The IAB Tech Lab created the Authorized Digital Sellers Ads.txt project to eliminate the ability to profit from counterfeit inventory by increasing transparency to buyers of who you authorize to transact on your inventory.
What is Ads.txt?
To combat fraud, the industry has adopted ads.txt which allows publishers to publicly declare the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory. This record at the root domain of the site makes it harder for counterfeit inventory to be transacted across the ecosystem.
"Ads.txt is a simple, flexible, and secure method for publishers and distributors to declare who is authorized to sell their inventory, improving transparency for programmatic buyers." - IAB Tech Lab
Why do I need Ads.txt?
Advertisers are transitioning to purchase only on Ads.txt inventory to make sure they are buying only authorized inventory. If the file is absent of any valid records declaring authorized systems, then the buyers can assume that no advertising system is authorized to buy and sell ads on the website.
How does it work?
Only the website admin is able to edit the root files of the website which makes it reliable because the text file cannot be changed by anyone other than you. This otherwise un-editable file lists only the people you approve to buy your inventory.
In the example below, each of the green boxes is an authorized seller that you work with. The ads.txt box on the far left represents a single line in your actual ads.txt file indicating to the supply chain which players you have authorized to transact on your inventory. Your ads.txt file includes the full list of your authorized partners and is crawled by the DSP so that the buyer has transparency of who you authorize to work with your site. This gives an added layer of safety to the buyer because the supply chain knows the site indicates only specific partners, so it helps combat counterfeit inventory.
*Source: IAB Tech Lab
How do I implement Ads.txt?
There are two ways to implement Proper's ads.txt entries:
Host the file yourself
- In the Proper dashboard, visit the Ads.txt page in the Ad Manager section
- Download the file
- Host your file at the top-level of the domain’s file structure aka root level for your domain by your webmaster or development team. IE: https://website.com/ads.txt
- Encode the data as a formatted plain text object
Let Proper Host the file for you (recommended)
Instead of hosting the file yourself, configure your web server or server-side code to return a 301, 302, or 307 redirect to the URL listed in the Ads.txt page of the Proper dashboard. Assuming that Proper is to host the ads.txt for the foreseeable future, a 301 HTTP response code is recommended. Otherwise, a 302 or 307 can be used as well.
This method is recommended as it ensures the file will always be kept up to date with the latest information from Proper and does not require you to continuously update the file on your end whenever a change is made to our ads.txt information.
You can always add or edit your own additional entries within the Proper UI as well.
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