Combating Fraud with Ads.txt

The mission of the Authorized Digital Sellers (ads.txt) project is to increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. The program is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory.

Ads.txt supports transparent programmatic digital media transactions and can remove the financial incentive from selling counterfeit and misrepresented media (spoofing). Similar to robots.txt, ads.txt can only be posted to a domain by a publisher’s webmaster, making it simple to gather and target. Because publishers sell their inventory through variety of channels, ads.txt supports the following types of supplier relationships:

  • Domain owners who sell on exchanges through their own accounts
  • Networks and sales houses who programmatically sell on behalf of domain owners
  • Content syndication partnerships where multiple authorized sellers represent the same inventory

Ads.txt is an easy-to-implement method for publishers to protect themselves by eliminating domain spoofing, increase their value to advertisers and improve the integrity of the industry.  With the effectiveness of ads.txt based on universal adoption we hope to see all Canadian publishers on board very soon.” Ad Tech Council Chair, Ian Hewetson of Eyereturn

Adoption of Ads.txt accelerated rapidly after October 2017 when Google announced it would use ads.txt files to filter unauthorized inventory. Most main Canadian publishers have implemented or are in the process of completing implementation.

IAB will be releasing an official IAB Tech Lab registry tool in the coming weeks to make it easy for buyers to check on publisher domains. The goal is to reach the comScore top 200 sites in every market globally, by Q3.

Stay tuned for updates on Canadian adoption. If you have questions about implementation or require additional information, please contact us. We will arrange a webinar if requested.