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Men Warier of Internet Cookies

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NEW YORK Men are much more likely than women to delete Internet-tracking cookies from their computers, according to a new survey.

Burst Media polled 10,000 Web users throughout its ad network of Web sites. It found that 48 percent of users said they deleted cookies from their computers. Nearly 13 percent more men reported clearing their cookies than women. Among men 25-54, 58 percent said they deleted cookies versus 42 percent of women.

Men were found to be more fearful that cookies track them online. While 48 percent of women said they deleted cookies because they slow their computer, 35 percent of men identified that as a reason. In contrast, 47 percent of men said they deleted cookies because they do not want their Web activity monitored versus 41 percent of women.

The poll found that privacy trumps security concerns when it comes to cookie deletion. About two-thirds of respondents said cookies allow someone to track their online activities, while just 30 percent said cookies provided a better Internet experience. Of those who deleted cookies, 61 percent did so monthly.

"Some of the more technical things, like frequency capping, [consumers] don't understand," said Chuck Moran, market research manager at Burlington, Mass.-based Burst. "There's a lack of knowledge where cookies may make it a more pleasant online experience."

Overall, the survey found cookie-deletion rates in line with surveys done by Jupiter Research and Nielsen//NetRatings, as well as empirical data from aQuantive and WebTrends. A little more than 38 percent told Burst they delete cookies monthly.

Burst found wide consumer ignorance of what cookies do, with only 22 percent saying they knew "a lot" and 28 percent replying they knew "some."

"There's an opportunity for the industry—I don't know how you do it—to educate people about the value of Internet cookies and what they do to make your Internet experience better," Moran said.