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Demystifying the Ads.txt: plain explanation for publishers

Demystifying the Ads.txt: plain explanation for publishers

7 min read  |  by Epom

This year the whole advertising ecosystem was attacked by the splash of fraudulent traffic and inventory reselling. In May The IAB Tech Lab launched Ads.text project to prevent counterfeit impression serving and domain spoofing. Epom Market team decided to join the IAB initiative as we found it crucial for the future of online advertising. More than 500 publishers trust us their traffic and we really care about the lifecycle of each single ad impression.

Andrew Liulko, Head of Sales, Epom Ltd.

In 2017 fraud traffic and domain spoofing has turned into calamity for the whole online advertising ecosystem. Epom team is doing our best to protect our demand and supply partners from shady players. That's why we ask our publishers to support The IAB initiative and implement their ads.txt as soon as possible. Let's keep out the fraudsters and illegitimate arbitrage practices.

The ads.txt initiative made a big splash right after the release. As it turned out, it was naive to assume that ads.txt implementation might be finished at one fell swoop. Despite publishers understand the importance of the new tool, they continue to demand detailed explanation of what is ads.txt and why they need to adopt it. We decided to pick up and answer the most common questions about this IAB project.

What is ads.txt?

Ads.txt is an IAB-approved text file with your authorized inventory sellers which is hosted on the website server. The list includes short information about the companies which have a right to sell your inventory to their demand partners. If you want to manually check how ads.txt files look like, just add /ads.txt after the website domain in the URL bar. For example, or

How to add ads.txt to the website?

The process of adding ads.txt file is quite simple.

  1. Look through the Specification set out by the IAB.
  2. Put together details about companies, ad networks, platforms and agencies which make your inventory available to traffic buyers as mentioned below:
    • The name of advertising party
    • Unique publishers' ID (provided by demand partner)
    • Partnership type (#direct or #reseller)
    • The certification account ID for verified advertising system (if possible)
    Here is how added Epom Market to ads.txt, 9872ed9fc, reseller #native
  3. Use separate lines for each reselling partner.
  4. Add this information to one .txt file, save and name ads.txt
  5. Upload the file in the stem of your domain or ask your webmaster to help you with that.

Will it take a lot of my time and efforts?

No, it won't. If you are sending your inventory to large amount of partners it might take some time to collect necessary details and specific IDs from each of them. Gathering this info is the most time-consuming part of ads.txt implementation. After the list of Authorized Digital Sellers is completed place ads.txt file on your server and protect yourself from shady traffic reselling.

Why should I adopt this ads.txt thing?

Ads.txt initiative aims at making programmatic advertising safe and transparent. Are you aware of who is the last point in the chain of the partners who are selling your traffic? What is your real eCPM? Nowadays lots of industry players pretend to be high quality publishers by spoofing the domains while the traffic they produce is 100% fake. ads.txt will help you not to take the bait and earn maximum with your unique inventory. That's why we do recommend you to start working on ads.txt at your earliest convenience.

How urgently I should implement Ads.txt?

You might already received tons of emails from your uptight demand partners who are eager to become a part of your ads.txt file. No doubt, the faster you get your Ads.txt done, the better. But it is not critical. Mark this task as 'major' in your agenda and try not to hold it over till the finest times.

How many Authorized Digital Sellers I can add to ads.txt?

You can include as many demand partners to the list as you need. If you want to update the ads.txt by adding new authorised resellers, fill up their names to the existing text file. Just a word of advice, don't make your ads.txt overcrowded.

Will ads.txt harm my daily revenues?

Definitely, no. You will probably increase your earnings by choosing transparency regarding to your ad partners. ads.txt will allow you to control online advertising supply chain and get the highest rates for your inventory.

Will I be able to sell my inventory without ads.txt?

Yes, of course. You may still sell your inventory without Adx.txt. Keep in mind that advertising industry is changing rapidly. As of now advertisers, ad networks, exchanges and SSPs usually check publisher's ads.txt before offering any type of partnership. Online advertising players understand that close to publisher means close to exclusiveness and high revenue. Transparent advertising policy increases the level of demand partners' trust. So ads.txt will definitely worth the time and efforts invested to implementation.

Demand partners also integrate ads.txt files?

Yes, they do. Some programmatic platforms also place ads.txt files to show which traffic they are authorised to sell. Such transparency assures the high level of credibility for both demand and supply sides.

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