'Do Not Track us,' say internet users

Posted by Kate Taylor

US internet users strongly favor a 'Do Not Track' mechanism, according to a Gallup poll - and the older they are, the more they approve.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has proposed the creation of a register allowing consumers to opt out of behevioral tracking techniques used by websites to target advertising.

And, says Gallup, it's a move US consumers would approve. In its poll, it found that two-thirds of internet users believe that advertisers should not be allowed to match ads to a user's specific interests based on which websites they've visited previously.

Over 60 percent said they believed that behavioural tracking wasn't justified by the fact that it helped keep costs doewn and allow users to visit websites for free.

This dislike of behavioral advertising was greatest amongst the over-55s - and also amongst the worst-off, with only a quarter of those earning $30,000 or less believing it was acceptable, compared with more than a third of those on $75,000 or more.

"One bright spot for advertisers is that when given the choice, at least a plurality of both young and affluent Americans say they would prefer to allow the advertisers of their choosing to target ads to them - rather than allow all or no advertisers to do so," says Gallup.
"Because young and affluent Internet users appear amenable to targeted advertising from the advertisers they specifically choose, advertisers may be best advised to consciously ask users if they are willing to get customized advertisements from them."

Doing so, it says, would limit ads to those users want to see, making it more likely that they'll pay some attention to the ads, and also making them less grumpy with advertisers.

"If the FTC moves forward with a 'Do Not Track' measure that is voluntary for advertisers, internet users' clear desire is for online advertisers to sign up-- and leave decisions about who can track them squarely in users' hands," it says.