– ads.txt Guru is a new collaboration tool which eliminates the manual updates associated with ads.txt, the IAB’s latest initiative against online ad fraud. By allowing ad networks to manage their ads.txt records on publisher websites without the publisher’s intervention, the time-consuming process of requesting publishers manually update their ads.txt files can now be totally eliminated.
In 2017, Business Insider reported that Google and IAB performed secret tests which found thousands of fake ad listings on major ad networks, within just 10 to 15 minutes of testing. Business Insider, for example, said in one instance an advertiser thought it had purchased $40,000 worth of Insider ad inventory through open exchanges when in reality, the publication only saw $97. The rest, Insider said, went to fraud.^
The IAB’s ads.txt specification requires online ad publishers place a text file on their website called ‘ads.txt’, this file lists all of the ad network and exchanges which can sell advertising on the website along with corresponding account ids. This, in turn, allows the ad exchanges to verify which accounts are allowed to sell advertising for the relevant domain on their exchange. Initial reports show the ads.txt initiative is working, with tens of thousands of websites having already implemented the files, and major ad exchanges now requiring the files in order to allow sales.*
According to Neil Skirrow, the founder of ads.txt Guru, "the problem we’ve identified is the manual management, ads.txt files are fundamentally very simple, but as publishers typically work with multiple ad networks which in turn work with numerous higher tier networks, we’re seeing large ads.txt files with hundreds of records which are quickly becoming unmanageable. This becomes a burden when an ad network needs to change their records, such as when adding new higher tier networks, and that’s where we hope ads.txt Guru will be a real time-saver. By allowing the ad network to control their own records we remove the publisher from the process, reducing their workload, and allowing the network to make fast updates – avoiding the costs associated with contacting publishers, and the lost revenue waiting to implement new networks".
ads.txt Guru is an online tool (https://adstxt.guru) developed by ionix Limited (UK), a company with a long history of developing internet related software and services.