Sellers.json Is Great, But It Could Be Better


Even if you haven’t followed the 2019 launch of the sellers.json spec, the thinking behind it should sound like a positive move forward. Together with the IAB’s ads.txt and OpenRTB SupplyChain object specs, sellers.json gives buyers new vision into the supply chain, disclosing all entities involved from the demand-side platform (DSP) all the way to the end publisher.

Specifically, sellers.json designates whether any entity in the chain is a direct seller of inventory (a “publisher”) or a reseller of inventory (an “intermediary”).

If you’re in or near ad tech, it’s easy to understand why that transparency is important. Sellers.json can assist with supply-path optimization (SPO), cutting questionable intermediaries to the most direct path for publisher inventory when 10-plus exchanges offer the same impression.

Like ads.txt, sellers.json is not a cure-all for the ailment at hand – at least not in its current form. We’re moving quickly toward transparency, but speed can leave some gaps. I’ve been hearing some grumbling from those in one of those gaps: ad management platforms and the small yet high-quality publishers for whom ad management platforms present the most viable means of monetization.