Google has reportedly struck a secret deal with Mastership to track offline shopping details of credit card users. Apparently, it paid millions of dollars to Mastercard to access nearly two billion cardholders’ data.
According to Bloomberg, this deal was finally brokered between the two companies after four years of negotiation. Neither Google nor Mastercard has made this announcement public.
The two billion Mastercard holders are also in the dark. They have no idea that the offline purchases they make in stores are being tracked by Google to check whether their buying habits are influenced by online ads.
Sources who are aware of the deal told Bloomberg that Google has developed a tool for advertisers that can tell whether people who clicked on their online ads, purchase the product later at a physical retail store.
This tracking begins with users who click on Google ads while being logged into their Google account. Next, the user browses a certain item and doesn’t purchase it. Later on, if the same user uses his/her Mastercard to buy that item from a retail store, Google sends a report to the advertiser to report the same.
This report helps the advertiser in measuring the effectiveness of its ads and generates a section for “offline revenue” which enlists all the retail sales.
In response, a Google spokeswoman gave a statement to Bloomberg, “Before we launched this beta product last year, we built a new, double-blind encryption technology that prevents both Google and our partners from viewing our respective users’ personally identifiable information.”
She claimed that Google does not have access to any personal info of the credit card holders and they do not share any of it with their ad partners. Meanwhile, users can opt out of online tracking by toggling off the “Web and App Activity” – which remains on by default.