Joining in to add my vote:
Taboola ads are not, and never have been "Acceptable". I'm not interested in lawyering about the guidelines you've set up. If it's accurate what people say, that Taboola is a paying customer, then what guidelines you've set for the program that they essentially sponsor are irrelevant. What I'm interested in is the idea of acceptable ads.
The spirit of an acceptable ad is, in my mind, that it is an ad that:
- Is related to the content provided.
- Is honest. Accurately portrays what is being offered.
- Is non-intrusive. Images aren't distracting, if they exist.
- Is non-offensive.
Google ads meet all these requirements for me, though I understand that because of their use of tracking data they aren't considered acceptable by this program, which is your decision. But let's examine how Taboola holds up.
- Explain to me how Miley Cyrus is related to the article I'm reading about PHP design patterns? Or how "This one weird trick" is relevant to the clipboard manager I was downloading off SourceForge? Or how "Outfits Mom should stop wearing" relates to anything that I've ever done in my internet browsing?
Example: refresh this page as many times as you like. You will never see anything that is remotely related to the page content.
Unless, that is, you access SourceForge without AdBlock Plus enabled. Interestingly, they don't even have Taboola ads in that case, and the ads are relevant to the content I'm seeing (even if they are larger). I would rather see SourceForge's ads without Adblock Plus installed at all, than what I see with it enabled.
- Taboola is terrible at this. It's possible some of their content is accurately represented (I wouldn't know), but you can't expect me to believe that my small town actually has a new DMV rule? My town doesn't even have a DMV! The fake localization is the most blatant, but there's also all the "this one weird trick" ads, among many others. Taboola is anything but honest.
- Every Taboola ad I've ever seen is comprised of 1) an attention-calling image, and 2) an unrelated, attention-calling headline. Occasionally, when it's convenient, like the Miley Cyrus ad above, they'll actually combine two that are related. But they are nothing if not designed to call attention away from the content and to themselves.
- Most days, even with Adblock Plus enabled, I'll run into at least one Taboola image that just makes me queasy -- Miley Cyrus is a good example. If I ever find myself possessed with an inexplicable desire to see a picture of her in a spaghetti string whatever that is, I'll do a Google Image search, thank you very much.
That last point is one where I'll give you credit. It's been a few years since I browsed enough on the internet to run into Taboola much, and in the last few months since I've gotten back to it, I haven't seen the horribly offensive images that services like them used to provide. Now the worst you see is random, unrelated images of women showing skin (I guess because their theory is the teenage boys browsing the internet just wont be able to resist?)
So, if your partnership with them had some role in that, kudos. But they haven't come nearly
far enough to reach an "acceptable ad" level.
All that said, I want to highlight for my fellow discontents the post by mapx above:
It's far from a perfect solution, since Taboola is still going to have their way with the internet, but it's worked so far for securing my own personal peace while browsing. So, thanks for that! I do appreciate the idea of Acceptable Ads. I hope to see the day where the program itself, without me having to manually blacklist junk, actually works to block all ads that are irrelevant, dishonest, distracting, and offensive.