IAB Tech Lab launches aggregation service for ads.txt
The new service crawls sites and assembles a frequently updated spreadsheet of authorized sellers for specific domains.
Barry Levine on May 14, 2018 at 1:12 pm
released ads.txt to help stop the sale of counterfeit inventory for ads. The text file, posted on each domain or sub-domain owned by a publisher, indicates the only resellers, direct sellers or others who are authorized to represent that site’s inventory. The New York Times’s ads.txt file, for instance, will list the only resellers who can sell the space on its site, thus preventing fraudsters from selling space for which they don’t have the rights. But there are a lot of publishers out there using ads.txt, and managing all those publishers’ text files can be a pain. One potential solution, for instance, is a blockchain-based application launched late last year by ad blockchain firm MetaX. This week, the IAB Tech Lab is offering its own roundup mechanism, an aggregation service that crawls over 2 million domains and subdomains. The result is an Excel .csv file that can be downloaded by subscribers from the Tech Lab’s site, at an annual fee of $5,000 for IAB Tech Lab members and $10,000 for non-members. Here’s a sample of how the entries look in the spreadsheet: Tech Lab SVP and General Manager Dennis Buchheim told me that a typical subscriber might be a demand-side platform (DSP) that imports the file so it can guide inventory bids, although the exact usage is not standardized. He said advertisers were asking for something like this, given that the use of ads.txt “grew so quickly.” Buchheim added that this aggregation service could develop in several directions. Analytical firms, for instance, might use this data to determine trends in ad inventory, and there might eventually be ways to determine if the listed ads.txt file contains the most accurate info from the publisher. The new aggregation service follows another effort by the Tech Lab to simplify the ad tech environment, when it recently acquired the nonprofit industry consortium, DigiTrust. The organization, which was spun off several years ago from an IAB Tech Lab Working Group, provides a single identifier that is meant to take the place of the multiple cookies dropped by multiple vendors. Through a cloud-based service, participating parties can share a single cookie-based ID that acts like IDFA on a mobile device. This removes the need for ad tech vendors to track their own cookies and synchronize them with other vendors, which results in dozens or hundreds of cookies for site visitors and can slow down the serving of an ad.A year ago, the IAB Tech Lab