App-Ads.Txt Released for Public Comment by IAB Tech Lab as Next Step to Fight Digital Advertising Inventory Fraud

NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The IAB Technology Laboratory today released app-ads.txt specification
in beta, the much-awaited app guidance that can increase the pool of
authorized digital advertising inventory while reducing fraud. Available
for public comment through February 4, 2019, app-ads.txt is an extension
of the original ads.txt standard that provides a mechanism for content
owners to declare who is authorized to sell their inventory. With demand
side platforms (DSPs), it allows buyers to confidently purchase through
approved seller accounts. App-ads.txt applies this ads.txt functionality
to ad transactions in mobile apps, as well as over-the-top (OTT) video
apps.

In addition, app-ads.txt can help identify and block instances of
unauthorized developer impersonation. The specification details how to
get an app developer’s website URL from the app listing page within an
app store, which should have minimal implementation burden for any app
store. Publishing authorizations in an app-ads.txt file on the
developer’s website will create a centralized online resource that the
developer independently controls. As a beta specification, this can be
implemented now and then app stores can also adopt a standardized way to
making this information available.

The IAB Tech Lab encourages adoption of this beta specification for
publishers and app stores, as minimal changes are expected. Not only is
this specification based on one already in use, it incorporates feedback
provided from proposed
mobile app-focused solution strategies released in July 2018
.

“The beta release of app-ads.txt addresses an important gap in
eradicating fraudulent inventory,” said Dennis Buchheim, Senior Vice
President and General Manager, IAB Tech Lab. “While it took longer than
expected to define a reliable, scalable approach to specifying file
locations for mobile apps, the solution will not only support ads.txt
but will also support other supply chain safety initiatives, such as
ads.cert.”

“Fraud lives in the shadows. When the industry works together to create
and adopt transparent systems for checks and balances, fraud via
counterfeiting is more difficult to pull off,” said Neal Richter, CTO,
Rakuten Marketing, and co-chair of the IAB Tech Lab’s OpenRTB Working
Group. “App-ads.txt is another step in the right direction to reduce
counterfeit app inventory and the reach of bad actors.”

“App-ads.txt is an essential step in eliminating the scourge of fraud
from the advertising industry,” said Ian Trider, Director, RTB Platform
Operations, Centro. “To help the IAB drive adoption, Centro will begin
enforcing the specification in Q1 2019, where our platform will bid only
on supply paths authorized by participating app publishers via
app-ads.txt.”

“Expanding ads.txt to mobile app inventory is a great move forward for
the industry,” said Per Bjorke, Senior Product Manager, Google Ad
Traffic Quality. “It promises to increase transparency in the apps
ecosystem, adds a new layer of protection for advertisers, and helps ad
dollars flow to the right developers.”

To review the new spec, go to https://iabtechlab.com/ads-txt.
Anyone interested can join the IAB Tech Lab OpenRTB Working Group to
engage with this initiative before the spec is out of beta. Any comments
or questions can be directed to openmedia@iabtechlab.com
and will be distributed to the working group for review.

About IAB Technology Laboratory

The IAB Technology Laboratory (Tech Lab) is a non-profit consortium that
develops and provides technical standards, software, and services to
drive the growth of an effective and sustainable global digital media
ecosystem that benefits consumers. Comprised of digital publishers, ad
technology firms, agencies, marketers, and other member companies, IAB
Tech Lab focuses on improving the digital advertising supply chain,
measurement, and consumer experiences, while promoting responsible use
of data. Its work includes the OpenRTB real-time bidding protocol,
ads.txt anti-fraud specification, Open Measurement SDK for viewability
and verification, VAST video specification, and DigiTrust identity
service. Board members include AppNexus, ExtremeReach, Google, GroupM,
Hearst Digital Media, Index Exchange, Integral Ad Science, LinkedIn,
MediaMath, Microsoft, Oath, Oracle’s Moat, Pandora, PubMatic, Quantcast,
Rakuten Marketing, Telaria, The Trade Desk, and Yahoo! Japan.
Established in 2014, the IAB Tech Lab is headquartered in New York City
with staff in San Francisco, Seattle, and London. Learn more at https://www.iabtechlab.com.

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