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.
In this summary, you will learn
- How the web lets marketers obtain unprecedented amounts of data about almost everyone,
- How this enables close targeting of ads to likely prospects,
- Whether the law protects consumers and
- Why the ad industry needs better privacy rules.
About the Author
Media expert Joseph Turow is a professor of communications and an associate dean for graduate studies at the Annenberg School at the University of Pennsylvania. His nine books include Niche Envy, Breaking Up America and Playing Doctor.