37 of 37 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
This review originally appeared as a blog post on "The Drift." The Author is Doug Weaver, Founder and CEO of Upstream Group and a 17 year veteran of digital advertising.
Listening to the insider discussions and industry reporting about online marketing provides a numbing sense of false comfort. But every so often, we go outside the bubble and hear civilians talking about what we do. I'm sure most of us have had someone at a party or family gathering share their `creeped out' moment; that instance where they finally saw clearly that somehow they were being `followed' online. Other times, they offer us largely unformed general concerns about online privacy: they don't really have a sense of what's going on but they instinctively know they don't like it. And once in a great while you'll hear from someone who's really done their homework and brings crystal clarity to the issue from the consumer point of view.
That moment came for me when I stumbled on an NPR radio interview with Joseph Turow, author of "The Daily You: How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth." After using up my ten minute commute, I found myself sitting my car in the parking lot of my office for another 30 minutes just listening to this guy. It was kind of like hearing someone talk about you in a bathroom when they don't know you're in one of the stalls. Except they're totally getting it right.
Turow, an associate dean at the Annenberg Communication school at Penn, has done a lot of homework. The book is detailed and rigorous, but also extremely accessible to the curious consumer. While it's probably not going to sell millions of copies, I believe it's going to be a hugely influential and important book for several reasons.
To my knowledge, it's the first crossover book that's attempted to explain in great detail our industry's use of data to the consumer. And while explaining it all to the consumer, Turow also explains it all to the business and consumer press. Perhaps for the first time, they will really understand the digital marketing ecosystem. And that understanding is almost certain to drive a lot more reporting. Expect a lot more stories like the Wall Street Journal's 2010 "What They Know" series, only better informed.
"The Daily You" is also clear eyed and inclusive. Turow is not a wild eyed privacy crusader tilting at windmills. A walk through his index and end notes is like thumbing through a digital marketing "who's who" -- you'll recognize a lot of names, companies and concepts right off the bat.
And finally, the book builds an intellectual bridge that's the link to a very powerful idea: that on some level this is not just a privacy issue, but a human rights issue. For Turow, the real issue is the digital caste system that's being imposed on consumers without their knowledge or consent. Over time, one consumer will enjoy better discounts and better access to quality brands and offers than his less fortunate counterpart. Perhaps more important are the ways in which these two consumers content experiences will diverge as a result of all the profiling that's been done. Like it or not, each of us is getting an online data version of an invisible credit score. Turow gets this and his readers will too.
For my money, "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.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Jeffrey A. Chester
- Published on Amazon.com
The author uncovers the vast system of surveillance and manipulation at the core of digital media today. Offering insights and analysis not found elsewhere, Turow details how the digital ad and marketing industry have developed new ways to track, analyze, profile and target citizens and consumers. Beyond explaining in accessible terms how marketers are able to micro-target individuals regardless of where they are (such as when we use mobile phones or our PCs), the book offers many profound insights. Turow describes how our personal "reputations" related to our identity are being constructed by others--all out of the control of the individual. Some of us are regarded, he explains, as "waste"--because our incomes or life conditions may not make some marketer the profit they desire. We are secretly being labeled by others with various digital "scarlet letters" symbolizing our worth to the commercial marketplace (and the political one as well). Rather than a technology of freedom and democracy, online advertisers are perfecting a system where we are treated less as human beings and more like digital chattel. Real-time automated ad exchanges--run by Google, Yahoo, etc)--auction off access to us in real-time (milliseconds) to the highest bidder--for ads promoting junk food, credit cards, medical conditions, and other products. The book illuminates how powerful databases off and online are now routinely used to create detailed dossiers about our behaviors, habits and concerns. The Daily You is more than a cautionary tale. It is essential reading for the digital era if we are to understand how ad agencies, online marketers, and social media giants are transforming the Internet into a place where democracy is being pushed aside by powerful special interest forces.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
Forget privacy: it has already been outed. Joseph Turow's central argument in "The Daily You," is that the concept of user-curated content envisioned by Nicolas Negroponte in "Being Digital" way back in the 90s has been flipped on its head. Increasingly, Turow argues, content is created for, and pushed to, you in support of your predilections and according to your commercial value to advertisers. In the foreseeable future, your very rights as a human being will be constrained by your media score.
So does that end the naive fantasy that anyone with a free-ranging intellect could use the Web to inquire about subjects of interest without the subtle infusion of advertising? Maybe. Maybe not. But most people apparently do not have the inclination or knowledge to employ tools and techniques to circumvent and, if they did, the advertising-supported model would be in jeopardy.
