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Poll finds Internet users prefer free content

In a recent survey carried out for the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), around 90% of those asked said they believed content on the Internet should be free.

Conducted by Zogby Analytics, the survey collected the opinions of 1,000 people living in the U.S. and proved that many people think free content is important to the value of the Internet overall.

The study also found that people value personalised advertising while they browse the web.

Of those included in the poll, around 90% said they considered free content to be ‘important’ to the Internet’s value, while 60% said they consider free content to be ‘extremely’ important.

There was a big difference revealed in the ‘free but advertised’ and ‘paid-for but ad-free’ debate; while fewer than one in ten said they would rather pay for content and avoid adverts altogether, more than three quarters of the respondents said they preferred content to be free but supported by ads. The content covered included entertainment features as well as blogs and news.

Similarly, around 70% of those polled said they preferred at least some of the adverts on their browser to fall in line with their interests, while 40% said they would like it if all of the ads they encountered were tailored to their interests. Conversely, just 16% said they preferred more generic advertising.

DAA managing director Lou Mastria said that, in a way, tailored offerings are at the core of Internet advertising, adding:

“The poll also demonstrates that Americans’ privacy concerns are rightly focused on real threats like malware and identity theft, and not on an industry that follows rigorous, enforceable guidelines for data collection and use.”

Whether or not the findings from across the pond reflect the UK public is yet to be seen. However, one thing is certain – free content plays a vital role in the traffic passing through a website, and the quality of that content will largely determine the number of repeat visits.

Richard has a First in English Literature and Creative Writing, and has experience writing fiction and short stories (which he has published both online and in magazines).

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