Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Big Data: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Big Data is important and can be incredible useful in finding insights, but be wary of those using big data the wrong way. The use of big data in loyalty programs can be incredible helpful to business such as casinos. On the flip side, big data can be used to harm someones image. Adam Tanner discusses this in his book What Stays in Vegas.

Old Vegas vs. New Vegas:

Casinos have always been customer service oriented but there is a new age upon us. Vegas leads the way in marriages, security cameras, and loyalty programs. The marriages are obvious, the cameras make sense for security, and the loyalty programs are changing the way customer service is oriented.

The new loyalty programs are featured in most casinos and feature loyalty cards for each guest. The customer use the card at restaurants, slot machines, table games, and shows. The card tracks the info the customer provides and enables floor managers to personally welcome and entertain each guest. The manager can then use his smart phone to go up to Mr. Smith and know an incredible amount of data from personal info to the amount he spends per visit to his favorite drink.

The manager can see in real time how much Mr. Smith is currently losing and he can go over and greet Mr. Smith and ask him how his family is back in his hometown and then can offer him free buffet tickets to compensate him for his losses. This makes Mr. Smith feel better and come back more often. This is an example of how big data is being used positively in Las Vegas.

The Dark Side:

The dark side of big data is not so prevalent, but it does exist and is something to consider. Busted Mugshots is a site that features mugshots of common people and forces them to pay for it to be removed. When googling a persons name, their mugshot would often come up first. Making people pay for their mugshots to be removed begs the questions is this legal? or is this blackmail?

Technically, it is legal, because the mugshots are public record and the site's argument is that they are doing a public service by bringing to light who has been arrested. It is highly unethical and dishonest, but it is legal.

My Ex-Girlfriend:

Another example of the bad side of big data are the ex-girlfriend sites. These sights feature incriminating pictures of ex-girlfriends or ex-boyfriends and forces the victim to pay for the pictures to be removed. This again, is not illegal but is unethical. These sites use big data to manipulate others and use negative photos of victims to make a profit. These sites are an instant checkmate and are nightmares for victims.

Cheer Up, Big Data is Good:

Big data isn't all bad and is overwhelmingly positive. Data sharing can be incredibly helpful in several industries. Airlines were first to adapt to it and casinos, and grocery stores have joined in. Overall, the good uses will continue to be successful and the bad uses will ultimately fail.

About the Author:

Ryan Polachi is a contributing writer concentrating his focus on Marketing, Finance and Innovation. He can be reached at

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