Take a look at this Google Business Channel YouTube video showcasing some of the academics who received funding and access to proprietary data for work designed to expand interactive marketing. [you may need to subscribe to the Business Channel.Â Look for 2010 WPP-Google Marketing Research Awards]Â Google and WPP have a “scholars” program designed to help these two online marketing giants and the field better data mine consumers.Â One project is even being used to undermine the need for consumer privacy policies.Â An academic in the video discusses the funding he received from Google/WPP for “Unpuzzling the Synergy of Display and Search Advertising: insights from Data Mining of Chinese Internet Users.” [Let’s discuss the human rights related issues later!]Â Profs. Avi Goldfarb and Catherine Tucker, whose work has been cited by the online ad lobby in their attempts to stave off consumer protection–and who filed their own Comment in the Commerce privacy proceeding suggesting that somehow protecting privacy could undermine the economic vitality of the industry–are also in the video.
Scholars who take industry money to support research and policies must, of course, always significantly acknowledge such a special interest funding relationship (to the press and policymakers, esp).Â There are serious conflicts of interests taking such funding, which should raise questions about the objectivity of the research.Â Academics should also recognize, and accept personal responsibility, that their research is likely being used to advance an agenda that often places consumers and citizens at a disadvantage and at risk. For example, Google has not played a serious proactive role protecting privacy online and addressing the consumer protection related issues accompanying much of digital marketing.Â Instead of scholars who act as public intellectuals, too often we have researchers who become political pawns used by the marketing and media industry lobby.
Here’s a list of the academics who took Google/WPP funds in 2010 to help these two online ad giants better understand “how online media influences consumer behavior, attitudes and decision making.expand the impact of online advertising.”
- Michael Smith and Rahul Telang, Carnegie Mellon: Channels and Conflict: Efficient Marketing Strategies for Internet Digital Distribution Channels.
- Chrysanthos Dellarocas, Boston University and William Rand, University of Maryland: Media, Aggregators and the Link Economy: An Analytical and Empirical Examination of the Future of Content.
- Anita Elberse, Harvard University and Kenneth Wilbur, Duke University: What Is The Right Mix Between Offline And Online Advertising? A Study Of The Entertainment Industry.
- Arun Sundararajan, NYU and Gal Oestreicher-Singer, Tel Aviv University: The Breadth Of Contagion Of The Oprah Effect: Measuring The Impact Of Offline Media Events On Online Sales.
- Yakov Bart, Miklos Sarvary, Andrew Stephen, INSEAD: Consumer Responses To Mobile Location-Based Advertising.
- V Kumar, Vikram Bhaskaran and Rohan Mirchandani, Georgia State University: Measuring the Total Value of a Customer through Own Purchases and Word of Mouth Referrals: A Field Study in India.
- Alan Montgomery and Kinshuk Jerath, Carnegie Mellon: Predicting Purchase Conversion From Keyword Search Using Associative Networks.
- Shawndra Hill, University of Pennsylvania and Anand Venkataraman, 33Across: Collective Inference For Social Network-Based Online Advertising.
- Anindya Ghose, NYU: Modeling The Dynamics Of Consumer Behavior In Mobile Advertising And Mobile Social Networks.
- Jane Raymond, Bangor University: The Importance Of Relevance: Cognitive Science Research On Distraction By Advertisement On The Internet.
- Koen Pauwels, Dartmouth, Oliver Rutz, Yale, Shuba Srinivasan, Boston University and Randolph Bucklin, UCLA: Are Audience-Based Online Metrics Leading Indicators Of Brand Performance?