Off Target

Friday, October 16, 2009


Ever feel like online advertisers know you a little too well? If so, you're not alone. UPenn Professor Joseph Turow, lead author of a new study on behavioral advertising, says that two-thirds of people object to targeted ads and the online tracking that marketers do to produce them.

Comments [2]

Cheryl Olson from Minneapolis, MN

I never thought I would mind some profiling, but since I started a facebook account I have been dismayed by the ads that appear on my page. I receive diabetes supply ads, incontenent supplies and cemetery ads, as well as other ads targeted at the elderly disabled. I am 55 and healthy. My daughter's facebook page is full of ads that actually interest me, but mine makes me feel like I have one foot in the grave. How can this be? I am about to abandon facebook, it is depressing! I have begun to click on the button that allows me to tell them the ads are irrelevant, but that hasn't really improved the quality of the ads at all.

Oct. 18 2009 04:38 PM
JT from NYC

I'm a little distressed about Professor Turow's comments.

Telling people not involved in the media community that - basically - they are being "big-brothered" only fans the fire of the industry as a whole (not pirates who are trying to do exactly as described) and that their every - personal - move is being followed.

I've been in media for 30 years - the Internet for the past 9 - attend many conferences, and am very involved.

The main thing on everyone's tongue is the privacy issue and the desire to have information be aggregated and "anonymous".

Let’s face it – I bet an even greater % of the public would have responded that they don’t want commercials at all. Wouldn't it be interesting to know if those were also the same 66% not wanting commercials tailored to them?

Finally - all media depends on demographic and psychographic research; Prof. Turow knows that.

Does the public think - i.e., housewives - that the Swiffer ad they just saw "happened" to appear in the TV show just viewed? Perhaps they're not aware that media is bought based on research which presents a profile which best fits the TV (radio, etc) show which matches their demographic.

I appreciate his acknowledging supermarkets probably have a more detailed report of product consumption. It's true. Amongst other things, it enables them to know when to re-order products.

People are concerned about the media knowing "which" 60 Minutes episode they watch?

For what purpose? Sorry, but I don't recall him addressing the reason for that. Maybe I missed it.

Looking forward to reading the transcript.

How about a study addressing the reality that copyright laws have not kept up with technology. Poachers take content illegally and the laws put the onus is on content providers to "prove" that the content belongs to them. Now THIS is frustrating. What's the purpose of having content copyrighted?


Oct. 18 2009 11:19 AM

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