Since the introduction of ads.txt in 2017, it has seen increasing adoption rates throughout the digital publishing and advertising communities. The main challenge of ads.txt is that once implemented, most publishers don’t maintain it, don’t validate new sellers’ lines before adding them to the file, practically exposing themselves to fraud and malpractice.
This blog will go over what ads.txt is, how it works, and what best practices we’ve learned since it was created. (If you are already familiar with ads.txt, skip to the end for the best practices for managing your ads.txt file).
What is ads.txt
The IAB tech lab rolled out the Ads.txt initiative mainly in effort to increase confidence when buying inventory from programmatic publishers, and to prevent ad fraud online.
Ads.txt acronym means Authorized Digital Sellers and is used by publishers and companies to publicly declare who’s they cooperate with related to media sell. They are a flexible, and secure way for publishers to publicly declare which companies they allow to sell their digital inventory. A recent report from Primis shows that publishers are struggling with maintaining their ads.txt files since it is a manual process that is currently not fully clear to publishers. Learn more about how to implement ads.txt on your site in the following article about monetizing ads.txt inventory
Why implement ads.txt
Publishers who do implement ads.txt on their sites are making a difference when it comes to domain spoofing attacks by fraudulent sellers who hijack domains and cause ad fraud.
Domain spoofing is a simple technique that tricks media buyers into buying sites that look great overall but are not the sites in question, imposter sites. Buyers are starting to implement ads.txt in their campaigns to validate the inventory they buy is not spoofed.