Google Improves Protections for Publishers from Fake Ad Inventory

Google introducing more controls and filters for publishers to make their decisions about the digital advertising inventory to appear alongside their contents.

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Number of urls posted ads.txt file globally as found by Google ads.txt crawler

To address publishers looking for tools to stop unsuitable (counterfeit, misrepresented, and fake) ad inventory from appearing alongside their content and diverting revenue, Google is working on multiple initiatives to help alleviate these issues.

Stoping counterfeit ad inventory sale

To this end, Google now fully support IAB Tech Lab’s “ads.txt” standard, as it increases transparency in the inventory supply chain, making it more difficult to sell counterfeit inventory or resell inventory without a publisher’s approval. Google notes, ads.txt adoption has been strong, and as of October 12, the ads.txt crawler has found 11,000 files. And, 252 out of 1000 comScore publishers have published ads.txt files.

See the graph above showing the number of urls that have posted an ads.txt file globally as found by ads.txt crawler.

Alongside, DoubleClick Bid Manager, that buys publisher’s inventory only from authorized sellers in its ads.txt file, when a file is available. Now, at the recent Partner Leadership Summit, the company announced three updates to support the “ads.txt” standard for its publisher ad platforms, including:

Now in the user interface, AdSense has begun displaying “ads.txt” alerts when the system identify errors in their ads.txt file.

And, DoubleClick for Publishers will now include an “ads.txt generator” and “validator,” so publishers can create initial ads.txt file, and or modify existing ads.txt files. The feature will become available by the end of October.

Also and most importantly, DoubleClick Ad Exchange and AdSense will begun to filter unauthorized inventory, as identified by a publisher’s ads.txt file from auction — by the end of year.

Also, to help DoubleClick publishers keeping unsuitable ads off of their sites, two new controls to enable them block sensational, tabloid-style ads and racy, suggestive ads from their sites are released. Also, some significant improvements are made to the automated creative classification filters.

Here you can see a mock-ups of a racy, suggestive ad and a sensationalist ad blocked by DoubleClick’s sensitive category controls:

Mock-up racy ad and ad blocked by DoubleClick senitive category controls