The other day, I was browsing two local newspaper sites in my city, theadvocate.com and nola.com. Out of curiosity I looked at their ads.txt files. WOW what a difference! Let’s take a quick look and try to understand the disparity.

Theadvocate.com’s ads.txt reads like a Chinese menu, listing every known and unknown traffic resellers on the same platforms. In contrast, the ads.txt file of nola.com, owned by Advance Internet along with many other sites, limits their traffic to select resellers without much duplication of platforms.

It’s obvious that sites with a weak monetization structure and/or lack of direct sales are prime for resellers to take over and destroy the programmatic value of an entity with potentially nefarious ones. I am sure someone at theadvocate has their reasons to work with 33 resellers of AppNexus, and I can slightly justify nola.com’s use seven AppNexus resellers (in spite of them maintaining a direct seat in the platform)—one for each of their SSP and/or native partners—yet neither really needs any resellers of AppNexus if they are using header or server side for bidding because they can have a direct seat on AppNexus with no middle man fees and clear the inventory themselves.

Yes, I typically write about the buy side, but being that we need supply for our buy side, I am always curious to watch how supply flows. So, if you own and operate a site, take a look today and ask yourself if all those partners are adding real value.