Digital Advertising Security: Introducing Buyers.json And DemandChain Object

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Digital Advertising Security: Introducing Buyers.json and DemandChain Object

While programmatic advertising brings a wide range of advantages over traditional promotion channels, this type of online technique is not perfect. Transparency has always been one of the hurdles affecting the whole programmatic advertising industry, and even though this area has dramatically improved over the last few years, there is still a lot of room for improvement.

At the same time, even though the seller side of the programmatic ecosystem has significantly enhanced transparency over the last decade, the buyer-side of the equation has not progressed at the same rate. Fortunately, specifications like Buyers.json and DemandChain Object have been developed to help close this gap while boosting transparency in the entire programmatic ecosystem at the same time.

At lemonads, we specialize in uniting top publishers with leading advertisers, so we know firsthand how a transparent environment can impact the performance of all stakeholders across the board. Below, we’ll go over the importance of having transparency on the demand side of programmatic advertising and define Buyers.json and DemandChain Object. We’ll also discuss how these two can help create a safer environment for all stakeholders, including consumers.

Why Do We Need Transparency Standards on the Demand Side?

Programmatic advertising stakeholders have always scrutinized the supply side of the equation in order to prevent fraud. The reality is that fraud can take a wide variety of shapes and it can be performed at any level of the programmatic advertising ecosystem, including the demand side.

If traffic providers and their intermediaries lack the ability to identify buyers, it’s virtually impossible for them to spot or moderate entities who are launching malvertising campaigns.

This means that fraudulent parties can take advantage of consumers and publishers, negatively impact user experience across the web, and potentially result in billions of lost dollars for the entire industry.

To put it in perspective, a report by the Interactive Advertising Bureau found that eradicating malvertising can reduce losses across the industry by 1.1 billion US dollars. Even though it may not be a magic cure-all, implementing standards that help improve transparency on the buyer’s side can greatly improve conditions and drastically reduce fraud across the entire vertical.

What Are Buyers.json and DemandChain Object?

The issue of transparency in the supply side of programmatic marketing has been well-documented in the past, culminating with the introduction of Seller.json and SupplyChain Object.

In simple terms, Seller.json and SupplyChain Object are two different coding standards that help buyers see details about the original traffic providers and all intermediaries that participate in each interaction.

Buyers.json and Demand Chain Object serve the exact same purpose, but for the demand side of the programmatic advertising equation. The Buyers.json coding standard provides information on who the final buyer is and all the nodes that a specific interaction goes through. Moreover, DemandChain Object helps suppliers identify all of the entities involved in the sale of an ad impression in real-time bidding (RTB) models.


Digital Advertising Security: Introducing Buyers.json and DemandChain Object

The Buyers.json standard allows ad platforms to share the identity of all buyers involved in the purchase of an ad. This is accessible through a public Buyers.json file, which should be placed in the root domain. Note that the file contains the term “json” because this stands for javascript object notation, which is a commonly used format in web coding.

The Buyers.json standard should be easy to read by both humans and bots, so you can review your own file manually once you’ve created it. Keep in mind that you can include a TAG-ID for users to identify themselves, plus you’ll also have to include your contact information in case a stakeholder has any questions about the Buyers.json file.

Let’s take a look at the different elements that should make up your Buyers.json file.

Buyer ID

The Buyer ID is a number that helps identify a unique entity while a bid is being placed by this stakeholder. Note that the Buyer ID is also included on the DemandChain Object standard, but it serves the same purpose from a practical perspective.

Buyer Type

As the name suggests, the Buyer Type defines in what category the media buyers fall under.

There are usually three options, which are Advertiser, Intermediary, or Both. Advertisers are the companies or organizations that are promoting products or services, so they technically pay for the inventory being purchased.

Intermediaries are networks, agencies, resellers, and other stakeholders who work as middlemen between buyers and sellers. When a buyer performs both direct advertising and intermediary interactions, then this entity falls into the Both category.


