IAB Australia today announces that it has been working with major Australian publishers, agencies and tech vendors to implement ads.txt, a global IAB initiative designed to eliminate counterfeit inventory in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. It also urges the entire Australian digital advertising industry to adopt ads.txt in order to increase trust and transparency in programmatic advertising.
Ads.txt (which stands for Authorised Digital Sellers) is a simple, flexible and secure method developed by IAB Tech Labs in New York that publishers and authorised partners can use to publicly declare the companies they have sanctioned to sell their digital inventory. Once adopted at scale, buyers can use ads.txt files to shift media spend to authorised supply paths.
“We’ve been encouraged by the response so far to ads.txt but we need the entire digital ecosystem to get on board in order to drive wholesale changes and to ensure the full potential of ads.txt is realised,” said IAB Australia CEO Vijay Solanki. “I’m calling upon all Australian publishers to adopt ads.txt to help stamp out ad fraud and give buyers the confidence that the inventory they are buying is legitimate. We need to act collaboratively in order to continue to drive progress in our industry and help provide a safe programmatic environment for Australian brands.”
Jonas Jaanimagi, IAB Australia executive consultant and recognised ad tech expert has been working with publishers, agencies and programmatic exchanges to support the implementation of ads.txt. To date, over two hundred Australian publishers have adopted and are supporting the technology, including The Guardian Australia, News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and Mamamia. IAB Australia would like to see this figure increase to over 1,000 to achieve critical mass.
Tony Bell, national sales director at The Guardian Australia, noted that The Guardian has adopted the ads.txt protocol globally. “We support all moves to clean up the digital ecosystem and improve transparency of the programmatic supply chain. Ads.txt verified vendors provide buyers with a guarantee that inventory is genuine, and will help eliminate fraud practices in the industry."
Publishers simply post the "/ads.txt" file on their root domain and any subdomains as needed. This enables programmatic buyers to crawl the web for publisher ads.txt files in order to create a list of authorised sellers for each participating publisher.
“Mass adoption of ads.txt will benefit the entire digital advertising eco system,” noted Jonas Jaanimagi. “Sellers will be protected from spoofing and buyers can buy programmatically with greater confidence from domains with this simple solution in place. The wide-scale adoption of ads.txt will give major brands peace of mind that their marketing messages will only appear on verified domains, significantly improving brand safety and eliminating any risk of ad fraud.”
Sarah Melrose, Programmatic Director at Ikon Communications believes it is a win-win situation for the industry, “As a buyer, decreasing fraud is a number one priority. Ads.txt automatically gives me increased security in programmatic that hasn’t been possible before. It’s a win-win for us all. It allows buyers to ensure that we buy the correct inventory and also ensures the revenue intended for publishers actually reaches them, not fraudsters. In the next 3 months our focus will be on buying inventory from publishers that have ads.txt in place to safeguard our clients against fraud."
IAB Australia urges Australian publishers to adopt ads.txt and is committed to supporting the simple process. Ads.txt is a key global priority for the IAB and its development will be discussed at this week’s IAB Global Summit in New York. IAB Australia will also be working with IAB Tech Labs in New York to roll-out a workable update for non-web environments (e.g., mobile apps).
Tim Whitfield, director, technical operations at GroupM is an advocate of ads.txt, "GroupM is an advocate of any technology enhancement that improves transparency in the marketplaceAds.txt is one of the key initiatives that help push the industry forward towards a safer environment for all players. The good work that governing bodies, like the IAB, do is key to continuously disrupting, evolving and advancing. We are fully supportive of ads.txt."