SXSW Interactive 2016

Massive Online Experiments: Practical Advice

Social media, content, and commerce sites continually experiment on their users to improve products and services. Yet occasionally these experiments backfire as seen in the Facebook emotional contagion study (2014) or Amazon’s alleged price discrimination experiments. This panel brings together experts from academia and industry to reflect on the lessons learned from both quiet successes and dramatic failures to offer you practical advice on how to design and conduct online experiments to improve your sites without upsetting your customers or gaining unwanted negative publicity.

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  1. How can I experiment on customers and site visitors without getting them upset? What are the lines to avoid crossing?
  2. What do we know about customer expectations related to pricing, information display, and consent that can guide online experimentation?
  3. How can online experiments provide useful findings that can be generally applied across my services or sites?



Joseph Konstan, Professor, Association for Computing Machinery

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