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More on Ads.Txt

With the ever growing industry of digital advertising, the expenditure on digital ads across the world is somewhere around 56.1% of the total expenditure on media ad which comes to be approximately $389 billions in 2021. Every success brings a problem with it too and in this case, it is ad fraud. And, it has become an important topic to think over. 


Among the cases of ad fraud, we can mention the Methbot one which included the embezzling of $3 millions to $5 million every single day from the advertisers in 2016. Thus, it was the most profitable operation for ad fraud till date. Hence, to deal with this issue, the Interactive Advertising Bureau i.e. IAB brought up Ads.txt in May, 2017.


However, it got the acceptance of people only when the authorities wrote an open letter for every publisher, telling them that they may lose some of their advertisers if they don't adopt ads.txt 


What exactly is Ads.txt? 


It is a text file, made publicly available, in which a publisher can list the partners who are given authorisation for selling and reselling the ad inventories online. This makes the advertisers able to check and know whether the ad inventories they purchase are valid or not. 


The objective is the eradication of domain spoofing. Here, the fraudsters make the advertisers run ads on their website by persuading them and imitating them as the proprietor of some premium website. 

What actually happens is they serve the ads over a cheaper website which has low traffic too. 


And with Ads.txt, publishers are now able to validate them as an authorized partner. 


How Ads.txt works? 


The ads.txt file is firstly made to upload to the domain by a publisher. Then, the advertisers make use of ads.txt crawler which is basically a python script. This crawler crawls the domains list and checks if the publishers are having ads.txt files. When they get the domains having ads.txt, the domains list is checked with the seller account IDs from the bids requests. And if these IDs don't match, then it means that the ad inventory is not from a legitimate advertiser. Hence, they cease bidding on the ad inventories of those domains. 


How can you create an ads.txt? 


Creating an ads.txt is quite easy. You get a ready-made syntax by IAB in which you can put your ad partners' domains. After mentioning them, you will get an enumerated form of list of your partners. 


Implementation of ads.txt ?


You will now have to add this text file, having your ad-tech partners such as Ad exchanges, SSPs and so on over the web servers. 

At the same time, your ad-tech partners should also have the access to ads.txt files to know the ad inventories of which publisher they are allowed to sell. Hence, buyers can know of the validation of ads. 


Is Ads.txt obligatory? 


No, it is not a mandatory application, but many experts recommend it. This is because of the capability of ads.txt to save your website from any of the forged inventories. 



So we can say in the end that ads.txt is quite helpful as it helps the publishers so that they can regulate their advertisers and selling of the inventories. Thus, it helps in combating fraud. 

So, what is the reason to not use it? Ads.txt is reliable, easy to implement and use and is also quite facilitative. 

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