DSP Ads.txt Technology

AppNexus DSPs will switch off ad networks that are not named in publishers’ ads.txt files


By Ronan Shields, Digital Editor

November 28, 2017 | 5 min read

AppNexus has announced it will disable buying from ad networks claiming to sell premium advertising inventory from media owners whose ads.txt files do not identify them as authorized resellers via the adtech outfit’s demand-side platform (DSP) offering.

AppNexus DSPs will switch off ad networks that are not named in publishers’ ads

AppNexus DSPs will switch off ad networks that are not named in publishers’ ads

The adtech outfit made the announcement informing the wider sector that from 24 January 2018, both of its DSPs (including its legacy and more recently launched offering) will disable buying from parties that are not identified through a publisher’s ads.txt file as being legitimate traders.

According to AppNexus data, approximately two-thirds of of the top 1,000 media owners on its platforms have adopted ads.txt – an IAB Tech Lab initiative unveiled earlier this year to prevent fraudulent issues such as ‘domain spoofing’ etc – which has seen much take up among premium publishers.

To aid take-up AppNexus recently released a free ads.txt validation tool to the public, with the adtech outfit reporting a 400% uptake of ads.txt among the top publishers using its platform in recent weeks.

Speaking with The Drum earlier in the year, AppNexus chief executive Brian O’Kelley said that a ‘compression’ must occur in the media trading sector to improve faith in programmatic media buying among the wider industry. He went on to claim that initiatives such as ads.txt will bolster such faith, although further alterations to the current industry dynamics are required in his opinion.

Transparency has been the catch-cry of the marketing sector throughout both 2016 and 2017 as marketers become under increasing pressure from their wider organizations to prove their online ad spend is returning an ROI.

In 2016, US marketers turned their scrutiny towards the phenomena of rebate arrangements between media buying agencies and media owners with the ANA investigation, and this year the microscope has been turned to adtech, a charge that has seen Procter & Gamble (P&G) brand chief Marc Pritchard act as a figurehead.

This, along with a number of other high profile incidents in the sector, such as The Guardian taking legal action against adtech outfit Rubicon Project for allegedly charging undisclosed processing fees, has caused many seismic shifts in the space.

This includes a number of adtech players departing from their second price auction-only offering to media buyers and sellers, as well as several such players setting aside buy-side fees in a boost to the wider media industry’s faith in the sector.

For instance, enterprise software outfit Adobe partnered with some of the adtech sector’s biggest names including Google, MoPub, Oath, OpenX and Rubicon to bring more clarity to the fee structure charged by such players when it comes to fees involved with programmatic media buying.

This is a means of trading media which has historically been mired in uncertainty due to the fragmented nature of the adtech sector with players operating providing little additive value – a dynamic that has been allowed to continue due to widespread ignorance over programmatic media buying.

However, as more and more pressure is brought to bear on the marketing departments of some of the world’s biggest brands advertisers are starting to examine how their media budgets are distributed between online players.

The state of the industry had caused P&G’s Pritchard to label it as “murky at best, fraudulent at worst” at the flagship IAB conference earlier this year, in what is arguably one of the most memorable conference presentations of 2017.

DSP Ads.txt Technology

More from DSP

View all


Industry insights

View all
Add your own content +