Smadex awarded the IAB Gold Standard

This article was originally posted on Headway.

Smadex has been awarded the certification of the IAB Gold Standard and successfully passed the review process. The IAB Gold Standard is a prestigious certification process created to reduce ad fraud, improve the digital advertising experience and increase brand safety.

Adtech companies committed to transparency and high standards of service register to be reviewed by IAB and measured against a substantial list of best practices and requirements. The criteria to be certified recently became even more stringent. This achievement comes on the heels of Smadex’s recent verification by the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Good Practice Principles by independent industry body ABC, and TAG registration.

As detailed in the IAB Gold Standard Executive Summary, by achieving certification Smadex has committed to:

1. Reduce ad fraud through the implementation of, or by demonstrating support for, the IAB Tech Lab’s ads.txt initiative. Ads.txt allows domain owners to list who is authorised to sell their inventory, preventing the selling of spoofed or fake inventory.

2. Increase brand safety by becoming certified signatories to the JICWEBS Digital Trading Standards Group (DTSG) Brand Safety Principles (for current non-signatories) or by continuing to have their policies and processes independently verified (for current signatories).

3. Improve the digital advertising experience for consumers by adhering to the IAB Tech Lab’s LEAN Principles and the standards set by the Coalition for Better Ads.

“We are proud to have achieved the IAB Gold Standard certification which reflects our commitment to support the IAB and the broader adtech industry in their initiatives to improve brand safety in digital advertising.

Smadex fully supports delivering the highest levels of brand safety and transparency and achieving the IAB Gold Standard builds on our previous milestones of implementing ads.txt, DTSG/JICWEBS (Digital Trading Standards Group/JICWEBS) and TAG (Trustworthy Accountability Group).

Our efforts to adopt all these current and future standards and initiatives together with other players in the industry will benefit everyone by addressing the major issues and moving towards a more trusted, transparent, measurable and accountable digital advertising ecosystem.”- Commented Paul Childs, CRO at Smadex by Headway.

Brand safety and ad fraud improvements using Ads.txt

Ads.txt was one of the key buzzwords in programmatic advertising last year. After slow adoption, take up accelerated during the second half of 2017 fuelled by support from Google and better understanding from publishers of the benefits to them. With scale, it enabled DSPs to start trading programmatically using Ads.txt only buys. The Ads.txt specification an IAB Tech Lab supported initiative.

What problem does Ads.txt solve?

Ads.txt stands for Authorised Digital Seller and it’s a simple way for publishers to publicly state the SSPs that are authorised to sell their ad inventory.

The problem Ads.txt solves is twofold: supply platforms offering access to publisher inventory that had not approved and domain spoofing: fake domains masquerading as publishers.

And Ads.txt is the solution; by providing transparency in the market place via public authorisation that an SSP is allowed to sell that publisher’s ad inventory.

What is the benefit to advertisers?

Ads.txt makes it harder for bad intermediaries to profit from unauthorised selling or domain spoofing because advertisers can now identify authorised digital sellers for a publisher, and bid only on legitimate impressions. In doing so, Ads.txt provides a layer of trust and confidence that advertiser’s are buying legitimate ad inventory. In doing so, Ads.txt can potentially open up more scale to advertisers who have brand safety concerns.

Ads.txt buys should increase the value of programmatic trading because of the benefits of brand safety and ad fraud; advertisers should see improved KPIs as a result.


What exactly is Ads.txt?

As the name suggests, Ads.txt is a file created by DSPs by crawling publisher websites. For every combination of publisher domain and SSP (for example,, Rubicon;, Teads;, SpotX), the crawler records whether the domain and SSP relationship is either “direct” or “reseller”. Where the publisher has not yet adopted ads.txt, it is flagged as “not verified”.

The file can be regularly updated by DSPs so that campaigns can access the most recent version of events.

Are there any limitations to campaign delivery?

Scale: While Ads.txt is gaining traction, there are still publishers that do not support it. For now, scale may limit some inventory options.

Ad fraud: Ads.txt alone does not solve the industry challenge of ad fraud. However, it does provide a solution whereby advertisers can be confident that their ads will appear on the sites they have selected.

Ad formats: Ads.txt does not specify every ad format that an authorized SSP is allowed to sell.

Using Ads.txt for campaigns

Smadex fully supports Ads.txt programmatic trading for mobile site buys. This is enabled at line level at zero additional cost from Smadex, unless advertisers specify otherwise.