Ads.txt was introduced by IAB Tech Lab whose mission by creating it was simply to as quoted: “Increase transparency in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. Ads.txt stands for Authorized Digital Sellers and is a simple, flexible and secure method that publishers and distributors can use to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory.” It’s purpose is to repel programmatic ad fraud.
Many times however, publishers are concerned about the ads.txt because they are unaware of its true benefits.
What about its benefits? Let’s dig into what’s behind the ads.txt and why it’s a must in order to monetize your website.
Adding the ads.txt files to your website helps confirm that you are the owner of the domain and it indicates that you are eligible to sell the website’s ad inventory.
Advertisers can check the ads.txt and also become aware of who is an authorized seller.
The selling part
When the advertiser receives a bid request from the publisher, the ads.txt are checked and compared to the publisher´s account ID. This step authorizes the operation.
In case the ID of the publisher does not match, then the advertiser or buyer can decide whether they want to buy this inventory or not.
Since arbitrage is the most common fraudulent practice in the industry, this step legitimates the transparency between the buyer and the publisher.
To sum up, the ads.txt files support domain owners who sell on exchanges through their own accounts, networks and sales houses who programmatically sell on behalf of domain owners, and content syndication partnerships where multiple authorized sellers represent the same inventory.