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Industry Highlights

Insights about state of transparency from 116 thousand websites we crawl

Number of Ads.txt lines per domain

Average number of ads.txt lines per domain

Number of Ads.txt lines per domain

277 is the average number of ads.txt lines per domain. The actual number is much higher, but we don't include duplicated or invalid lines. 86 of these lines (31%) claim to be Direct - meaning the Sellers behind these lines claim to be the domain owner. 86 is a very high number that indicates too many Direct lines and inventory misrepresented to buyers.

Number of Sellers per domain

Average number of sellers per domain

Number of Sellers per domain

If current ads.txt files were to represent the actual state of our industry, an average domain would be working with 50 different Sellers. 50 Sellers mean that every month the domain owner is receiving 50 separate checks from 50 companies.
The reality is very different. Most Publishers declare that they work with up to 30 Sellers.
So, where did all these Sellers come from? They probably creep in through unrecognized dormant lines.

Avg. Non Existing Seats per domain

Average number of non-existing seats per domain

Avg. Non Existing Seats per domain

Our industry is dynamic. Privacy regulation is changing, SSPs change their policies from time to time, Vendors rise and fall. Change is an integral part of the ad tech industry. Change is also the reason ads.txt files must be maintained regularly, which is not happening today.
73 out of 277 ads.txt lines contain non-existing seats = Seller id that does not exist in the SSPs'/Exchanges' sellers.json files. 26% of the lines are unnecessary and should be removed.

Number of Exchanges per domain

Average number of exchanges per domain

Number of Exchanges per domain

The IAB Tech Lab introduced sellers.json to increase trust in the supply chain. The initiative adds transparency to buyers by allowing them to verify the entities that are selling inventory.
An average domain sells its inventory through 51 Exchanges, but 25% of Exchanges' sellers.json files were not reachable in their registered domain/redirect.
Not all of the SSPs/Exchanges did that intentionally - some have their names miss-spelled, such as Spotex.tv instead of Spotx.tv, or Rubicon.com instead of Rubiconproject.com. Some changed their domain and forgot to redirect the URL, and some are blocking bots on their site and forgot to exclude their sellers.json file.

Avg. Intermediaries per domain

Average number of Intermediaries per domain

Avg. Intermediaries per domain

Like Exchanges, Intermediaries should also have a sellers.json file in place since they mediate inventory between the Publisher and the Exchange. In their sellers.json file, Sellers disclose the types of relationships they have with each Publisher to help Buyers construct a transparent view of the supply path. When Sellers do not maintain a sellers.json file, the lack of information contributes to a non-transparent supply chain. 33% of intermediaries don't have a valid sellers.json file.