Digital media advertising has attracted spammers who are using fraudulent ads to gain revenue. Fraud ads have been a constant problem for digital advertising and costs the industry billions of dollars each year. A number of solutions have been looked at, but one of the easiest methods is to implement ads.txt in publisher website. In this blog we have discussed the way, using which you can implement a ads.txt file and its importance for publishers.

Ads.txt is an initiative and a brand safety tool developed by IAB Tech Lab. It is aimed at fighting ad fraud and improving transparency in digital advertising. Ads.txt labels which publishers are approved to sell traffic from a website. It guarantees that the website is protected from fraud. Thus, it helps advertisers to purchase ad space from authentic publishers.

How does ads.txt work?

A publisher adds an ads.txt file containing information about the ad networks they work with to the web server in the root domain. The ads.txt file contains four fields:

  1. Field 1: This is the domain name which helps in identification of the advertising system, like SSP or exchange.
  2. Field 2: This is the publisher’s account ID and identifies the seller or reseller within the advertising system.
  3. Field 3: This indicates if the digital inventory is being sold directly or by a reseller.
  4. Field 4: This lists the certification authority ID which uniquely identifies the advertising system.

Buyers can crawl to the web and generate a list of authorised sellers for each domain they want to purchase inventory from. Through an ORTB bid request, buyers can verify if the domain is coming from an authorised dealer or not.

How is it important to Publishers and Buyers?

So, what is the need for ads.txt file? Ads.txt gives publishers control over their inventory. This makes it hard for fraudsters to profit from selling fake inventory. 

For buyers, ads.txt makes it easier for them to identify authorised sellers. This gives them the peace of mind that they are buying authentic publisher inventory. When you implement ads.txt in publisher website, it gives buyers the choice to buy from authorised digital sellers of a domain. Read how to boost traffic on website using cheap online tools, in our blog: BOOST TRAFFIC ON YOUR WEBSITE USING THESE 6 CHEAP ONLINE TOOLS.

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Benefits of ads.txt

  1. To implement ads.txt in publisher website means that it will eliminate fraudulent SSPs and will equalise revenue distribution and cost. Not only does unauthorised selling damages the reputation of SSPs, but also of the publisher. Thus, in case of fraudulent re-selling of inventory, the reputation of the publisher isn’t damaged. This results in the elimination of illegitimate SSPs.
  2. Unauthorised selling of digital space causes buyers to spend money on counterfeit ads. With the implementation of ads.txt, buyers can verify that they are buying inventory from an authorised source. This ensures better quality of inventory.
  3. It helps DSPs who want to help advertisers to buy digital space in a more secure manner.
  4. Ads.txt also helps third party networks to establish themselves as authorised sellers for a particular domain.

How to implement ads.txt?

You can easily implement ads.txt in publisher website with the ads.txt generator by following the below mentioned steps:

  1. Fill in domain name
  2. Press generate ads.txt button and you will get a ‘/ads.txt’ file which will have a list of advertising systems and resellers.
  3. Check the advertising systems and add any other information that you wish to enter.
  4. Enter your email address and you will be emailed the file.

Read more about the difference between marketing and advertising firms, in our blog: DIFFERENCE BETWEEN MARKETING AND ADVERTISING FIRMS: LETS KNOW IT!. Though ads.txt might not combat all fraudulent practices in digital marketing, it will create an online advertising system which combats counterfeit ads and promotes transparency. It benefits publishers, buyers, SSPs, DSPs and third party networks.




Uni Square Concepts is an advertising agency located in New Delhi, India. By initiating The Uni Square Blog, we aim to provide a comprehensive portal where readers can educate themselves about the various aspects of advertising and marketing. The articles and blogs are written by our professional team of content writers, under the guidance of senior leaders of Uni Square Concepts including its CEO, Uday Sonthalia.