Twitter's Next Big Cash Cow: Your Data

Twitter’s purchase of Gnip, the largest provider of social data in the world, could spell disaster for companies founded on profiting from interpreting Twitter’s data, which until now has remained open-access. In an effort to monetize their platform, it’s likely that Twitter will begin charging companies for access moving forward.


Twitter just agreed to buy its long-time partner Gnip, a data company that anaylizes and sells Twitter data to a host of third parties companies. Gnip is the largest provider of social data in the world.

In its announcement, Twitter’s VP of Global Business Development and Platform Jana Messerschmidt writes:

Public Tweets can reveal a wide variety of insights — so much so that academic institutions, journalists, marketers, brands, politicians and developers regularly use aggregated Twitter data to spot trends, analyze sentiment, find breaking news, connect with customers and much more.

It is true that Twitter has become a powerful tool for social science researchers and journalists, but ultimately this move will help Twitter make its fire hose of data more palatable to Fortune 500 companies. The bottom line down the road is that Twitter needs to continue to find ways to monetize, and data about what we like, what shows we watch, where we are, how old we are, if we have dogs, what time we go to bed, etc. etc. is incredibly valuable to brands who want to target ads to us. They will pay handsomly for it. And now, they will pay Twitter directly.

Bringing Gnip into the fold and providing it access to Twitter’s back-end infrastructure will make the packaging of that data much easier. As Gnip CEO Chris Moody explained this morning, “Joining Twitter also provides us access to resources and infrastructure to scale to the next level and offer new products and solutions.”

Gnip was founded in 2008 and was Twitter’s first data partner. It is also partnered with other social sites like Tumblr, Foursquare, and Disqus. Neither company is disclosing how much Twitter is paying to buy Gnip.

Messerschmidt writes, “Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter. We will continue making our data available to Gnip’s growing customer base.”

WIRED reached out to representatives at Twitter and Gnip to find out if Gnip will still be providing analytics to its other social media clients — such as Tumblr and Disqus — once it is absorbed into the Twitter flock. They made no comment.

Read more from the source: WIRED

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