Poll: Most Americans oppose behaviorally targeted ads

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Washington, D.C.—Americans are overwhelmingly opposed to having their online history tracked by advertisers in order to deliver behaviorally targeted ads to them, according to a new poll by the Gallup Organization and USA Today.

The poll, which surveyed 1,019 U.S. adults December 10-12, found that 67% would prevent advertisers from being allowed to match ads based on websites they have visited. Respondents, by 61% to 35%, even objected to seeing behaviorally targeted ads if it meant they could see free Internet content in return.

Prompted by public sentiment and recent recommendations by the Federal Trade Commission, both Microsoft Corp. and Mozilla Corp. plan to add Do-Not-Track features to the upcoming versions of their Internet Explorer and Firefox browsers, respectively.

There was one bright spot for advertisers in the poll: 57% of those under the age of 34, and 49% of those making more than $75,000 annually, say they would allow advertisers of their choosing to target ads to them. The oldest and least affluent Americans are most likely to say they would prefer that no advertisers be allowed to target ads to them.

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