Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Please stop referring to growth hacking scams as "data science"

I just bumped into an exposé by Data Science Renee of sleazy practices by DataScienceCentral to attract readers to their site. Apparently they create fake profiles of women and minorities and post articles under these profiles because it brings good traffic to their site.

The person behind DataScienceCentral is Vincent Granville. He obviously doesn't like Renee.

On Vincent's Linkedin page, I saw as key accomplishment of his regarding DataScienceCentral:
Delivered $2,500,000 in sales to one of our clients within a 12-month time period, providing a 1,000% return on their ad spend. All our large clients are consistently renewing and expanding their advertising programs with us, as we find new ways to bring new quality leads all the time. 
Leveraged state-of-the-art data science to grow internal revenue and profits by 500% in less than two years, while maintaining profit margins above 65%. Grew traffic and membership by 300% in two years. Introduced highly innovative, efficient, and scalable advertising products for our clients. Used proprietary growth science techniques to outperform competition.
And this language was so familiar and reminded me of the scam artists behind the Web Summit, Collission, Rise conferences (really same scam conference, cloned to different places). I wrote about them before here and here. They pretend to offer free venue to startups, pretend to filter and select you, and then try to squeeze thousands of dollars out of the people who can least afford it. Sleazy folks who also pretend to be data science geniuses:
It’s taken us 4 years to scale Web Summit from 400 attendees to 20,000 and a bunch of physicists have played a big part...
With each passing year an increasing number of people ask how has it grown so fast? When I share the answer it’s almost never what people expect, so here it is:
Our growth has been largely propelled by data science. Or more correctly, in my view, network science. While conference companies hire event managers, we hire physicists with PHDs in areas like complex systems and network analysis...
 If your growth hacking stands for spam, scam, sleaze - please don't run around talking about the physics and data science behind your remarkable growth.