What are ads.txt and app-ads.txt?

Created by the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), ads.txt and app-ads.txt (Authorized Digital Sellers) are new projects intended to increase the transparency in the mobile advertising ecosystem.
The projects allow the publishers to declare who is authorized to sell their inventory in the both web and in-app environments. It also allows buyers to confidently purchase through approved seller accounts.

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app-ads.txt by IAB is officially released since March 2019!

You can read the document with the app-ads.txt - Final specification version 1.0.2 - on the following link:
Authorized Sellers for Apps

FAQ for ads.txt and app-ads.txt by IAB

How to add PubNative to app-ads.txt?

The process of implementing PubNative to app-ads.txt is extremely simple and straightforward:

  1. Create a .txt file that should be named app-ads.txt, or open an existing one if you already created it before.

  2. Add an entry for PubNative, which would be similar to the following information:

#Pubnative
pubnative.net, 1234567, DIRECT, d641df8625486a7b
pubnative.net, 1234567, RESELLER, d641df8625486a7b

IAB Field Name

Description

Example

Required?

Domain Name of the Advertising System

The domain name of the system to which bidders connect

pubnative.net

Yes

Seller Account ID

PubNative Publisher Account ID (Please ask your PubNative AM for the ID in case you don't know it)

1234567

Yes

The type of account/relationship

DIRECT and RESELLER:
Depending on whether the publisher directly controls the account in PN system, or they resell their ad space via another entity.

DIRECT

Yes

Certification Authority ID

An ID that uniquely identifies the
advertising system within a certification authority
(this ID maps to the entity listed in field #1).
The current certification authority is the Trustworthy
Accountability Group
(aka TAG), and the TAGID
would be included here

d641df8625486a7b

Optional
(But highly recommended!)

  1. Add other network entries; you should add to the list all the ad networks that are authorized to sell or resell your inventory, including all the info from the previous step.

  2. Provide the developer website URL in the app store of your application; it is mandatory to include the website URL in all the app stores that your application is available in.

  3. Post the app-ads.txt file to the root directory of your domain's server for the appropriate website; for example developers-website.com/app-ads.txt
    In case HTTP is used, request header must contain "Content-Type: text/plain".

  4. Update the app-ads.txt file every time there is a new seller or reseller added or removed from buying publisher's inventory.

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Where should the publishers post their app-ads.txt?

As per IAB specification, publishers should post their app-ads.txt file on their root domain and any subdomains as needed. That domain should also be posted as Developer Website on the Google Play Store / the App Store.

For example:

  • publisher's website is publisher.com
  • publisher should post that website under Developer Website in all app stores
  • crawlers will look for Developer Website information from app stores in order to locate the app-ads.txt
  • the location of the app-ads.txt should be under publisher.com/app-ads.txt , otherwise the crawlers might not locate it properly

Why implement app-ads.txt?

  • In case there is no file present, the assumption is that everyone is authorized to resell publisher's inventory.
  • By not implementing the file, media owners could become more susceptible to domain spoofing and unauthorized transactions. A lot of inventory is being sold fraudulently; by sellers falsely presenting it as inventory that it really isn't.
  • By using the file, buyers can confirm the authenticity of the inventory and be confident that they are buying genuine inventory.
  • It's future-proof: ads.txt is planned to be included as a standard field in OpenRTB 3.0