AppNexus enforces ads.txt; major Australian publishers on board

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 2 March 2018
Publishers are on board with the IAB's attempt to stamp out ad fraud.

Programmatic ad tech platform, AppNexus, will no longer allow unauthorised sellers to trade on its demand side platform.

The company, which operates one of the largest advertising marketplaces in the world, is enforcing publishers’ ads.txt files without exception. This means that unauthorised sellers of inventory will be locked out.

The company has been testing the impact of an ads.txt compliance ban since January and says that 98% of spend on the top 1,000 domains was not impacted.

“Enforcement of ads.txt furthers our efforts to minimise domain spoofing and increase brand safety for our buyers,” AppNexus chief operating officer Ryan Christensen says.

“Combined with our established fraud detection and prevention technology, ads.txt compliance strengthens our core commitment to transparency and providing a safe platform for our buyers to purchase media from authentic sellers.”

Yesterday, AppNexus US chief strategy officer Tom Shields told the Programmatic Summit the tech company was determined to weed out bad actors in the digital advertising supply chain.

The IAB's ads.txt protocol is an effort to crack down on ad fraud in programmatic trading. It makes it much more difficult for fraudsters to commit domain spoofing, where imitation domains mimic premium publisher’s URLs to trick buyers into buying inventory from an unrelated site.

In Australia, AdNews understands all of the major publishers have either implemented the protocol. Beyond that, about 70% of Australia's larger websites across different categories of larger websites.

Websites that aren't traded pro grammatically are also taking steps to weed out fraudsters. Carsales has implemented an ads.txt file that states:

“carsales.com.au display inventory can only by purchased directly via MediaMotive(a division of carsales.com Ltd) or via AutoGate if dealer promotional products. Inventory is not available in open exchanges or private marketplace deals. No resellers are listed in this ads.txt file for this reason.”

AdNews understands that IAB Australia will soon start work on protocols that support ads.cert – a suped-up version of ads.txt.

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