The success of the ads.txt program will depend on several things. First, it will need to be adopted en masse by publishers. So far, so good. Uptake increased significantly at the beginning of 2018. More than 90,000 sites now use ads.txt, up from 3,500 in September, according to Pixalate. Among the top 1,000 sites that sell programmatic ads, 57 percent now have ads.txt files, compared to 16 percent in September, per Pixalate. In addition, roughly 60 percent of the top 1,000 publishers in the U.S. have uploaded ads.txt files to their sites, according to OpenX.
Conversely, advertisers must purchase only through exchanges, ad networks, sales houses or sales representative firms, and/or content syndicatorsthat have been whitelisted by their publisher or distributor partners.
Additionally, exchanges, ad networks, sales houses or sales representative firms, and/or content syndicators as well as publishers and distributorswill need to work on preventing data entry errors in the whitelisting process as it requires a large volume of information. One mistake could cost them a great deal of ad revenue and, currently, FirstImpression.io reports that 16 percent of publishers’ ads.txt files have errors.
Finally, transparency has always been an issue since many publishers don’t want to divulge their entire partner list (exchanges, networks, etc.). With ads.txt being implemented, publishers will either need to disclose all of their partners or run the risk of losing money to advertising fraud by keeping their vendor list secret.