We're merging with Outbrain!

We have some big news to announce.  We are leaving our comfy home of the past nearly three years at Aol and returning to the land of startups by merging with Outbrain!  Technically speaking, Outbrain is acquiring us.  As the two leading content recommendation and discovery platforms for online publishers, this is a natural fit and one that we believe forms a formidable opportunity.

First, some background.  Aol paid us the nicest possible compliment by acquiring Sphere in 2008.  The subsequent nearly three years have been a healthy and fruitful marriage.  We launched on 34 Aol sites (plus a bunch of others), watched our business grow to profitability for the first time, and released several new products and features.  During that time, we changed our name to Surphace and added a few new faces to the team, though our commitment to providing publishers with the best content recommendation solutions never changed.  Around the same time, Outbrain arrived on the scene in a real way with some innovative ideas about how to marry content recommendations with meaningful revenue.  Over time, we began competing against each other regularly.  A few months back, Outbrain's CEO, Yaron Galai, and I got together and decided that it made more sense to collaborate, creating a definitive winner in the market by combining our products and domain expertise to form one best-in-class solution.  And that’s exactly what we’ve done.  A personal thank you goes out to Tim and Jon for supporting our vision and buying into the value created by this merger – it’s a big win for all parties involved.

Together, the combined Surphace-Outbrain publisher network now spans several billion monthly article page-views across publishers such as USA Today, LA Times, Newsweek, TMZ, The Boston Globe, News Corp, Wordpress.com and of course, Aol.  For our partners, this merger means that they’ll have access to the most robust set of content recommendation tools available anywhere – driving better reader engagement, higher CTRs and more revenue.  Those are good things:)

Finally, the team and I are thrilled to be joining Outbrain.  We believe in the collective vision and can’t wait to put our heads together to help shape its future.  The Surphace team has worked tirelessly over the past year keeping our partners happy and they deserve all the credit.  Every one of them are true MVPs: Adam Embick, Troy Vitullo, Mike Garfias, Andres Moran, Menachem Dickman, Art Bunger, Steve Harris, Rob Saurini and Pascal Balthrop.

More coverage on the Outbrain blog and here's the official press release.

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

By Josh Guttman

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