Web Users Don’t Like Being Watched

According to MediaPost, Web users these days know that they are being watched, and they’re not happy about it. Truste, a nonprofit privacy organization, apparently has released a new study that examines consumer attitudes toward behavioral targeting and privacy. Here are some results quoted from the article:

– Nearly three out of four people, or 71%, said they realize that companies track their Web browsing activity for purposes of sending them targeted ads.

– 57% said they are not comfortable with the practice, even when their browsing history can’t be linked to their names.

– 72% of Web users also told researchers they find irrelevant ads “intrusive and annoying,” even though one of the key strategies for improving ad relevancy is behavioral targeting, which means tracking users so that they can receive relevant ads.

“The study has unearthed some basic contradictions,” said Dave Morgan, founder of behavioral targeting company Tacoda and a former ad executive at AOL, in the report. “The vast majority of consumers do not like irrelevant ads.”

Nonetheless, 55% percent said they would take an anonymous survey in order to limit ads to the products, services or brands they use, while 37% said they would be willing to provide personal contact information with a survey, the article said. This is only going to get worse as more cell phones implement browser cookies and include built-in GPS radios, incidentally.