In today's fragmented, opt-in media world, Web users have developed specific sensitivities to advertising on the Internet—so much so that the same technology applied in different ways can represent both the most- and least-trusted forms of outreach. That's just one of the findings of a new study from Interpublic Group's Universal McCann to be released this week.

The study examines consumption of online media by "heavy" Internet users, defined as those who had accessed the Web at least 11 times in the previous seven days. The agency estimates that close to 100 million people, or about one-third of the country's population, now fit that description.

On the plus side, several kinds of ads were deemed "acceptable" by a majority of the respondents. Site sponsorships, banners, buttons and Google-sponsored search links were viewed favorably by more than 80% of those polled. But put those same banners, buttons and links in an e-mail and push them to consumers and the level of acceptance drops sharply, with just 48% of those polled in the survey viewing that form of marketing in a favorable light.

Not surprisingly, more subversive and invasive marketing techniques are viewed with disdain. Pop-ups are the least liked of all online forms of advertising, with only 12% of those surveyed saying they were acceptable. About 40% of respondents said they were "bothered" by seeded blogs (i.e., bloggers paid to endorse a product) while only 10% felt that corporate messages on blogs "can add value to my experience."


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