The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
University of Pennsylvania professor Turow analyzes the relationship between Internet media, advertising, and target demographics. His position on the digital age is generally positive, but the ethical and social implications of personal information being used by companies to determine who is a "target" and who is "waste" have him worried: "We have a serious social problem,." Turow (Niche Envy) says, refers refering to the results of this new media information gathering phenomenon as "social discrimination," since its effectiveness is based on valuating an individual's potential worth to a particular company or political campaign. Turow examines the psychological consequences of this surreptitious information gathering, and asks the crucial question: "hat, if anything, can you do about it?" While Turow's thesis intrigues and is both socially and politically relevant, at times his writinghe gets bogged down by facts and figures. Nevertheless, he has produced an important and insightful book. (Jan.)
Booklist

“Turow offers steps to offset the new rules of advertising that are secretly reshaping our world, including the need for teaching basic digital technologies to children…[The Daily You] is excellent.”—Booklist
Minneapolis Star-Tribune
An important and urgent reminder that in our excitement over the benefits of new technologies we run the risk of ceding influence over forces essential to protecting and promoting autonomous decisionmaking to an industry interested only in activating our buying impulses.—Glenn Altschuler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune

— Glenn C. Altschuler

Zocalo Public Square
The terror is in the details in this comprehensive study of the advertising world circa 2012—though the details seem subject to change with the technology.—Zócalo Public Square
Upstream Group
The Daily You should be a mandatory read for anyone in our industry.  It’s the beginning of an important new conversation about sustainable and inclusive data practices, a conversation that will form much quicker than many of us might imagine.—Doug Weaver, Founder and CEO, Upstream Group

— Doug Weaver

Choice

”This rigorous and detailed account of social profiling raises timely, thought-provoking issues and concerns.”—Choice 
Doug Weaver

“The Daily You should be a mandatory read for anyone in our industry.  It’s the beginning of an important new conversation about sustainable and inclusive data practices, a conversation that will form much quicker than many of us might imagine.”—Doug Weaver, Founder and CEO, Upstream Group
Minneapolis Star-Tribune - Glenn C. Altschuler

“An important and urgent reminder that in our excitement over the benefits of new technologies we run the risk of ceding influence over forces essential to protecting and promoting autonomous decisionmaking to an industry interested only in activating our buying impulses.”—Glenn Altschuler, Minneapolis Star-Tribune
Marc Rotenberg
"Joe Turow pulls back the curtain on the secretive practices that define the online experience for almost all Internet users. Informative, engaging, and often alarming, The Daily You should be the starting point for a national campaign to bring accountability and transparency to the world of online advertising."—Marc Rotenberg, Electronic Privacy Information Center and Georgetown University Law Center
Lee Rainie
“Joe Turow’s The Daily You is a gem of public-spirited scholarship and dogged reporting. It is full of startling insights about how deeply known we are to the people who are serving us personalized ads tied to personalized content based on the incredibly accurate, predictive profiles that are assembled about us from the digital and real-world details we reveal – often unwittingly – about ourselves. Turow is the best kind of trail guide for those who care about the widespread commercial, cultural, and political implications of these developments. Take heed.”—Lee Rainie, Director, Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project
Steve Smith

"As he has throughout his career studying media and its social impact, Turow gets us beyond the simplistic ‘digital privacy’ meme and opens a much richer theme: social profiling. Through the audience segmentation digital media seems hell bent on perfecting, we risk handing over to others something more precious than our personal ‘data.’ We may be giving people we don’t know—and certainly never elected—control over what information we get, what offers and access we receive, and what opportunities we and our families may or may not enjoy. Privacy? Small potatoes compared to the larger social issues Joe is highlighting here."—Steve Smith, Digital Media Editor at Media Industry Newsletter
Booklist - Mary Whaley

"Excellent, readable, and contains important information for a wide range of library patrons."—Mary Whaley, Booklist
Z�calo Public Square

“The terror is in the details in this comprehensive study of the advertising world circa 2012—though the details seem subject to change with the technology.”—Zócalo Public Square
Choice - S.M. Mohammed

"This rigorous and detailed account of social profiling raises timely, thought-provoking issues and concerns."—S.M. Mohammed, Choice
TrustE

“We chose Joe Turow . . . because we consider him a careful yet pioneering researcher whose insights should be carefully considered”—TrustE, on Turow’s 2013 designation as a Privacy Pioneer
Zócalo Public Square
“The terror is in the details in this comprehensive study of the advertising world circa 2012—though the details seem subject to change with the technology.”—Zócalo Public Square
Choice

”This rigorous and detailed account of social profiling raises timely, thought-provoking issues and concerns.”—Choice 
Kirkus Reviews
Turow (Communication/Univ. of Pennsylvania; Niche Envy: Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age, 2006, etc.) warns that today's advertising industry is secretly reshaping our world--and not for the better. Using the Internet, writes the author, marketers and media now peek, poke, analyze and tag us, gathering data for "one of history's most massive stealth efforts in social profiling." Turow shows that advertiser efforts to understand consumer buying impulses now involve many digital tracking tools as well as companies like BlueKai and Rapleaf, which follow people on and across websites to learn what they care about and who their friends are. Once collected, customer information analyzed so marketers can divide people into targets and waste, writes the author. Targets are desirable consumers; waste has no value. When companies "track people without their knowledge, sell their data without letting them know what they are doing or securing their permission, and then use the data to decide which of these people are targets or waste, we have a serious social problem." All these privacy-breaching and social-profiling activities are legal and unregulated, and all are becoming standard practice among media buyers in top advertising firms. As a result, the industry has information on the social backgrounds, locations, activities, and social relationships of hundreds of millions. Turow traces the history of advertising's evolving relationship with the Internet, debunks arguments that the consumer is king in the new media environment and says advertisers are segregating people and customizing content on the basis of assigned reputations. The practices persist despite the fact that 79 percent of respondents in a 2005 survey said they are nervous about websites having information about them. An eye-opener that will startle readers, the book offers grist for policy makers and others battling to preserve a shred of privacy in America.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780300165012
  • Publisher: Yale University Press
  • Publication date: 1/10/2012
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Turow is Robert Lewis Shayon Professor of Communication, Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania. He lives in Bala-Cynwyd, PA.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments ix

Introduction 1

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

Notes 201

Index 221

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 20, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Intriguing report that lifts the lid on the ad industry¿s secret data barrage

    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.

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    Posted April 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

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