Buyers.json and DemandChain make it easier to identify all buyers involved in a programmatic ad auction and trace ad creatives back to their origin. The two IAB Tech Lab specifications offer mechanisms that, when used in tandem, can increase the visibility into all of the entities buying an ad impression and help combat malvertising.
Why do we need more buy-side transparency?
In the specification documents, the IAB Tech Lab position the prevention of malvertising as the primary need for more buy-side transparency.
Malicious advertising or malvertising can introduce dangerous programs onto a device for nefarious purposes. These programs can include ransomware, spyware, or even bots designed to generate fake ad impressions. These malvertising programs often operate surreptitiously unbeknownst to the end-user.
Malvertising can propagate through the ad tech ecosystem through ads created to represent legitimate brands to trick users into interacting with a creative.
Bad actors introduce malvertising ads by posing as legitimate companies on DSPs or any ad-buying platform. The point of buyers.json and DemandChain is to make it easier for ad platforms and publishers to trace ads back to their provenance and identify who introduced a bad creative into the bid stream.
Malvertising is a pernicious threat solved by buyers.json and DemandChain, but the specifications can also help in other ways. Companies can also trace any low-quality ads or identify inefficiencies created through reseller relationships.