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Study: Internet Users Won’t Visit Free Sites if a Fee is Added


Post Date: November 5, 2013
By: Stephanie Miller

The more Internet users learn about the protections and choices available to them, the more comfortable they become with online interest-based advertising, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby Analytics on behalf of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA). Recognizing the value of Internet advertising, fewer than 5 percent of Americans said they’d continue to visit all of the ad-supported sites they currently frequent if those sites required them to pay.

More than half of all Americans polled in the study (51.3 percent) said they’d be more likely to click on an online ad that included an icon – like the Advertising Option icon provided by DAA – that allowed them to opt out of ad-related information collection.

Additionally, more than 73 percent of users polled said they’d feel more comfortable with interest-based ads if they knew they had access to the protections that the DAA currently provides (opt out, limitations on data collection, third-party enforcement), according to the survey, which polled 1004 U.S. adults.

Full results of the survey are available at http://www.aboutads.info/ZogbyDAAOct13PollResults.pdf .

“Once again we’re reminded that Americans want to control their own online experience, and they value tools – like the DAA program – that help them achieve that control in real time,” said DAA Managing Director Lou Mastria. “Americans expect ads to provide them with transparency and choice, and are more likely to do business with advertisers that provide it.”

The survey also found that users are committed to advertising-supported Internet content. By a ratio of five-to-one, users said their favorite Internet sites were supported by advertising (50 percent) rather than subscription fees (10 percent).

And users aren’t willing for that dynamic to change. More than 57 percent of respondents said they wouldn’t visit any of the free, ad-supported sites that they currently use if those sites converted to pay models. Fewer than 5 percent of Americans said they’d continue to visit all of the ad-supported sites they currently frequent if those sites required them to pay.

Other findings from the poll include:

  • 61 percent said Internet sites and services today are better than they were ten years ago (compared to less than 4 percent who said they were worse)
  • Less than 4 percent of respondents chose their Internet browser based on its privacy settings (and 43 percent said they didn’t choose their own Internet browser)
  • 55 percent of consumers are aware of at least some of the protections currently offered through industry self-regulation [Archived.]

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