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September 29 2017

Ads.txt: Adopt or Be Blocked

Why should you read this article?

Publishers who don’t implement ads.txt are being blacklisted by the buy side.
Maya Lawrence

Publishers who don’t implement ads.txt are being blacklisted by the buy side. Our advice? Implement it now so you don’t have problems later.

Get started in 3 minutes!

Implementing ads.txt is simple. Watch this 3 minute video to learn how to do it.

What exactly is ads.txt?

The IAB has taken an active role to help prevent bad actors from tricking buyers into purchasing fake impressions. Ads.txt is a method available on desktop and mobile web for publishers to declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory. By creating a public record of Authorized Digital Sellers, it helps to prevent counterfeit inventory and to improve transparency.

More details are available on the IAB website.

Why publishers should participate in ads.txt

Some publishers are still dragging their feet when it comes to implementing ads.txt. It’s pretty obvious that if you can take steps to ensure your revenue is protected, you should do it. Moreover, the entire digital advertising industry benefits when domain spoofing and other types of fraud are eliminated. So, what’s going on?

Francis Turner of Media Post chalks it up to a lack of understanding about the initiative and tech teams that haven’t prioritized the implementation. He also summarizes that publishers think it’s difficult to do and that implementing ads.txt might reduce inventory demand.

In fact, ads.txt is easy to implement, and it doesn’t cut legitimate inventory, only the fake stuff. If you’ve got the real thing, there’s no reason to worry about supply / demand impacting the monetization of your site.

Moreover, the ads.txt initiative is a market effort to reduce domain spoofing. By declaring who should be selling what, it promotes transparency and will help the industry get rid of the bad actors in the digital advertising ecosystem. Major corporations like CBS, Hearst, Meredith, NYTimes, TimeWarner, Disney, and Univision have posted an ads.txt file in their domain, and adoption is accelerating quickly. (A month after the IAB released their specs, GetIntent found that only 1.2% of publishers had implemented it, but AdOps Insider estimated that by September 16, that number had grown to 13%.)

Smart strongly recommends that all publishers participate in it. In short, there are three main advantages for publishers:

-Protect your brand and your revenue by preventing bad actors from spoofing your domains.
-Reassure advertisers on your inventory quality and authorship to allow them to buy with confidence.
-Reassure advertisers on your inventory quality and authorship to allow them to buy with confidence.

If you haven’t already implemented ads.txt, we encourage you to do it as soon as possible. It’s easy and quick. Getting this done before the Q4 rush starts will ensure you earn as much revenue as possible.

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