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IAB Tech Lab issues final ads.txt specs to authenticate verified digital ad sellers
The initiative aims to give publishers and buyers a simple way to identify authorized sellers and help eliminate inventory fraud.
The IAB Tech Lab has released the final specifications of the initial version of ads.txt, a tool designed to keep counterfeit and unauthorized inventory out of the digital advertising supply chain. The industry group first introduced ads.txt in May with broad member support.
Alanna Gombert, the IAB Tech Lab’s general manager, said in a blog post Tuesday that adoption of the protocol has been increasing rapidly: “The amount of interest and support from the digital advertising community has been immense and from all facets of the supply chain: advertisers, agencies, platforms, publishers, data companies, and more.”
Ads.txt lets publishers post a file to their domains that acts as a public declaration of the sellers that are authorized to sell their inventory. Publishers can update the text file easily with data available in the OpenRTB protocol. With a crawler, programmatic buyers can scan the ads.txt files to build lists of authorized sellers and use that to filter out untrustworthy impressions and verify that the impressions being sold are authentic during the programmatic buying process. It also supports ad networks, exchanges and content syndicators.
Fraud has long plagued the digital advertising ecosystem. Procter & Gamble’s Mark Pritchard famously described the supply chain as “crappy” at the IAB’s Annual Leadership Meeting this year. The IAB’s latest estimate pegs the loss to advertisers at $8.2 billion annually.