RIT Finds Consumers Queasy About Online Tracking

A study by the Rochester Institute of Technology finds a majority of Americans don't wish to have online ads personalized to them, especially if that personalization comes about as a result of websites tracking their movements:

"The desire by a majority of Americans not to be followed for the purpose of tailored content comes at a time when behavioral targeting is a fast-growing advertising practice upon which many content providers have staked their businesses ... Americans’ widespread rejection of relevant tailored advertising is particularly startling because it flies in the face of marketers’ consistent contention that Americans desire for relevant commercial messages justifies a variety of tracking activities. When three contemporary forms of behavioral tracking are highlighted, rejection of tailored ads is even more widespread. The finding applies across all age groups, including young adults, a cohort that media executives have insisted cares little about information privacy."

Are marketers and advertisers going to far with online behavior tracking, or will consumers eventually give in to the inevitability of such tracking if what they get in return is better "service" from advertisers?


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