Ads.txt file is an IAB Tech Lab initiative to minimize the Ad fraud in Digital Advertising. It is a file that website owner has to upload in the backend of their website to basically let the Ad Exchanges know about the publishing accounts allowed to sell their inventory. It is short for Authorized Digital Sellers

As the name of the file suggests, it is a .txt file which can be created using a MS WordPad or similar applications. The file just contains the Network IDs as below:

The screenshot is from BBC.com website’s ads.txt file

You can literally check the ads.txt file of any website by adding ads.txt to the website domain in the browser.

As you can see in the screenshot, every line in the file mentions the Ad Exchange, Publisher account ID and type of association of BBC.com inventory with that account. In turn, it means that only these accounts are authorized to sell inventory from BBC.com website

In this way, an advertiser who is buying inventory from bbc.com through any network or platform can easily compare the seller account ID with what is being shown in the reports. All this ensures that no one is able to mask their fake inventory as BBC.com inventory.

This initiative has helped a lot in reducing the Ad Fraud

How does it work?

Google and other companies recommend publishers and website owners to add the ads.txt file to the backend of the website. In this file, they need to declare all the seller accounts like Ad Sense account which is authorized to sell their inventory. This helps in two ways:

  1. Advertisers can easily check the Ads.txt file of a publisher who they think they are buying the inventory from and compare with the reports in their ad platforms
  2. Ad platforms like DV360 let advertisers to choose if they want to target only websites which have ads.txt files added to the backend

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