Demographic Data Mining in Bars: Cool or Creepy?

Bill Weir, C. Michael Kim, David Miller, Justin Bare & Mark Monroy
This Could Be Big

There's no shortage of websites and apps to find a bar tailored to what you're looking for: sports, dancing, outdoor space, pool tables or brunch.

But the idea of looking for a bar based on who is actually there is new to us. It's an intriguing idea, even if it seems a bit invasive.

The company behind this new approach is called Bar & Club Stats, appropriately enough, and they sell ID scanners and software that both verifies your ID and collects your demographic data for the bar or club to collect. However, the company itself only takes four pieces of information from the customer: age, zip code, gender and time of arrival. The short term plan is to come out with an app that allows users to search for bars based on those four pieces of information. You'll be able to find bars based on how many people are there, how old they are, whether it's full of men or women and where these pail hail from.

What do you think? Do you like the idea of this "Yelp for people" or is it too invasive? It reminded us of the proposal to do something similar with plane travel, where you pick your seatmate based on profiles, viewed pre-flight.

So far around 20 bars in New York have licensed the technology. There's also one professional sports team that's utilizing it to get a better idea of who is actually visiting their luxury boxes. We can't say which team, but they're from one of the four major American sports leagues.

There's definitely something worrisome about so much of our lives being out in the public sphere, but is it a generational gap? Are the young more likely to accept, and embrace, this type of social data mining?