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Open Source Crawler Released to Support Adoption of ads.txt

By Dr. Neal Richter and Jennifer Derke

Since announcing ads.txt to fight counterfeit inventory, we’ve received a number of comments, including from companies starting to build crawlers. To assist in accelerating the adoption of ads.txt, the IAB Tech Lab is releasing an open source implementation of a reference crawler written in python. The purpose of the crawler is to demonstrate how fetch, parse and store the ads.txt data from implementing publisher websites.

It’s expected that buy side systems, vendors and other implementers would re-code the crawler in their preferred implementation systems and this code would be used as a reference to kick start the process. Of course we also welcome code contributions to the crawler as well as it evolves.

The ads.txt spec is open for public comment until June 19th, and the release of this open source crawler is compatible with this current draft version. Early adoption of this technology is encouraged. A final version of the spec and the crawler will be available at the end of June.

Buy-side and other vendor implementers of ads.txt are also encouraged to join in-person workshops to learn about utilizing the data in ads.txt files and how this translates into new bidding strategies to buy inventory that is more likely to be authorized and legitimate. Tech Lab members are welcome to join the June 6th ads.txt implementers workshop event in San Francisco. Details for a New York City event the following week are coming soon.

Comments and feedback can be sent to

Additional ads.txt resources are available at


Jennifer Derke, Director of Product, Programmatic & Data, IAB Tech Lab

Neal Richter, Consulting Data Scientist, Hebbian Labs, and IAB Tech Lab OpenRTB Co-Chair