November 10, 2017

Understanding Ads.txt and the Battle Against Fraud

Advertisers and publishers are fed up with the lack of trust and transparency, as well as the counterfeit inventory within the advertising industry. In need of a way to detect unauthorized sellers and fake inventory, the IAB has launched a new initiative called Ads.txt. Ads.txt increases transparency by allowing publishers to publicly declare authorized sellers, and eliminates bad players from profiting on domain spoofing.

Ads.txt, which stands for Authorized Digital Sellers, allows publishers to post a public file on their root domain that shows a list of authorized vendors to sell inventory. These authorized sellers simply need to share their name, the publisher ID, whether it’s a direct or a reseller and their tagID with the vendor to become an authorized seller. As publishers adopt ads.txt, advertisers will be able to more easily identify the authorized sellers which provides brands more confidence when buying inventory.

It’s not an easy concept to understand, but as explained in a recent Digiday article, a good metaphor is counterfeit handbags. Fashion companies don’t want anyone selling fake versions of their premium bags on Canal Street, as it cheapens their brand and they lose potential sales. And consumers don’t want to be duped into buying a fake bag because it’s of poor quality. So, if fashion companies publish a list of retailers that are authorized to sell their bags, consumers can check it out to make sure they buy one that’s legit. Everybody wins. Now, consider this same scenario within the digital advertising space. Fake inventory is being sold and publishers and brands are being lied to all while some fraudster is making money off it. With Ads.txt, there is a published list of authorized inventory sellers to make sure the sale is legitimate. Ads.txt allows the right people to sell and buy inventory, ensuring there are no fraudulent transactions

Emi Gal, CEO of Teads Studio and Group CMO commented, “In full support of Ads.txt and the mission it stands for, we encourage all of our publisher partners to incorporate Ads.txt, and advertisers to make use of this fraud prevention initiative. We firmly believe ads.txt can go a long way in making the industry a clean, safe and trustworthy place for brands and publishers.”

Teads is currently listed on 160 publishers’ ads.txt pages, including Tier 1 publishers such as Business Insider, Bloomberg, The Guardian, and many more. Teads has actively been promoting the importance of creating a clean advertising environment and Ads.txt project is just the latest project the company has put its weight behind to make this vision a reality.

To ensure the industry is educated on Ads.txt help move forward the initiative, Teads is bringing together influential thought leaders from the IAB Tech Lab, The Economist, MediaMath, Forbes and Google for a live panel discussion. There is still time to sign up for the livestream taking place on Tuesday, December 5th at 10 AM ET.

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