Turow first takes us on a trip though the history of the Web which, I think, should be required reading in every high school in the land. He cogently relates how the Web was unmoored from its noncommercial beginnings by visionary marketers who, after 20 years of unceasing research and innovation, have turned the Web experience for most people into a glitzy casino of intrusive billboards and, coincidentally, their computers into cesspools of cookie data and local storage. His observation that the firewall between editorial content and advertising is developing gaping holes and may soon be wholly breached is no surprise to anyone who has watched TV in recent years.
Turow's lengthy discussion about cookies and the emergence of data-driven advertising networks is informative but doesn't mention the techniques used by political campaigns, which now spend billions in online advertising.
He understandably neglects to suggest actions the reader can take to regain some measure of control over their web experience. These sorts of tools have very short shelf-lives and would render his book quickly obsolete. Too bad, because I'm sure many readers will be wondering how to escape.
"The Daily You" is well-written, thoroughly researched and worth your time if it falls within your scope of interests. I hope there is a sequel.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
- Published on Amazon.com
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.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
John T. OFarrell
- Published on Amazon.com
Why is it easy to lead sheep to the slaughterhouse? Two reasons: they are not intelligent creatures and they are ignorant of what awaits them inside.
While the direction the online advertising industry is going is no way a slaughterhouse we are being lead down a path with little to no knowledge of where we are going what is going on.
Fortunately we are intelligent humans, not sheep and ignorance on any subject, including what is happening with online advertising is a curable condition. The prescription: The Daily You, How the New Advertising Industry is Defining Your Identity and Your Worth by Joseph Turow.
Before I continue with this review I want to be clear that Joseph Turow, author and Professor of Communications at the Annenberg School, University of Pennsylvania is not an anti-business privacy zealot. In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR's Fresh Air he stated "I am not intrinsically against targeting. It is part of the world. The biggest problem we have is that we are clueless to how it works and we have no control over it. We don't know where the categories come from or the stories about us and no ability to control how the stories are used."
Joseph Turow's hypothesis is that the advertising industry is "turning individual profiles into individual evaluations" and placing us, increasingly as personally identified individuals, into "reputation silos". These reputation silos can have significant impact on individuals both in terms of what we all consider privacy (e.g. a business knowing about a medical condition we would not like to disclose) but also as how it can generate social discrimination in how we are treated by businesses (e.g. what airline seats would be made available to you) and greater society (e.g. how your neighbors perceive you) alike.
The Daily You sets out to "describe the brave new world that is the media-buying system, especially as it relates to the internet and emerging digital technologies." Turow does this effectively in plain language that is well documented and clearly noted. He presents facts on the past and present and only offers speculation on the future. Six of the seven chapters are dedicated to educating the reader, without prejudice, on the online advertising industry with the seventh and last chapter `Beyond the "Creep" Factor' dedicated to a discussion of policy and social issues related to online tracking.
In the closing chapter, `Beyond the "Creep" Factor', Turow does a good job of providing practical guidance for individuals, industry and government on how to address these issues. One area that is of great importance is his discussion of the merits, faults and fallacies of the industry's attempt at self-regulation.
One of the main fallacies that Turow debunks is that creep factor will become less creepy as "we get used to it" especially for current "young people" 18-24, who just don't have the same level of concern about online privacy as "older people".
This last point is a critical one. As Turow points out "at industry meetings one often hears internet practitioners claim that today's privacy claims are confined to an older generation. The rising generation, they predict, will not have anywhere near the worries about privacy that their elders had - so tracking and targeting activities will have more freedom." I have personally heard these claims from my colleagues and representatives of big data organizations. The digital advertising and marketing community is subjecting ourselves to "group think" and providing ourselves with what we want to hear, a de facto green light based on a myth; a myth that seems completely reasonable, not unlike the thought that the Earth was flat, a reasonable conclusion by only observing only what is visible to the naked eye.
You now may be asking why the "Or" part of this post's title with the "Hey, it's really not as bad as I thought it was, at least not yet." Going into this book my suspicion that the level of ethically questionable (yet legal) treatment of privacy and personal information would have been at a greater level than it is. There are still ethical marketers out there who use tracking in a benign manner but the future holds real risk for all of us. In reading this book and at least being better informed on the matter we could collectively mitigate that risk.
John O'Farrell is an interactive marketing expert in the metropolitan New York area. You can visit his blog: AllThingsInteractive.com