The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s Tech Lab released a framework Friday to prevent a sophisticated form of ad fraud in apps that once wreaked havoc on the open web.
The framework, dubbed apps-ads.txt, prevents a type of fraud known as “domain spoofing,” in which bad actors sell phony ads they say are from, for example, the New York Times, to marketers. This sort of fraud was previously rampant on the open web; the Financial Times last year reported that dozens of exchanges were selling its video ads programmatically, despite the fact that it only sells such inventory through Google and TrustX. Business Insider, meanwhile, said one advertiser thought they had purchased $40,000 worth of ad inventory from the publisher through the open exchanges, when in reality the publication only saw $97, indicating the rest of the money went to fraud.
But some major obstacles remain to implementing the framework widely. The two major distributors of apps – Google and Apple – must get on board. While Google is likely to adopt apps-ads.txt – it’s one of the primary authors of the framework– it’s unclear whether Apple will be as eager to do so.