Amex to tap big data to expose fake reviews


Retailers to debate who owns data.

American Express is planning to join the large pool of transaction data it holds on customers with that of organisations like TripAdvisor to help legitimise customer reviews.

The move comes after the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission last year flagged fake reviews as a priority issue the watchdog wished to crack down on.

Speaking at the Cards & Payments conference being held in Melbourne today, American Express managing director Rachel Stocks said many customers reviews being published online were unsubstantiated.

“One of the things that we’re looking at doing with big data is the ability to join our big data up with these recommendations,” Stocks told the audience.

“We can actually give an extra recommendation to say that that person did actually stay there, so therefore that recommendations that is online is actually a true recommendation and not one that’s been fabricated.”

Stocks said American Express was already using big data to show card members where other cardholders were spending money, and to provide recommendations on that basis.

The company recently expanded its predictive analytics project to hep address customer churn.

Myer chief executive officer Bernie Brookes, who participated alongside Stocks in the panel discussion on the future of retail, said there was no shortage of data available to retailers.

“You have an enormous amount of transactional data and DNA of the customer,” Brookes said.

He added that Myer’s database of around five million Myer One cardholders held customers who contributed $2.2 billion of the group’s $3.2 billion in annual sales.

“So therefore we’ve got an enormous rich payment data (base) that we can effectively tap in to.

“When we send a mailout to our customers each week on email we send them 17 different versions depending on what they’ve purchased.”

Commonwealth Bank transaction banking solutions general manager Nick Aronson said the bank relied on big data every day.

“Just under one in every two payments in Australia touches the Commonwealth Bank.

“There’s an extraordinary amount of data in there that that we can derive insight into what customers are doing, how various groups of people are spending, what they’re spending their money on.”

However conference keynote speaker Wal-Mart assistant treasurer Mike Cook said a growing number of intermediaries were looking to tap into consumer data.

“Does a consumer want some of these intermediaries, whether it’s Google or PayPal, to know what prescription you bought or know what items you bought in the store?” Cook asked.

“That relationship is historically retained between the merchant and the consumers.”

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Amex to tap big data to expose fake reviews
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