Over the past decade, consumers and publishers as well as media buyers and other stakeholders in the affiliate industry have demanded more transparency regarding the supply side. Because a transparent affiliate ecosystem makes fraudsters less likely to try and sell fake traffic or commit other forms of fraud. This has a positive effect on the entire affiliate industry and results in sustained growth.
It is difficult to find a standard that publishers and other stakeholders will agree on, given all the above. Publishers may find that ads.txt files can be a great alternative to the traditional way of managing their inventory.
Lemonads keeps up to date with all the latest changes and trends in affiliate marketing. This article will explain the meaning of ads.txt and how they work.
Let’s first define ads.txt files and then discuss what they mean. The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is the project that spearheaded ads.txt. It was created to increase transparency in programmatic advertising interactions.
Ads.txt’s letters A-D–S stand for “authorized seller digital” and can be easily added to your publishing platforms. Ads.txt files are used to declare who can redistribute your inventory. This is so that unscrupulous sellers don’t try to sell fake traffic that comes from you.
Adoption of ads.txt files is one of the greatest challenges. If all publishers and distributors agree on this change, it would create an environment where buyers and brands can be 100% confident about the quality of traffic they purchase.
How do Ads.txt files work?
Ads.txt is an affiliate platform that creates a public record for advertisers and media buyers. This allows them to access the information they need to determine who distributes traffic from a publisher.
Ads.txt files are text files. They are simple to upload, manage, and create. The webmaster can add them to the domain. This makes them an excellent way to verify information from distributors and publishers.
The OpenRTB protocol makes it easy to upload and find a text file that’s already been uploaded. This is because the platform has all the fields required for an ads.txt. Potential buyers will be able verify the authorization of distributors to distribute your traffic once it is implemented on their site. This will help them avoid any fraudulent interactions.
How can buyers use Ads.txt files?
Ads.txt can be adopted by both the publisher and the ad networks that this person works with. Buyers will be able check the tags of each provider and verify their authenticity. If the tags on the publisher and distributor match, the traffic purchased is valid.
The IAB Tech Lab also developed a crawler that pulls ads.txt files simultaneously from multiple websites for buyers who are buying traffic from many sources. This allows buyers to verify traffic from multiple sources without the need for manual intervention.
The Current AdTech Landscape and the Impact of Ads.txt
Two of the most serious problems in affiliate marketing are unauthorized distribution and counterfeiting of digital inventory. Before ads.txt was created, buyers had to contact publishers directly to verify that a network was permitted to sell traffic from a publisher. This was time-consuming and often didn’t produce results.
The IAB has created a database with information about who is allowed to distribute which traffic. This allows buyers to quickly verify the information.
It’s important to remember that all stakeholders are delighted. Adoption of ads.txt is not an option for SSPs or other distributors who profit from opaque or unreported selling practices.
Are There Any Drawbacks to Ads.txt
Some publishers, however, are reserving their rights to this opportunity because they fear that it will mean more work for them in maintaining a text file and adding it to all of their sites. Most agree that adding ads.txt files is a small price to pay to reduce counterfeit traffic sales.
Counterfeit inventory: The main driver behind Ads.txt adoption
Although ads.txt files won’t eliminate all counterfeit inventory, they do deal a major blow to malicious parties who use domain spoofing in order to distribute fake traffic.
Domain spoofing refers to the trick of making an ad request appear like it is coming from one website when it actually comes from another platform.
Domain spoofing, as you might already know, is the most common method of selling counterfeit inventory. It helps fraudsters disguise low-quality traffic and makes it appear like it comes from a great site. The buyer pays the most for the impression while the fraudster charges the lowest possible market price for the interaction.
Ads.txt files, if adopted by all publishers or the vast majority distributors, can eliminate domain spoofing once and for all. This would not eliminate fake traffic, but it would reduce the number of instances.
How to create an Ads.txt file
It was estimated that more than 40% of top 1000 Alexa sites had adopted ads.txt files at the time of writing.
It’s easy to create an ads.txt text file, as with all text documents. To create the first file, you can use NotePad or another standard text editor. You can then edit it using NotePad. You should keep in mind that ads.txt files may need different formatting depending on which network you are partnering with. The majority of ads.txt files will include at least four lines. These are the domain name and publisher identifier as well as account type and network tag ID, if applicable.
The URL of the distributor website is called the domain name. If you distribute traffic from multiple domains, the canonical name must be chosen that covers all advertising systems or platforms. If you create an ads.txt file using Google AdSense, then the canonical domain name will be www.google.com.
Publisher Account ID
Trade platforms and exchanges often place the publisher ID information whenever a request is generated. This can be an alphanumeric number that is several dozen characters long, but it shouldn’t be handled manually.
Type of ccount
This account type tells buyers whether they are dealing with the publisher directly or with a reseller through a network. If the account type is “DIRECT”, then publishers sell traffic directly to the network. This is what buyers prefer. If it is labeled “RESELLER”, then the traffic is being sold directly to the network through an intermediary. Buyers don’t have the opportunity to interact with the publishers.
Optional – Identifier issued by the TAG (also known as TAG ID).
Finally, ads.txt files may also include the TAG ID(TAGID) which is an identifier provided by a certified entity called the Trustworthy Accountability Group. It is a good rule of thumb to include any TAG identifiers in ads.txt files if they are owned by the publisher. This adds credibility.
Implementing Ads.txt files
Follow the same steps as to upload your ads.txt files. To place your file, you can either use FTP or a manager program that allows you to access the root of the domain. This service may be included in your hosting service package if you are paying for high-quality hosting.
Remember that ads.txt works only if the files are properly uploaded. Make sure your ads.txt is free of errors and mistakes when creating it. This can be verified online using ads.txt validations, but you will need to locate a reliable provider.
Learn More Contact lemonads today to learn more
Ads.txt files are a great way to improve your online reputation and give you more control over your traffic, whether you’re a novice publisher looking for attention or an experienced webmaster who has multiple websites. Ads.txt files can be a part of the solution, but you must also ensure other areas of your publishing platform are safe from potential threats.
Lemondas is here to help you learn more about the industry and how to safely monetize traffic.
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