Online Tracking Bugging Consumers
By Tom Ryan
a new survey, two-thirds of Americans object to online tracking and object
even more after being told exactly how they are being tracked. The survey
comes as lawmakers are increasingly looking into online tracking due
to privacy concerns.
according to The
New York Times, was
based on interviews with 1,000 adult internet users and came from the
University of Pennsylvania and the University of California, Berkeley.
The researchers said it represented the first independent, nationally
representative telephone survey on behavioral advertising.
the survey, 66 percent of respondents indicated that tailored ads in
general did not appeal to them. Then they were told how ads tracked them
at company websites, and followed them to other websites and offline
places like stores.
told, another seven percent beyond the initial 66 percent said it was “not
O.K.” to be tracked by a company’s website. Another 18 percent said it
O.K.” to be followed to other websites. And an additional 20 percent
were “not O.K.” with being tracked offline.
finding, according to the professors, was that 55 percent of respondents
from 18 to 24 objected to tailored online advertising.
think that the younger adults in the United States don’t care about this
stuff, and I would suggest that’s an exaggeration," Professor Joseph
Turow, lead author of the study and a professor at the University of
Pennsylvania, told the Times.
In other areas,
49 percent of respondents said tailored discounts were “O.K.” and 42
percent said customized news was fine.
also found that the respondents knew little about privacy laws regarding
there should be a law that gave people the right to know everything a
website knew about them, 69 percent said “Yes.” A whopping 92 percent
supported a hypothetical law requiring websites and advertising companies
to delete all information about an individual upon request.
suggested that the first step is to explain to consumers how they are
being targeted online.
“I don’t think
that behavioral targeting is something that we should eliminate, but
I do think that we’re at a cusp of a new era, and the kinds of information
that companies share and have today is nothing like we’ll see 10 years
from now,” Prof. Turow said.
To what degree will privacy concerns affect the potential to reach
consumers through online advertising? Should advertisers be clearer
in how they are tracking consumers? What type of tracking do you ultimately
expect will be accepted by consumers?