satisfaction and trust first and foremost will future-proof our whole industry for growth,” he said.