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The Internet is often hyped as a means to enhanced consumer power: a hypercustomized media world where individuals exercise unprecedented control over what they see and do. That is the scenario media guru Nicholas Negroponte predicted in the 1990s, with his hypothetical online newspaper The Daily Me—and it is one we experience now in daily ways. But, as media expert Joseph Turow shows, the customized media environment we inhabit today reflects diminished consumer power. Not only ads and discounts but even news and entertainment are being customized by newly powerful media agencies on the basis of data we don’t know they are collecting and individualized profiles we don’t know we have. Little is known about this new industry: how is this data being collected and analyzed? And how are our profiles created and used? How do you know if you have been identified as a “target” or “waste” or placed in one of the industry’s finer-grained marketing niches? Are you, for example, a Socially Liberal Organic Eater, a Diabetic Individual in the Household, or Single City Struggler? And, if so, how does that affect what you see and do online?
Drawing on groundbreaking research, including interviews with industry insiders, this important book shows how advertisers have come to wield such power over individuals and media outlets—and what can be done to stop it.
— Glenn C. Altschuler
— Doug Weaver
1 The Power Under the Hood 13
2 Clicks and Cookies 34
3 A New Advertising Food Chain 65
4 Targets or Waste 88
5 Their Masters' Voices 111
6 The Long Click 138
7 Beyond the "Creep" Factor 171
Posted December 20, 2012
You can read this book two ways, depending on your perspective: If you are a marketer or businessperson selling goods or services, you can marvel at the skill and genuine cleverness with which media buyers and associated digerati companies have mined Internet connections to get beneath the skin of today’s consumers. As a result, they are getting ever closer to the marketers’ Holy Grail – the ability to target advertising to the right individuals and avoid waste. After all, people like receiving relevant ads, special offers and discounts, don’t they? On the other hand – and this is the perspective of author Joseph Turow, professor of communications at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania – this style of marketing leads to discrimination: Marketers’ favored consumers get better offers. Most people have little understanding of the law and find corporate privacy policies opaque. Turow explains (perhaps sometimes with too great a density of detail and jargon) that the public has had no choice in these developments. What if, he asks sagely, atomized advertising to individuals leads to a greater fragmentation of society and – as a side effect – undermines the economics of mainstream media, which are vehicles for bringing society together? getAbstract recommends his meaty exposition of one of the great dilemmas facing the information society.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
Posted April 5, 2012
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