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Joseph Turow

Joseph Turow, called by the New York Times "probably the reigning academic expert on media fragmentation," is Robert Lewis Shayon Professor and Associate Dean for Graduate Studies at the Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania. He is the the author of Breaking Up America: Advertisers and the New Media World, among other books, and the editor of The Wired Homestead (MIT Press, 2003).

Titles by This Author

Marketing Discrimination in the Digital Age

We have all been to Web sites that welcome us by name, offering us discounts, deals, or special access to content. For the most part, it feels good to be wanted--to be valued as a customer. But if we thought about it, we might realize that we've paid for this special status by turning over personal information to a company's database. And we might wonder whether other customers get the same deals we get, or something even better. We might even feel stirrings of resentment toward customers more valued than we are. In Niche Envy, Joseph Turow examines the emergence of databases as marketing tools and the implications this may have for media, advertising, and society. If the new goal of marketing is to customize commercial announcements according to a buyer's preferences and spending history--or even by race, gender, and political opinions--what does this mean for the twentieth-century tradition of equal access to product information, and how does it affect civic life?Turow shows that these marketing techniques are not wholly new; they have roots in direct marketing and product placement, widely used decades ago and recently revived and reimagined by advertisers as part of "customer relationship management" (known popularly as CRM). He traces the transformation of marketing techniques online, on television, and in retail stores. And he describes public reaction against database marketing--pop-up blockers, spam filters, commercial-skipping video recorders, and other ad-evasion methods. Polls show that the public is nervous about giving up personal data. Meanwhile, companies try to persuade the most desirable customers to trust them with their information in return for benefits. Niche Envy tracks the marketing logic that got us to this uneasy impasse.

Titles by This Editor

An MIT Press Sourcebook on the Internet and the Family

The use of the internet in homes rivals the advent of the telephone, radio, or television in social significance. Daily use of the World Wide Web and e-mail is taken for granted in many families, and the computer-linked internet is becoming an integral part of the physical and audiovisual environment. The internet's features of personalization, interactivity, and information abundance raise profound new issues for parents and children.

Most researchers studying the impact of the internet on families begin with the assumption that the family is the central influence in preparing a child to live in society and that home is where that influence takes place. In The Wired Homestead, communication theorists and social scientists offer recent findings on the effects of the internet on the lives of the family unit and its members. The book examines historical precedents of parental concern over "new" media such as television. It then looks at specific issues surrounding parental oversight of internet use, such as rules about revealing personal information, time limits, and web site restrictions. It looks at the effects of the web on both domestic life and entire neighborhoods. The wealth of information offered and the formulation of emerging issues regarding parents and children lay the foundation for further research in this developing field. The contributors include Robert Kraut, Jorge Reina Schement, Ellen Seiter, Sherry Turkle, Ellen Wartella, and Barry Wellman.