This is simply the real name of the company or organization purchasing the inventory. In theory, sellers can use this information to understand their clientele and make sure that they are only conducting business with parties they feel comfortable working with.


The domain section of the Buyers.json file should contain the business URL of the company, like “”.


There are many reasons why an ad platform or other stakeholders may want to use additional identifiers or leave a note about a specific buyer. The Comment section of the file can help clarify the identity of the buyer and offer additional information to help the seller feel more comfortable. For example, this can be used to tell sellers that a specific buyer has multiple accounts on the same ad platform.

Creation Date

The Creation Date part of the file should specify when the account was opened by the buyer. This is important because unethical campaigns and malvertiser accounts usually have a short lifespan because the fraudster moves onto a new platform or switches names. This means that the ad platform can actually use this information along with other variables to identify potential fraudsters.


The Confidentiality section within the Buyers.json file tells sellers whether a buyer wants to remain anonymous. While this is allowed within the Buyers.json file, it’s important to understand that publishers, networks, and other stakeholders can react as they see fit. For example, you can opt to avoid doing business with buyers who prefer to stay anonymous or give preference to partners that have revealed their identities.

DemandChain Object

DemandChain Object is a type of bid response for the OpenRTB protocol and its main goal is to share the identities of all stakeholders participating in an interaction. In other words, DemandChain Object helps track an ad purchase from the moment it’s sold to the moment it’s used by the buyer. This standard can help you trace the origin of a bid, the creative it’s associated with, and other elements that allow you to make better decisions.

Like the SupplyChain Object, DemandChain employs a network of nodes in order to represent every participant of an interaction. The original DemandChain Object is created by the initiator of a specific interaction, but this file must include the name of all known entities that will become part of the network for that purchase.

Remember, DemandChain Object also uses the Buyer ID identifier to help unveil the different stakeholders in an interaction. Moreover, the DemandChain Object file also includes:


ASI stands for advertising system identifier and it consists of the domain of the ad network, platform, or specific entity that’s replying to a bid request. Just as a general rule of thumb, this domain should be the same as where the Buyers.json file is located.


This means Buyer’s seat ID, which should theoretically be the same value found in the ORTB bid response. It’s also listed in the Buyers.json file and used by the DemandSide Object, so it’s a crucial variable that needs to be included.


Similar to the Buyers.json file, the DemandChain Object should have the name of the company or organization paying for the transaction. If it’s already in the Buyers.json file it doesn’t have to be included in this section of the DemandChain file. But, it should always be included if there is no ASI found for every node.


The domain in the DemandChain Object file is applied at the node level. In other words, a node doesn’t have to include the domain name if it’s already listed in the Buyers.json file under the BSID. Likewise, the domain has to be present if it’s not found in the BSID of the Buyers file.


Finally, the Complete section of the file indicates whether or not a DemandChain Object file contains information about all of the nodes found in a transaction. It’s an easy way to figure out if the information is all there without forcing a manual review.

Simply put, an ad network or DSP needs to make information about the entire chain available whenever it’s known. If this isn’t the case, remember that you can take action and implement conditions or limitations based on this signal.

Are Buyers.json and DemandChain Being Widely Adopted?

Despite the fact that they are not certificates or strict protocols, there is no denying that adopting Buyers.json and DemandChain Object can help create a more transparent ecosystem for all programmatic advertising stakeholders.

Moreover, many media buyers, networks, and intermediaries have started adopting these standards because they allow for the limitation of certain buyers. For example, if a bid request doesn’t meet the transparency requirements of a seller, then the traffic provider can choose what happens with the interaction.

Want to Implement Changes and Monetize Your Traffic? Contact lemonads and Our Team Will Be Glad to Help

Publishers are always trying to balance traffic monetization with elements that help create a great user experience. Buyer.json and DemandChain Object are distinct standards that can help create a safe environment while eradicating malvertising campaigns from the root, so we hope that the article above provides all the information you need to adopt these techniques.

To learn more about creating an engaging environment for your traffic and monetizing these users, contact lemonads today and our team will be glad to assist.

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