Web surfers know full well their online tracks are being followed for advertising purposes, and they don’t like it, says TNS Global.
OK, we’ll buy that. Our understanding of Web privacy issues is that most surfers feel vaguely uneasy about tracking, cookies, etc — but not enough to do anything about it.
But according to TNS, Web users are acutely aware of that’s going, and are actively trying to evade prying marketers’ eyes. The survey says 57% of respondents said they’re uncomfortable with advertisers using their browsing history to serve ads. They’re supposedly quite up to date on ad jargon — 40% of them say they’re familiar with the industry jargon term “behavioural targeting”. And a literally astonishing 54% said they try to foil tracking by deleting their cookies at least twice a month.
If any of this is even close to true, it bodes ill for Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), Microsoft (MSFT) and the rest of the online ad business in the coming public policy fight over data collection. AOL has started its own series of online PSA’s complete with a cute cartoon “Mr. Penguin” to explain “tracking” to consumers. The next major fight is over a bill winding its way through the New York state legislature that would require online advertisers to allow consumers to opt out of tracking.
Bad as the TNS results are for online marketers, they’re actually an improvement over past studies. A recent poll in California found 85% believed sites shouldn’t be allowed to track their behaviour on the Web.
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