Monetization - 2 min read  - August 12, 2019

Appodeal Adds app-ads.txt to Strengthen Fraud Protection

The widespread adoption of ads.txt file across web platforms paved the way for app-ads.txt to finally enter the world of in-app mobile ads. This simple text file is quite easy to apply and quite effective in fighting fraud and spoofing.

Wait, what exactly is app-ads.txt?

App-ads.txt is a text file that provides a mechanism for publishers to openly declare their authorized digital sellers. Put forward by IAB, app-ads.txt is an extension of the original ads.txt standard that was used for the same purpose in web advertising. It helps ad networks and DSPs easily verify whether an ad network or exchange they are buying publishers’ traffic from is actually authorized to sell it.

The issue of frequent fraud forced the industry to come up with the tool that could deal with con artists selling inventory of premium brands they had nothing to do with. For example, advertisers would pay for space in The New York Times app and instead enrich fraudsters who would create fake inventory masked as a big brand. Unfortunately, this fraud scheme began affecting many apps that generated any decent revenue. 

Why was app-ads.txt developed?

The lack of transparency in programmatic advertising prompted ads.txt to be expanded to the mobile ad tech world where fraud has been a source of serious concern; however, this process took some time. The major issue was to identify the adequate link between the publisher-owned domain and the ads.txt file destination. Therefore, app stores became responsible for establishing the app and publisher’s ads.txt destination URL relationship. One of the first steps a publisher needs to take is to add developer website URL to their Google Play and App Store apps.

The app-ads.txt files are publicly available for buyers and sellers — ad exchanges, supply-side platforms (SSP), demand-side platforms (DSP) and third-party vendors.

When bidding occurs, DSPs verify which ad sources are authorized to sell that app’s inventory. After doing the check on the publisher’s site, DSPs will only consider and accept bid requests from ad sources listed on the app-ads.txt file, created and confirmed by the publisher.

Why Appodeal embraces app-ads.txt

Appodeal’s goal has always been to strive for transparency in the ad tech market and augmentation of trust. The more publishers and advertisers can have a direct communication and make their intentions clear to each other, the healthier and more trustworthy the ad tech market becomes. Moreover, this clearly results in more advantageous deals and mitigates the fraud risks. Adoption of app-ads.txt is a significant step forward for the industry. Appodeal encourages publishers to act confidently and start using app-ads.txt for their apps. 

If you want to start taking advantage of app-ads.txt, proceed to read about the steps here.

Main illustration – Natasha Dzhola

Ekaterina Kupidonova
Product Marketing/Content Manager

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