ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers) is an initiative from IAB Technology Laboratory. It specifies a text file that companies can host on their web servers, listing the other companies authorized to sell their products or services. This is designed to allow online buyers to check the validity of the sellers from whom they buy, for the purposes of internet fraud prevention.

State of adoption edit

By November 2017, more than 44% of publishers had ads.txt files.[1] More than 90,000 sites were using ads.txt, up from 3,500 in September 2017, according to Pixalate. Among the top 1,000 sites that sold programmatic ads, 57 percent had ads.txt files, compared to 16 percent in September, per Pixalate.[2]

Latest adoption data per's Ads.txt Industry Dashboard:[3]

Websites Tier Jan 30th, 2020 Jan 30th, 2019 Jan 30th, 2018
Alexa Top 1,000 44.20% 40.90% 33.70%
Alexa Top 5,000 39.58% 36.00% 29.06%
Alexa Top 10,000 36.66% 32.75% 25.18%
Alexa Top 30,000 31.71% 26.34% 18.52%

Google has been an active proponent of ads.txt and pushing for faster, widespread adoption by publishers.[4] From the end of October 2017 Google Display & Video 360 only buys inventory from sources identified as authorized sellers in a publisher’s ads.txt file, when a file is available. ads.txt may become a requirement for Display & Video 360.[5]

File format edit

The IAB's ads.txt specification[6] dictates the formatting of ads.txt files, which can contain three types of record; data records, variables and comments. An ads.txt file can include any number of records, each placed on their own line.

Since the ads.txt file format must be adhered to, a range of validation,[7] management and collaboration tools have become available to help ensure ads.txt files are created correctly.

The original specification, v1.0, was issued in 2017.[6] with version 1.0.1 making small changes based on community feedback later that year. In 2019, version 1.0.2 made further small amendments and recommended using a placeholder record to indicate the intent of an empty ads.txt file:[8], placeholder, DIRECT, placeholder.

In 2021, version 1.0.3 added the inventorypartnerdomain directive, with version 1.1 adding managerdomain and ownerdomain in 2022.

See also edit

References edit

  1. ^ "State of ads.txt adoption". Ad Ops Insider. 16 September 2017. Archived from the original on 2018-03-21. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  2. ^ "The state of ads.txt". Digiday. Archived from the original on 2018-03-23. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  3. ^ "Ads.txt Industry Dashboard". Retrieved 7 February 2019.
  4. ^ "About ads.TXT/App-ads.TXT - Google Ad Manager Help".
  5. ^ "Google announces new anti-fraud initiatives for DoubleClick Bid Manager". MarTechToday. 21 September 2017. Archived from the original on 2018-03-22. Retrieved 2018-03-22.
  6. ^ a b "IAB.Tech Lab ads.txt v1.1" (PDF). IABTechLab. Retrieved 2023-04-01.
  7. ^ "IABTechLab ads.txt Resources". IABTechLab Resources. Archived from the original on 2018-07-11. Retrieved 2018-07-11.
  8. ^ "3.2.1 FILES WITHOUT AUTHORIZED ADVERTISING SYSTEM RECORDS". IAB.Tech Lab ads.txt v1.1 (PDF). IABTechLab. Retrieved 2024-01-02.

External links edit