I just wanted to let you guys know about a new tool I started working with. It works a lot like Outbrain or Taboola as a content-sharing platform, but it's free to use. It's called recircle.
This is a new startup and I stumbled on it while I was looking for new ways to increase site traffic. It's a very small company and the owner personally responds to all messages- he's been great with me and answered all my questions. In exchange for sharing links to your content, you have to place their widget on at least one page of your site, but that's it. I've been doing some A/B testing between blogs and forum discussions and have been generating a little trickle of traffic from it. This has the potential to be really powerful for small sites like most of us run, but of course, its success depends on having a lot of people sign up. Right now, they're only open to family-friendly sites, but the quality of content that they showcase is way better than Taboola, IMO. You can't generate revenue by placing their widget, but it can help you bring in more readers and possibly members, which will obviously be beneficial if you have other monetization strategies in place.
Someone else just mentioned that they would have liked to have used it, but don't have a family-friendly site. In this case, I'd recommend Project Wonderful. It's a banner advertising platform- again, very grass-rootsy. You normally have to pay for placement of your ads, but rates are super cheap, done on bidding. When sites don't have bids, you can place your ad on them free- up to 200 sites at a time. I do this a lot because it's totally free advertising and traffic. They do accept ads that are not family-friendly, but you must make sure you select the right category, so a family site doesn't wind up with less-than-pure ads on it.
Hope this helps you all. I'm a huge fan of these platforms and would love to see them grow, especially because they're small and have good people running them.