You may notice periodic sessions in the web analytics data, people visiting the website, looking at a few pages, and leaving, never to return. Or returning frequently, always checking the same pages. These are usually discount seekers, and there’s a data science niche building around them. Price interception is one of the biggest trends in big data science that we’re not telling you about. What’s driving it? Discount seekers exist in any market, but this segment grows when consumer sentiment is low. And there a whole bunch of new technologies designed to cause people feel good about bargain hunting, contributing to the growth, and likely establishment, of the sector. Many are building up an information advantage against firms, and using[…]

We get these wonderful clues about people all the time. It’s easy to lose sight of the macroeconomic situation when you’re focused on the trees, or at least so many logs at the mill. Let’s take a look. You’re looking at consumer sentiment. It’s an index, where 1996 is set at 100. The gray bars are periods when the economy was in a technical recession. When this number is high, more consumers feel good about spending money. They feel like it’s a good time to buy a major household item. The think they’re more better off now than they were last year. They think the prospects for the next six months look good. They think things are looking up for[…]