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The Little Text File That Could
It’s just a string of text. What can that do to an industry? Well, things seem to be moving at a rapid-ish pace now that people have had time to evaluate ADS.TXT and the implications it would have on their bottom lines.
Publishers particularly seem to be embracing the technology a lot quicker now that they’ve had some time to digest everything. Something like +44% of the top 1000 publishers on Alexa have already embraced the technology. That’s up drastically from a month ago when just 12.8% of publishers on the list had updated their web servers with that little snippet of text.
In fact, ADS.TXT is even getting a bit of a push from the buy side. Digitas published a letter telling the industry that they’ll no longer work with publishers who don't have an ADS.TXT file running on their sites.
Not everyone is seeing things through rose-colored glasses, though. Companies are already trying to manipulate their way into ADS.TXT files. I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t surprised. They were pretty quick in angling their way into the equation. In fact, they’re sending blind emails and calls to people hoping to get included:
"Technically, Ads.txt is very sound. But as with most types of fraud, social engineering is the weak link,” said Pooja Kapoor, head of global strategy, programmatic and ecosystem health at Google. “I am concerned that social engineering will hit some of the torso and tail [publishing] partners, and will cause some of the behavior we are trying to prevent."
It seems to me ADS.TXT is working just like it’s intended to already. Fraudsters are out. Publishers are regaining control of inventory. Legitimate agencies and marketers are using ADS.TXT files as a barometer of quality.
It’s amazing what a little snippet of text can do in a billion-dollar industry. The best solutions are often the simplest, indeed.