In a reminder that brand chatter doesn't just happen on Facebook and Twitter, one data middleman is bundling together the conversation stream from four of the web's most pervasive blog and commenting platforms.
Gnip -- the conduit to the so-called Twitter firehose – is getting into what you might call the packaged-data goods business. The firm already provides access to several digital data streams used by social analytics firms and marketers, but today will start offering a combined data set with content from Tumblr, WordPress and commenting platforms Disqus and IntenseDebate.
The four companies are already partners of Gnip (pronounced guh'nip), and their data feeds will still be available à la carte. But firms that want a combined view of what people are saying on blogs and in story comments will have access to a much larger pool of social data.
"It's really about bringing together a fuller view of the conversation that is happening specifically on blogs," said Gnip CEO Chris Moody, regarding the Gnip for Blogs service.
The company is one of a handful of API management firms -- essentially a liaison between social, mobile and digital platforms and the companies that want to mine data flowing through those systems. APIs, or application programming interfaces, allow developers to build tools for popular platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Apple. APIs can provide streams of data that can be queried to learn what people are doing on those platforms.
The data partners aren't getting any additional compensation as a result of the new service, said Mr. Moody, noting, "There's really no material difference with how the financials work."
Rather, the firm's publisher partners "want their data out there," he said. Monetizing the information "really is a secondary piece."
Companies such as Twitter and Foursquare -- another Gnip data partner -- have found that an increase in the number of tools and applications using their data tends to lead to an increase in users.
"Marketers are just now beginning to realize the untapped potential that lies in discussions about their brands not happening on Facebook or Twitter," said Steve Roy, VP of marketing at Disqus, which says three million sites use its commenting platform each month. "Now that you can mine virtually all online comments through Gnip, you have an entirely new and stronger signal of interest, attitudes and opinions from consumers."
Expect the demand for data to continue growing. Mr. Moody pointed to two trends in data demand. Location-based information will remain hot, he believes. "There's just an insatiable appetite for more geo information," he said.
In addition, there's a growing desire for global data. China, for example, has its own versions of popular U.S. services like Twitter, which generate their own massive streams of consumer information that marketers doing business in China want to tap.
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