ADS.TXT is a very simple text file placed at the root of your website that tells advertisers which companies can sell advertising space on your website.
ADS is an acronym that stands for Authorized Digital Sellers.
It can be used by any advertiser but in practice today it is used by advertising networks like Google Adwords and Taboola to help their customers verify that the ads the are bidding to place on your site, really are going to your site.
In today’s world it is more than possible to have a third party scumbag setup a website and trick advertisers into thinking they are buying adverts on your legitimate site. An ADS.TXT file is a simple way to block ads from running on sites that are spoofing your site, which stops them from getting paid.
WHAT HAPPENS IF I DON’T HAVE AN ADS.TXT FILE?
Contrary to what many think based on poorly communicated messages from Google and others, not having a ADS.TXT file will:
- not result in a decrease in your Google or Bing page rank
- not result in fewer ads being shown on your site
- not result in any punishment from advertisers
At some point in the future ADS.TXT will likely be required on websites that use advertising networks but currently no-one is talking about that in the industry so we don’t expect it to happen for a few years.
WHAT HAPPENS IF THERE IS A MISTAKE IN MY ADS.TXT FILE?
If your ADS.TXT file does not contain one of the ad networks (like Adwords or Taboola) the company that is missed will not show adverts on your site. If you join a new ad network and do not add that company to your ADS.TXT file, that companies adverts will not be shown.
This initiative went live in October 2017 and by January was used by 35,000 web sites by January 2018. Mostly large websites will use an ADS.TXT and very few small sites uses ADS.TXT.
HOW TO BUILD AN ADS.TXT FILE?
Before you go trying to create an ADS.TXT file yourself, log into your ad. network (like Google Adwords) and see if they have one already built for you. If your website works with more than one advertising network, you just have to amalgamate the files into a single ADS.TXT
An ADS.TXT file is created using a basic text editor like Notepad and has four comma separated columns:
- The Advertisers Exchange,
- Your ID With that Exchange,
- The Business Model: DIRECT or RESELLER
- Certification ID – this entry is OPTIONAL
The URTech.ca ADS.TXT file for Google Adwords and Taboola, looks something like:
spotxchange.com, 7141, RESELLER
advertising.com, 86031, RESELLER
advertising.com, 35131, RESELLER
pubmatic.com, 15307, RESELLER, 5d62403b186f2ace
appnexus.com, 33164, RESELLER
Indexexchange.com, 1813756, RESELLER
contextweb.com, 56382, RESELLER
openx.com, 539393, RESELLER
tremorhub.com, z817wm, RESELLER, 1a4e959a1b50034a
rubiconproject.com, 161698, RESELLER, 0bfd66d529a55807
fyber.com, ad9de41d494354b23133f26f83122, RESELLER
fyber.com, 1a12a3f84fe560ccf95a3a73043abb, RESELLER
As you can see Google has just one entry, but Taboola adds about 15.