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CyberAtlas: Posted on November 10, 1999

      A majority of Internet users want information that is tailored to their needs and are willing to provide information about their preferences to receive personalized advertisements if they are given notice and choice, according to a survey by Privacy & American Business.

      The survey, which was conducted by Opinion Research and underwritten by a grant from DoubleClick, Inc., explored Internet users' willingness to provide individualized data or have it acquired from other sources in return for personalized messages when notice and "opt out" choice were provided.

      Of the Internet users surveyed, 61 percent are interested in receiving banner advertisements that are tailored to their personal preferences. More than half of Internet users (representing 47-63 million Americans) would agree to have information based on their offline and online transactions used to personalize banner ads to them when they are informed how their information would be used and are given the chance to opt out of uses they did not approve.

      Most Internet users who are interested in online personalization expect companies to follow privacy policies that ensure consumers notice and choice, the survey found.

      The survey tested Internet users' opinions of six information sources used for online personalization. In each case, a majority of Internet users found it acceptable for companies to use individualized information to present banner ads to them when given notice and choice.

  • 68 percent of users would provide personal information
  • 58 percent of respondents would agree to have their Web site visits used for personalization
  • 51 percent of users would agree to have their online purchase information used
  • 53 percent would be willing to have their offline purchase information from catalogs and stores used
  • 52 percent would agree to have their offline and online purchasing information combined
  • 53 percent of respondents say they would agree to the combination of personal information, Web site visits, and on/offline purchases

      "A key finding of this survey is that a majority of consumers are interested in receiving tailored advertising messages based on their online and offline transactions when they are provided notice and a choice to 'opt out'," said Kevin Ryan, President of DoubleClick, Inc.

      The survey's findings are based on the responses of 474 Internet users drawn from a representative national sample.

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