Ads service not working correctly?

Can linking your Brave browser to Uphold prevent you from getting ads?

I noticed a weird thing several times after setting up new profiles on desktop devices. As long as the Brave browser wallet Reward is not synced to an Uphold account the ads are working fine (20-ish ads / 1 BAT per day) but as soon as the wallet is tied to Uphold it drops to barely 1 or 2 ads per week.
I checked all the related Brave Browser/Windows settings mentioned here in dozens of threads, multiple times checked, everything is OK. Brave and Windows are kept up-to-date, no VPN or firewall that might cause issues.
ping @steeven @Aa-ron

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HI @talgeeze, reading now.

Very interesting, what. Brave versions are you currently using? What country are you based in?

I decided to do a little testing on a Windows device. I went into Brave Profile files that was not showing any ads for days (located at %LOCALAPPDATA%\BraveSoftware\Brave-Browser\User Data\Default\ads_service) and poked inside the various files, especially client.json and catalog.json.
From what I gathered inside catalog.json are all the ads you’re suceptible to get and client.json records the ads you actually got. Here’s a small extract from catalog.json:

Summary
  • campaign start: 2020-05-07 / campaign end: 2020-11-03 / daily cap: 6 / geoTargets: FR [I’m from France so it makes sense]

    • Amazon
      • segments: untargeted, sports, fashing, health and fitness, food and drink
      • OSes: windows, macos, linux
      • per day: 3
      • total max: 36
    • Amazon
      • segments: technology & computing, untargeted, personal finance, cell phones, arts & entertainment, hobbies & interests, business, education
      • OSes: windows, macos, linux
      • per day: 2
      • total max: 36
    • Amazon
      • segments: home, hobbies & interests, untargeted, family & parenting, real estate, food & drink, architecture
      • OSes: linux, windows, macos
      • per day: 3
      • total max: 36
  • campaign start 2020-07-14 / campaign end 2020-11-03 / daily cap 4 / geoTarget: FR

    • Ledger
      • segments: technology & computing, family & parenting, cell phones, home, history, travel, business, personal finance, weather, health & fitness, law, education, fashion, sports, hobbies & interests, arts & entertainment, science, military, careers
      • OSes: macos, ios, android, linux, windows
      • per day: 4
      • total max: 12
    • Ledger
      • segments: untargeted
      • OSes: ios, windows, linux, android, macos
      • per day: 4
      • total max: 48

There are many more campaign in the file (NordVPN, Lenovo, ProtonVPN, ProtonMail, Nordpass, eToro, BAT Community Podcast) but all seem to have correct info.
Here’s an extract from client.json. I extracted timestamp and brand for each entry of adsShownHistory. At the same time on the other profile I have on the same Windows computer, I was getting around 2-4 ads per day while it was set to 5 par hour. I often use both profiles in parallel.

Then on 10/25 I backed all the files from the ads_service folders, deleted them and restarted Brave. I didn’t change any setting in Brave or Windows or anything else. Brave was on already v1.15.76 so it did not update with the restart.
It took around 10 minutes for ads to show up at a much more regular pace: over the following 6 hours I got 17 ads. Brave setting was on 5 ads per hour so it’s not exactly that average number but it was much closer. I’ve had to restart Brave and I haven’t got a single ad since.

I disabled Brave Rewards on all but I profile and updated Brave to v1.16.8, no effect.

Looks like things returned to normal starting 11/01. Already got as much estimated rewards in 10 days than I had for the entire months of August / September / October.
Internal logs don’t display the same values as the UI, I’ll keep watching until next payout.