New IAB Tech Verifies Direct Ad Sellers, Lets Media Buyers See All Participating Parties

The IAB Technology Lab today introduced for public comment two new technical specifications aimed at increasing transparency across the digital advertising supply chain, specifically supply-side real-time bidding and programmatic sourcing and buying.

The first -- sellers.json -- enables buyers to verify the sellers of direct advertising or those that act as intermediaries. The second, OpenRTB SupplyChain, allows buyers to see all parties that sell or resell a bid request.

The OpenRTB Working Group is seeking industry feedback during a 30-day public comment period, which runs through May 10.

The adoption cycle should follow, where ad exchanges begin to implement the standards, according to Sam Tingleff, CTO at the IAB Tech Lab.

“The goal is to build a fully cryptographically secured supply path,” Tingleff said. He adds these two standards signify the second piece of the road map. "We think this addresses a real vulnerability." 



When the standards are finalized, the supply side platforms (SSPs) and exchanges will post their sellers.json files for buyers to review. SSPs and exchanges would need to upgrade their OpenRTB integration for versions 2.x or 3.0 to include support for the SupplyChain object, an OpenRTB extension.

There is a general idea of how the standards reduce risks and prevent fraud, but the IAB Tech Lab doesn’t do the research in-house. The group relies on brands to present the data, he said.

Combining these standards and components will give advertisers and agencies the tools to understand what they’re buying and hopefully make better purchases.

These specifications were created by the IAB Tech Lab’s OpenRTB Working Group and build on transparency, brand safety and trust in the digital advertising ecosystem brought by the ads.txt and app-ads.txt specifications. It is a way for content owners to declare who is authorized to sell their ad inventory.

For demand-side platforms (DSPs), it allows buyers to purchase ads through approved seller accounts.

App-ads.txt, its companion, applies the same function to ad transactions in mobile apps, as well as over-the-top (OTT) video apps.

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