IAB extends ads.txt standard to apps in continued attempt to fight online ad fraud

IAB Australia has released its apps-ads.txt as part of the fight against online ad fraud, advising media buyers they should actively look for app-ads.txt files along with ads.txt files when reviewing advertising inventory.

The IAB has also recommended local publishers quickly adopt the solution to help limit the spread of counterfeit programmatic advertising inventory, estimated by consultancy Emarketer to cost the ad industry up to US$19bn a year globally.

App-ads.txt is an extension of ads.txt released last year to give publishers and authorised partners a way to determine legitimate sellers of digital ads.

With ads.txt, a file is placed on a publisher’s site listing the authorised partners selling advertising on the site.

App-ads.txt, the latest iteration, supports apps distributed through online app stores, linking app store listings to app developers’ websites to help advertisers to identify legitimate resellers of publishers’ inventory.

Jonas Jaanimagi, IAB Australia tech lead, said of the latest initiative: “IAB Australia and our members have been delighted by the high levels of adoption of the ads.txt standard in Australia for desktop advertising and are optimistic of this now being successfully replicated with app-ads.txt for in-app inventory.

“Simple critical technical standards such as these require widescale adoption and support to be truly useful in practice and it’s only through these types of cross-industry collaboration and technical diligence that we will be able to tackle serious ongoing issues such as advertising fraud,” said Jaanimagi.

Georgina Fox, GroupM’s publisher partnerships and supply director said accessing fraud free, legitimate inventory on behalf of brands is crucial, as is supporting local publisher partners and the Australian online advertising ecosystem.

“As an industry it is imperative that we work together to combat fraud in any way we can, utilising the technology we have available. The adoption of app-ads.txt will further increase confidence for buyers, sellers and importantly for app developers. The adoption of ads.txt provided an increase in advertiser and publisher confidence, and it is fantastic that we can now extend this to app.”

REA group executive manager, audience solutions & automated trading, Braden Clarke added: “As an early adopter of the ads.txt standard for web inventory, we’re pleased to adopt the recently released app-ads.txt standard for in-app inventory. We support the IAB’s Authorised Digital Sellers initiatives as a means to increase trust and transparency across the digital supply chain – ensuring buyers can effectively navigate the path to authorised supply of genuine inventory.

“As witnessed with the adoption of the ads.txt standard for web – critical mass on the supply side is a required before this data can provide full value to DSPs and programmatic buyers. We would encourage other premium publishers and app developers to implement this simple solution to help overcome domain spoofing; and direct DSPs and buyers to authorised supply paths.”


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