Ads.Txt Could Save Ad Tech—If It Wasn’t So Convoluted

Though IAB-driven initiative was created to increase transparency, experts say it's doing anything but

Ads.txt was introduced in 2017 as the IAB’s answer to cleaning up the snared programmatic supply chain of agencies, brands, publishers and vendors. Getty Images

Any internet user, regardless of ad-tech savvy, can use ads.txt to see which ad networks are keeping the lights on for publishers across the internet—and that includes some of the most controversial corners. Breitbart’s file, for example, reveals a slew of ad-tech companies (including a few industry bigwigs, like AppNexus) vying to emblazon themselves across the site, despite those same companies vehemently blacklisting these same publishers in the past.

The Business of Marketing

Don't miss The Business of Marketing, a new series featuring leading c-suite executives sharing insights on the importance of leveraging the intersectionality of marketing, finance, technology, HR and the boardroom to drive business growth. Tune in.

@swodinsky Shoshana Wodinsky is Adweek's platforms reporter, where she covers the financial and societal impacts of major social networks. She was previously a tech reporter for The Verge and NBC News.