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Twitter's latest acquisition turns tweets into a commodity

Nicole Lee, @nicole
April 15, 2014
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Twitter announced today that it has bought Gnip, a social data company that has packaged and sold data from Twitter to other companies for the past four years. Gnip is one of a few firms that has access to Twitter's "fire hose" of data -- a history of tweets that date back to the company's beginnings in 2006 -- and is one of Twitter's longest-lasting data partners. Such data is tremendously valuable, as Twitter mentioned in a blog post regarding the acquisition:

These 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.

Bringing Gnip in-house therefore means that Twitter will now be selling its data directly to third-party outfits like advertisers and brand managers. This lets the microblogging firm provide "more sophisticated data sets" and "better data enrichments" to interested third-parties, which in turn could mean more targeted ads for you and I. It certainly falls in line with a recent report that Twitter is working on 15 new types of ads, most of which will likely be mobile, according to Twitter's VP of engineering and revenue at a VentureBeat Mobile Summit.

Right now, Twitter's relationships with other data resellers like Datasift and Topsy (which was purchased by Apple late last year) will continue, as will Gnip's analytics deal with other social media companies like Tumblr, Disqus and Facebook. However, due to the conflict of interests at play here, we don't expect many of these to last.

[Image credit: Getty Images]

In this article: advertising, gnip, twitter
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