What is Ads.txt and how to implement it to avoid revenue loss from any ad network you use?


Recently, Interactive Advertising Bureau Tech Lab (IAB) proposed a big change in advertising system to improve the transparency in programmatic advertising. This is Ads.txt and most of the ads network support this. This system avoids the misrepresentation of any website by fraudsters. If you think the language was too complicated, you need to keep reading and I will try to explain how things work in online advertising and how Ads.txt will improve it.

What actually happens is that frauds use domain spoofing to show that they represent premium publishers like, let’s say, CNN or BBC. Advertisers think that their Ads are being shown on big websites, in reality, the ads are serving on some random domains and bots are watching them serve high impressions.

The recent fraudster Methbot spoofed more than 6000 premium domains and generated over $5 million ads revenue each day. They used the f automated web browsers running on fraudulently acquired IP addresses for watching video ads on daily basis.

This just one case and there are lots of others. To avoid this kind of fraudster and keeping the money or advertiser and revenue of a legit publisher safe, Ads.txt has been introduced.

Buyers can easily check the ads.txt file to know if an ad server is genuinely representing the premium domain or not.

What is ads.txt?

Ads.txt is just a text file that will be there at the root of your server. Publishers need to list all the companies who are authorized to sell a publisher’s inventory. If you are working with Adsense, you need to put Google here. If you are using more ad networks, you need to put all in this file. There is a proper format of Ads.txt. I will discuss that later.

The ads.txt will be publicly available. SO, buyers third-party vendors, and exchanges can easily check who is authorized to sell the inventory of this website.

Publishers are free to choose whether they want to use it or note, but Google and other ads network recommend this. It helps you protect your brand from counterfeit inventory. No one can spoof your ads mislabelled as originating from your website and earn by that.

It will also help you in receiving more advertiser spend.

How to Create an ads.txt file?

This is a simple process. You just need to create a file ads.txt on the root of your domain and declare the account for each exchange or Supply-Side Platform (SSP) who are authorized to sell your inventory.

You need to add a new like for each authorized seller. Each line contains four pieces of data where three are required and fourth is an optional field.

<Field #1>, <Field #2>, <Field #3>, <Field #4>

<Field #1> specified the domain of advertising system
<Field #2> specifies the publisher’s account ID
<Field #3> Type of account/relationship. Direct means, the publisher directly controls the ads and RESELLER’ indicates that the publisher has authorized another entity to control the account.
<Field #4> shows certification authority ID. It uniquely identifies the advertising system within a certification authority.

If you are just using Adsense, you need to add this line.

ads.txt sample

Here I added DIRECT because this publisher is the direct seller of ads inventory on my website. The publisher id is my publisher id. In your website, ad your publisher add with DIRECT.

If you work with any other ads network that uses fall back of AdSense ads for their ads, they will use RESELLER in place of direct.

How to avoid revenue loss from any ad network you use?

As most of the Advertising networks have started supporting this, they will suggest you implement ads.txt. But you need to do it properly otherwise you will end up losing your ads revenue.

All ad networks have their own lines to add on ads.txt. If you are using 3 ads networks and added ads.txt just for a single ad network, other 2 ad networks will stop showing ads until you add lines of their ads network as well.

So, either don’t use ads.txt at all or use it with lines of all ads network as one go.

As I already told in previous posts, I use Sulvo (Sulvo Review) to monetize my blog along with Adsense. Sulvo suggested me to create ads.txt with the text file they gave. I did the same but forgot to include the line for Google Adsense for my account.

Within 24 hours, Adsense stopped showing ads on my website where I added the ads.txt. When I realized this, I changed the code to add Adsense as an authorized reseller with my publisher id. But, it still took hours for Google to update and my website was without Adsense ads for more than 30 hours.

If you are thinking to go with Ads.txt, first make a list of all ads network you are using and then create an ads.txt file representing all ads network.

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Deepanker Verma is the founder of Techlomedia. He is a tech blogger, developer and gadget freak.

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