December 1, 2017 | by Alexian Chiavegato

Over 100,000 sites now have ads.txt implemented. What’s next?

As a professional with a stake in the world of online publishing, you will undoubtedly have heard of the ads.txt initiative, which was spearheaded by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB). The initiative works to prevent industry spoofing and halt the activities of unauthorized sellers.

According to data from DoubleClick, there are now over 100,000 sites that have implemented ads.txt on their domain. After initial concern about adoption rates, it is becoming clear that the ads.txt initiative is becoming a success, and one that continues to grow.

Many publishers and leading SSPs are proud to have played a part in the initiative, and have taken important steps to protect themselves from fraud. In doing so, publishers are also protecting programmatic buyers who can now purchase inventory safe in the knowledge that their ads will reach their target audience. In fact, Marfeel has played a role too – you can find out more about how we are protecting our publishing partners in this press release.

We can clearly see that ads.txt is receiving monumental support. And this is while the initiative is in version 1.0.1—what could be in store for future versions?

International reselling could be further developed
Publishers that have audiences in numerous geographical regions face challenges around reselling. For example, maybe a publisher in the United States has a foreign edition of their content and would like to allow a particular ad exchange or ad network to sell inventory in one geo but not another. Given that all the activity will be taking place under www.domain.com, this can lead to complications.

Future versions will accommodate for diverse ad formats
Ads.txt files currently have five columns, accommodating for the publisher’s domain, the exchange domain, account ID, account type, and Tag ID (though this is optional). In the future, there will be a fifth (or sixth) column that permits publishers to specify a “media type”, depending upon their specific arrangements with ad networks.

More and more publishers will implement ads.txt
As the initiative rolled out, there were concerns that publishers would be reluctant to implement ads.txt for fear of revealing too much about which ad networks they sell their inventory on. However, the steady initial adoption among some of the world’s largest publishers means that ads.txt could be on its way to being cemented as an industry standard. We hope to see new and smaller publishers will begin to implement ads.txt files as standard, further solidifying the presence of ads.txt.

Have you noticed any oversights or spaces for improvements when it comes to ads.txt? The IAB are happy to receive comments and feedback—this is a hugely collaborative initiative and it is the entire industry that is making it successful.