Social data provider Gnip has raised $2 million in funding, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, and announced this week that Twitter had tapped it as the first partner to resell data from users’ posts.
Boulder, Colo.-based Gnip was created to collect and then sell data to social media monitoring companies.
Under the terms of its deal with Twitter, Gnip will now offer those same companies three different types of Twitter data feeds: Halfhose, which is 50 percent of Tweets at a cost of $30,000 per month; Decahose, 10 percent of Tweets for $5,000 per month; and the Mentionhose, which is all mentions of a user including replies and retweets, or repostings of a user’s message, for $20,000 per month.
No company buying any of the feeds will be allowed to display the data publicly. But internal uses are endless, as the business world attempts to make sense of how much value social networks actually bring to a brand and how good they are at spreading the word about particular products or businesses.
Prior to its deal with Gnip, Twitter had only offered an option called Firehose, which was essentially a no-holds-barred full blast of all user messages, which it quickly licensed to search behemoths Google, Yahoo and Microsoft.
Twitter cofounder Evan Williams said in a panel at yesterday’s Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that the Firehose option quickly became more than the company could handle, prompting it to narrow in on one, smaller, more focused vendor to manage its data in a more orderly and specific way.
During that session, Williams was quick to point out this partnership was by “no means a monetization effort on par with the company’s Promoted products,” or an internal push to make the data available to the public at large.
Despite those assurance, said public responded by expressing concern that Twitter was making money off of their posts — hardly a surprise, given Twitter’s loudly discussed search for a business model and its publicized terms of service, but a dent to the image of a company that has billed itself as a “force for good.”
The search for how exactly Twitter makes companies, and their individual brands, money by leveraging its more than 50 million users worldwide, is one that has had most of the business world befuddled since the service launched.
Twitter itself also recently conducted its own internal analytics tests, which will help the microblogging service itself better help its corporate users understand how Twitter is working for them. The tests included breaking down which messages have gotten the best responses, which ones may have prompted users to stop following an account, and how well its Promoted Tweets — paid sponsor messages — have prompted response.