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Except many ads are not directly linkable to purchases. Coca Cola won't track you to a local grocery store and an ad for a musical won't track you when you buy the ticket a week later.

It depends. Your credit card company knows what you bought and when, while the ad network knows the phone number linked to the PC where the ad was shown. Join the two tables and we can track you to the grocery store.

Even if this were done (I don’t think that either of the involved companies would or could share this detail of data) you still have a problem. What about ads that don’t work?

I have put an ad on your site, it took up space for some time. The ad was bad and nobody bought anything even though a hundred thousand people saw it. The publisher is still owed money because they did their part.

Do they though? They do know where and how much, but the cashiers commonly put in an amount manually into the credit card device.

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