(Recasts with analyst comment and background)
By Gerry Shih and Supantha Mukherjee
April 15 Twitter Inc said on Tuesday it
bought social data provider Gnip for an undisclosed amount,
signaling that it would take on a new role of packaging and
selling data, a service in demand by business and government.
The social media company said separately that it hired a
Google executive to lead its consumer product development,
filling a position that had been vacant since January.
Investors reacted positively to the news, sending Twitter
shares up more than 11 percent, the biggest gain since the day
it went public in November.
Twitter said in a blog post that the Gnip deal allowed it to
burrow more deeply into the 500 million tweets sent daily on its
network. The company previously allowed third-party firms such
as Gnip, Datasift and Dataminr to buy access to the tweets and
then re-sell that data to corporate clients.
"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," Twitter Vice
President Jana Messerschmidt said.
Twitter's success in creating a user base of 250 million has
spawned a vibrant industry of independent analytics outfits that
are now able to tip off traders about stock news, or inform
television producers about viewer sentiment, or alert government
agencies to disasters in remote locations.
Ryan Sarver, a former director of platform at Twitter and
now partner at Redpoint Ventures, said the tie-up could
immediately boost Twitter's revenue, since hundreds of clients
in finance, media and government are willing to pay for insights
from Twitter data.
"You essentially have this corpus of global consciousness
and at any moment you can tap into that," Sarver said. "There's
massive latent value in that tweet stream."
It remains unknown how the Gnip deal will affect Twitter's
relationship with other Twitter data providers.
Gnip, Founded in 2008, has a four-year-old partnership with
Twitter but also provides data for social media content on
Tumblr, WordPress, Reddit, Instagram, and Foursquare.
Twitter said separately Tuesday that it had hired Daniel
Graf, a Google executive managing the Google Maps app, to head
Twitter's consumer product team. Graf replaces Michael Sippey,
who left in January.
Twitter has been in the midst of a months-long effort to
refresh its core website and mobile apps, which have failed to
bring in large numbers of new users. Twitter said in February
that its user base grew by 4 percent, the lowest rate in years,
while timeline views also dropped dramatically.
The company has unveiled a number of cosmetic tweaks in
recent weeks in hopes of improving user growth. Earlier this
month, for instance, Twitter redesigned its user profile page to
resemble a more popular social media site: Facebook.
(Reporting by Gerry Shih in San Francisco and Supantha
Mukherjee in Bangalore; Editing by Kirti Pandey)