AppNexus pledges to purge adtech’s bad actors in ads.txt push

Programmatic adtech platform AppNexus has boosted the industry’s push to adopt ads.txt files, as the company pledges to help purge the industry of ‘bad actors’, global chief strategy officer Tom Shields told the Programmatic Summit in Sydney yesterday.

“The digital ad industry is growing up, we’re growing out of our teenage years and we’re maybe in our early twenties. It’s still a relatively young industry and it’s something that’s continuing to develop and mature.”

The result of a quickly growing industry, Shields warns, is the development of ‘bad actors’: “One of the areas we’re seeing where bad actors show up is in representing that they have inventory to a specific publisher that they don’t have specific rights to.

“Ads.txt is one of the simplest ways publishers can say who has the rights to sell inventory. It doesn’t eliminate all the fraud but it certainly goes a long way to figuring out who is a good or bad actor.”

Developed by the Interactive Advertising Bureau to help fight online advertising fraud, ads.txt is a file publishers place on their domains, listing approved advertising partners.

As an earlier supporter of ads.txt, AppNexus announced it started disallowing sellers on its platform who aren’t approved in publisher’s ads.txt files in late January.

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

At the Sydney conference, Shields warned Australian publishers are lagging in adoption of ads.txt however with Australia can do better, with only 32% of the nation’s top publishers using the feature, compared to 48% of their US counterparts.

“Australia can do better,” he concluded.


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