In a previous blog, we introduced two new specifications recently released for public comment by the IAB: sellers.json and the OpenRTB SupplyChain Object. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at sellers.json and how it helps improve transparency across the ad tech ecosystem.
As a reminder, a sellers.json file is a public file every advertising platform, including SpotX, is responsible for hosting and managing that discloses all sellers and their corresponding unique ID for the advertising platform. The file allows advertisers to look up and validate the actual business or entity names behind the IDs they receive in bid requests.
What’s included in a sellers.json file?
There are seven fields that may be included in a sellers.json file. Only two of these fields are required, but the additional five fields provide additional context into the identity of the seller.
|seller_id||Required||This field includes the identifier associated with the seller or reseller account within the advertising system. This is the same ID that appears in an ads.txt file. For SpotX, this is the Publisher’s SpotX account ID and matches the publisher ID passed via OpenRTB requests|
|is_confidential||Optional||Indicates if the identity of the seller is confidential|
|directness||Required||Either DIRECT (media owner owns the site/app), RESELLER (does not own the site/app but is authorized to sell it), or BOTH|
|name||Optional||The name of the company that will be paid for the inventory that is transacted under the given seller_id|
|domain||Optional||The domain name of the company that will be paid for the inventory that is transacted under the given seller_id|
|comment||Optional||Any helpful description for this inventory. If a seller has multiple seller IDs, this field can be used to describe what this seller_id represents|
|ext||Optional||Placeholder for advertising-system specific extensions (ex. TAGID or DUNS number)|
How does sellers.json work in the real world?
Let’s use a fictional publisher, Good Publisher, as an example to show how DSPs can gain greater transparency into the true identity of a seller using the information provided in sellers.json.
GoodPublisher.com uses SpotX as their SSP and sells their inventory through SpotX. GoodPublisher.com’s seller ID in SpotX is 123456. When SpotX sends a request through to the DSP, the DSP is able to determine the following information to confirm ads.txt compliance:
- Advertising system domain: Spotx.tv
- Seller’s account ID for the advertising system: 123456
- Domain: Goodpublisher.com
However, this does not tell the DSP who Publisher ID 123456 is. Currently, they must rely on offline processes to figure that out.
By looking up a Sellers.json file as part of their bidding process, the DSP will reference https://www.spotx.tv/sellers.json and see the following seller object:
“name”: “Good Publisher”,
This information allows the DSP to determine that Publisher ID 123456 is actually Good Publisher’s direct inventory. After confirming this information, they will bid on the request.
In another example, let’s say the DSP is still buying goodpublisher.com. In this case, it’s sold through another advertising system:
- Advertising system domain: ssp1.com
- Seller’s account ID for the advertising system: 98765
- Domain: Goodpublisher.com
By looking at ssp1.com/sellers.json, they’ll now see:
“name”: “Arbitrage Network XYZ”,
In this case, the DSP or buyer may do a little research and find out they’re a small company that goodpublisher.com is not authorizing to sell in their inventory knowingly. As such, they may block goodpublisher.com when monetizing through Arbitrage Network XYZ but still buy goodpublisher.com when monetizing directly from Good Publisher.
As you can see, sellers.json is a great complement to ads.txt and further enhances transparency in the advertising supply chain. At SpotX, we plan to support this initiative by Q3 2019. If you’d like more information or have questions about sellers.json, please contact your SpotX Account Team.
This article was written by Courtney Touchstone, product marketing manager at SpotX