Given the choice, most internet users would rather view ads than pay for web content, according to research by The US Direct Marketing Association.

The survey, of 1,000 adults, supports recent decisions by sites such as the New York Times to drop their subscriptions.  

Eighty-six percent of web users said they normally visited sites where the content was free and ad supported.

Just 10% said that the websites they used charged subscription or downloading fees.  

The survey also found:

  • For 81% of users, the internet has made their lives easier by giving them access to products and services, as well as music and video.
  • The majority (86%) are doing as much or more online shopping as they were two years ago.

A number of sites have decided to drop their subscription models recently, in order to attract more users to the site.

The New York Times recently made this choice, gambling that the increased ad revenues that will result from higher user numbers will be enough to offset the loss of income from subscribers.

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