The BBC is asking visitors to its international homepage and news websites how they would view advertising on the sites.
While the BBC is not planning to introduce advertising for its domestic sites, it believes it could use ads to fund content provided for foreign visitors who don’t pay the BBC licence fee, as they are effectively being subsidised by fee payers.
Around 100,000 people accessing the foreign sites from outside the UK will be asked to take part in the online survey.
The BBC is considering introducing banners and branded boxes to the foreign pages.
The BBC World TV station, commonly found in foreign hotel rooms, already carries ads.
The BBC’s commercial operations currently generate around £150m a year for its coffers. This includes the sale of DVDs and videos.