A "Do Not Track" measure, an idea recently floated by the Federal Trade Commission, has broad public support, a USA Today/Gallup poll found. Of those surveyed, 30 percent responded that advertisers should not be allowed to match ads to specific interests based on the Web sites they visited.
Only 35 percent responded that ad tracking was justified if the practice makes it possible to offer Web sites for free; 61 percent responded that free access was not worth the invasion of privacy.
The responses varied according to age, with 40 percent of younger respondents 18-34 agreeing that the invasion of privacy was worth free access.
The practice of behavioral ad targeting, a $1.1 billion business per eMarketer, is getting more notice among Internet users with 61 percent saying they have noticed that ads are targeted to them based on the Web sites they visited.
It's not all bad news for behavioral ad targeting. Given a choice, 47 percent of respondents said they would allow tracking from advertisers they choose with that number climbing to 57 percent for 18-34 year-olds.
The survey was based on telephone interviews with 1,019 persons 18 and older between Dec. 10 and 12.