IAB Tech Lab announced Tuesday the release of an automated service for publishers that allows them to validate authorized sellers of their inventory by verifying their ads.txt (authorized digital sellers file) or app-ads.txt files against sellers.json files programmatically.
“A publisher can work with hundreds of sellers, and It’s not easy to keep track of how they’re represented,” said Shailley Singh, acting general manager and SVP of product management at IAB Tech Lab. “This service will do an automated check and identify inconsistencies.”
The service, Supply Chain Validation, aims to bring transparency to the ad market by making validated data available to everyone. The data is specific to a domain or publisher.
Two of IAB Tech Lab's most widely adopted transparency specifications — ads.txt and app-ads.txt — will help eliminate misrepresented, fraudulent inventory by providing a mechanism for publishers to publicly list those authorized to sell their inventory.
It’s a good time to launch this type of service because during the past couple of years, trust has been waning between buyers and sellers, Singh said.
The accompanying sellers.json specification enables buyers to verify the entities who are either direct sellers of or intermediaries in the selected digital advertising opportunity for purchase. The Supply Chain Validation service:
Singh believes it’s critical that publishers have an automated way to verify how their authorized selling partners represent them, especially since the specification is used widely and relied on daily for the integrity of programmatic transactions.
Ultimately, Supply Chain Validation aims to ensure that sell-side transparency standards are properly implemented and give buyers and publishers more confidence to make transactions.
In a report released May 2021, IAB Tech Lab shares details of the automated tests, including that IAB Tech Lab will do a weekly, un-automated check of the ads.txt or app-ads.txt file and the referenced authorized seller’s seller.json files. Testing includes registration, validation, and published results.
IAB Tech Lab will share the findings and recommendations with the industry in a webinar: The State of Ads.txt Adoption: Validating the Supply Chain.
IAB Tech Lab analyzed more than 3 million websites using ads.txt, 400,000 apps using app-ads.txt, and hundreds of sellers.json files. The findings will release common syntactical errors, relationship validations between ads.txt/sellers.json, and more to help with the implementation and monitoring of supply chains with these tools.