Like most tricksters, the illegitimate actors in the ad tech ecosystem are attempting to weasel their way back into the game.
As most publishers now know, the IAB created ads.txt to prevent bad actors from fooling buyers into purchasing fake impressions. The method allows publishers to declare, thought a text file on their web server, the companies they authorize to sell their digital inventory.
The dangers of not implementing ads.txt
By not implementing ads.txt, publishers risk not only their domains being spoofed, but also a drastic decrease in programmatic revenue. They also put their reputation on the line. But simply implementing ads.txt doesn’t mean a publisher is safe from getting scammed.
The ads.txt fraudsters are working overtime
In the past few weeks, publishers have reported being contacted by third party sellers with whom they have never done business. These sellers are asking publishers to add their line item inside the ads.txt file.
You may be wondering, why would a publisher ever add an unknown entity to their file?
The answer is fear. These actors are attempting to convince publishers that leaving them out of the ads.txt file will result in massive revenue losses. Often, they say they are buying impressions at volume via an exchange. There are a few problems with this.
The proof that something is fishy
Ads.txt only addresses who is allowed to sell a publisher’s inventory. A buyer at the end of the programmatic value chain (e.g. someone using a DSP to execute a campaign directly on behalf of an advertiser) does not need to be added, because there is no further resale. The implication of requests like the one described above is that the entity intends to resell impressions on an exchange.
Furthermore, you have no way to verify that the impressions this third party is purchasing and reselling actually came from you. In other words, the entity can simply manufacture impressions out of thin air and put your domain on them.
Smart’s advice: If these actors haven’t cut you a check before, don’t to trust them!
Their objective is completely contrary to the spirit of ads.txt and doesn’t add value to the media chain. These entities may sounds convincing, but you’re better off ignoring them.
If you’ve already implemented ads.txt, great! If you still need to, take a look at our 3 minute video to learn how to get started.