Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Survey: Americans Don't Like Being Hunted Online by Marketers


A new survey that should surprise only the people behind the Beacon debacle shows that a majority of Americans of all ages don’t like being tracked online by advertisers.

In related stating-the-obvious news, Americans also find Jon and Kate Gosselin super-annoying.

Actually, the independent poll, titled “Americans Reject Tailored Advertising,” by a passel of academics at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley–which was first handed over to the New York Times and will be released today–comes at a very good time given all the focus on online privacy of late among lawmakers and regulators.

While advertisers have been trying to avoid a lot of stringent laws in this arena, it seems clear from the survey that most consumers–66 percent–don’t like being followed around and hate it more the more they know about said stalking by marketers.

Noted the report:

“It is hard to escape the conclusion that our survey is tapping into a deep concern by Americans that marketers’ tailoring of ads for them and various forms of tracking that informs those personalizations are wrong….Whatever the reasons, our findings suggest that if Americans could vote on behavioral targeting today, they would shut it down.”

Not that Americans actually know a lot about how online behavorial targeting works. Many surveyed had little knowledge of the tactics, but most did want a law that would give them the right to know what, say, the social networking minions of Facebook CEO and founder Mark Zuckerberg know about them.

In other words, consumers want transparency and control of their data, which–at the pace things are going–continues to spin out of their grasp.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google