Research


For complete list of publications and presentations, download my CV.

Major Research Areas

  • Digital media and convergence
  • Communication technology
  • Political economy of media and communications, media industries, finance
  • Advertising and marketing
  • Public policy and law

Dissertation

The Revolution Will Be Commercialized: Finance, Public Policy, and the Construction of Internet Advertising

Abstract:

Advertising has rapidly become central to the experience and economic structure of the world wide web. Online media now represent the second largest category of advertising spending in the United States and historically recent developments in digital marketing are transforming media industry business models that have essentially remained static for decades. Focusing on public policy,  finance, and the marketing sector, my dissertation traces the growth of online advertising in the 1990s and presents a framework for understanding the economic and cultural implications of the web as a marketing platform.

I examine how media and advertising institutions, corporate marketers, public policy-makers and advocacy groups, and the financial sector worked together and in opposition to construct a technical and political infrastructure to support online advertising. In a dynamic environment characterized by media convergence, institutional crisis in the advertising industry, and a technology stock bubble, stakeholders such as the ad network DoubleClick, major marketer Proctor & Gamble, and the burgeoning venture capital sector appropriated key digital technologies and worked to influence public policy in order to steer the development of the web toward advertising-supported business models. This confluence of factors broadened the scale and scope of online advertising in a relatively short time frame, legitimizing the web as a marketing platform and altering its technological composition. It also set the stage for Google’s rise to dominate online advertising and spurred significant political economic changes in the business relations and operations of the marketing and media sectors at large. More broadly, the story of online advertising’s development provides insights into the interconnected roles of marketing, media, and finance within a global economic system that increasingly looks to information production as a site of expansion.

Here is a word cloud visualization of my dissertation’s introduction, weighted by frequency. It gives a quick and very rough idea of my points of empahsis.

Selected Publications

The cultural logic of search and the myth of disintermediation.

(2011). In C. McCarthy, H. Greenhalgh-Spencer, & R. Mejia (Eds.), New Times: Making Sense of Critical/Cultural Theory in a Digital Age. New York: Peter Lang.

The rise of private equity media ownership in the United States: A public interest perspective.

(2009). International Journal of Communication, 3, 208-239.

Re-imagining the Fourth Amendment: “The brains outside our skulls.”

(2009). Rocky Mountain Communication Review, 6, 75-78.

Selected Projects

Mind the (Economic) Gap

(2011-ongoing). A humble attempt to publicly track articles, data, and info-graphics that explain the history and implications of economic inequality in the US.

InfoStructure Research Group and Speaker Series

(2009-2010). The InfoStructure initiative was a grant-funded multidisciplinary effort to examine the broad social intersections of information technology and infrastructure.

Project Broadcast

(2009). Project BroadCAST produces information about wireless technologies for policy makers and the general public in order to promote equitable and efficient use of spectrum resources. I created this site and participated in the project.

Rhetorical Design Analysis of NYT Home Page

(2007). Visual and rhetorical analysis of the New York Times home page.

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