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Consumers may be less paranoid about privacy when paying online, but that's no comfort to purveyors of small-ticket items that cost a buck or two. One-third of online buyers say lack of interesting content discourages them from making micropayments. Another 22 percent say it's not worth the effort.

These findings are from a nationally representative telephone survey of 1,100 Americans age 12 and older conducted by Ipsos-Insight, a New York City-based market research firm, and commissioned by Peppercoin, a micropayments transaction firm based in Waltham, Mass.

Over 4 in 10 Americans age 12 and older have made an online purchase in the past 12 months, the survey reveals. Of those, 6 percent or roughly 4 million Americans made an online micro purchase of less than $2. The top five products in that category were ring tones for cell phones, music, games, articles and personal ads.

Current micro purchasers tend to be male (65 percent), under the age of 25 (28 percent) and not married. Teenagers are the most likely age group to purchase content online with micropayments.

What's ahead? According to the survey, 15 percent or 30 million Americans age 12 and older say they are at least somewhat likely to make a micro purchase in the next 12 months. But more content has to be available before this market can take off.

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