Tailored Content vs. Privacy

Do we care about privacy online?  Are we really interested in the tailored content that behavioral targeting is supposed to supply us with?  A recent study by professors from UC Berkeley and the University of Pennsylvania found that most Americans object to being tracked.  And the more that people know about how marketers are following their movements, the more they care object. They were also asked whether they would appreciate tailored news, to which 58% said that they would. The surprising statistic within the findings of this study was among people aged 18 – 24, the group mostly touted as one that could not care less whether they are tracked or not.  55% of them objected to tailored advertising. Of course, as other articles have pointed out, a lot depends on how the questions were asked.  The founder of Reliable SEO said, “It depends on how you frame the question. If you ask 10 people if they want to be tracked and have search engines know everything about them, they will say, ‘No’. But if you ask them ‘Would you like the Internet to get to know them better? Would you like the Internet to give you more relevant information? Would you like more targeted ads?’ You will get more people saying, ‘Yes.'” Tailored information has many positive applications, apart from advertising. But there are just as many possibilities for creepiness. One of the findings of the study was that “92 percent of those polled agree there should be a law that requires websites and advertising companies to delete all stored information about an individual, if requested to do so”.  This should send a strong message to legislators who are now looking into behavioral targeting and privacy issues. http://www.nytimes.com/2009/09/30/business/media/30adco.html?_r=2



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