IAB Australia tackles ad fraud head-on with roll out of ads.txt

Posted by Christian Manie On October 31, 2017 Media Releases

Urges Australian digital advertising ecosystem to adopt global IAB initiative

SYDNEY, 1 November 2017: IAB Australia today announces that it has been working with major Australian publishers, agencies and tech vendors to implement ads.txt, a global IAB initiative designed to eliminate counterfeit inventory in the programmatic advertising ecosystem. It also urges the entire Australian digital advertising industry to adopt ads.txt in order to increase trust and transparency in programmatic advertising.

Learn more about the ads.txt rollout and technical information here.

Ads.txt (which stands for Authorised Digital Sellers) is a simple, flexible and secure method developed by IAB Tech Labs in New York that publishers and authorised partners can use to publicly declare the companies they have sanctioned to sell their digital inventory. Once adopted at scale, buyers can use ads.txt files to shift media spend to authorised supply paths.
“We’ve been encouraged by the response so far to ads.txt but we need the entire digital ecosystem to get on board in order to drive wholesale changes and to ensure the full potential of ads.txt is realised,” said IAB Australia CEO Vijay Solanki. “I’m calling upon all Australian publishers to adopt ads.txt to help stamp out ad fraud and give buyers the confidence that the inventory they are buying is legitimate. We need to act collaboratively in order to continue to drive progress in our industry and help provide a safe programmatic environment for Australian brands.”
Jonas Jaanimagi, IAB Australia executive consultant and recognised ad tech expert has been working with publishers, agencies and programmatic exchanges to support the implementation of ads.txt. To date, over two hundred Australian publishers have adopted and are supporting the technology, including The Guardian Australia, News Corp Australia, Fairfax Media and Mamamia. IAB Australia would like to see this figure increase to over 1,000 to achieve critical mass.  
Tony Bell, national sales director at The Guardian Australia, noted that The Guardian has adopted the ads.txt protocol globally. “We support all moves to clean up the digital ecosystem and improve transparency of the programmatic supply chain. Ads.txt verified vendors provide buyers with a guarantee that inventory is genuine, and will help eliminate fraud practices in the industry.”
Publishers simply post the “/ads.txt” file on their root domain and any subdomains as needed. This enables programmatic buyers to crawl the web for publisher ads.txt files in order to create a list of authorised sellers for each participating publisher.

“Mass adoption of ads.txt will benefit the entire digital advertising eco system.” noted Jonas Jaanimagi. “Sellers will be protected from spoofing and buyers can buy programmatically with greater confidence from domains with this simple solution in place. The wide-scale adoption of ads.txt will give major brands peace of mind that their marketing messages will only appear on verified domains, significantly improving brand safety and eliminating any risk of ad fraud related to domain spoofing.”

Sarah Melrose, Programmatic Director at Ikon Communications believes it is a win-win situation for the industry, “As a buyer, decreasing fraud is a number one priority. Ads.txt automatically gives me increased security in programmatic that hasn’t been possible before. It’s a win-win for us all. It allows buyers to ensure that we buy the correct inventory and also ensures the revenue intended for publishers actually reaches them, not fraudsters. In the next 3 months our focus will be on buying inventory from publishers that have ads.txt in place to safeguard our clients against fraud.”
IAB Australia urges Australian publishers to adopt ads.txt and is committed to supporting the simple process. Ads.txt is a key global priority for the IAB and its development will be discussed at this week’s IAB Global Summit in New York. IAB Australia will also be working with IAB Tech Labs in New York to roll-out a workable update for non-web environments (e.g., mobile apps).
Tim Whitfield, director, technical operations at GroupM is an advocate of ads.txt, “GroupM is an advocate of any technology enhancement that improves transparency in the marketplaceAds.txt is one of the key initiatives that help push the industry forward towards a safer environment for all players. The good work that governing bodies, like the IAB, do is key to continuously disrupting, evolving and advancing. We are fully supportive of ads.txt.”

More information and support on ads.txt can be found at https://www.iabaustralia.com.au/ads-txt-info or by contacting Jonas Jaanimagi at Jonas@iabaustralia.com.au

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) Limited is the peak trade association for online advertising in Australia and was incorporated in July 2010. As one of over 43 IAB offices globally, and with a rapidly growing membership, IAB Australia’s principal objective is to support and enable the media and marketing industry to ensure that they thrive in the digital economy.
The role of the IAB is to work with its members and the broader advertising and marketing industry to assist marketers to identify how best to employ online as part of their marketing strategy, to better target and engage their customers and build their brands.
By addressing the core pillars of growth of the online advertising industry – simplified and standard online audience measurement, research, and online operational standards and guidelines, and regulatory affairs, IAB Australia leverages the skills, experience and commitment of its members to advocate the benefits of online advertising by acting as an authoritative and objective source for all online advertising issues whilst promoting industry-wide best practice.
IAB Australia is a registered not-for-profit organisation; membership fees and revenue generated is invested back into the IAB’s membership benefits such as resources, events, reporting, and industry representation.
For further information about IAB Australia please visit: www.iabaustralia.com.au
For further information please contact:
Pru Quinlan or Sue Ralston
Einsteinz Communications
T: (02) 8905 0995
E: pru@einsteinz.com.au | sue@einsteinz.com.au

Christian Manie