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Twitter's Lucrative Data Mining Business - WSJ.com
October 6, 2013 | WSJ | By ELIZABETH DWOSKIN.

Twitter's Data Business Proves Lucrative
Twitter Disclosed It Earned $47.5 Million From Selling Off Information It Gathers

Twitter's data business has rippled across the economy. The site's constant stream of experiences, opinions and sentiments has spawned a vast commercial ecosystem, serving up putative insights to product developers, Hollywood studios, major retailers and—potentially most profitably—hedge funds and other investors....Social-data firms spot trends that it would take a long time for humans to see on their own. The United Nations is using algorithms derived from Twitter to pinpoint hot spots of social unrest. DirecTV DTV +0.99% uses Twitter data as an early-warning system to spot power outages based on customer complaints. Human-resources departments analyze the data to evaluate job candidates....While estimates of the market value of the social-data industry are hard to come by, one research firm, IDC, estimates that the entire "big data" market has grown seven times as quickly as the information technology sector as a whole. It may be valued at $16.9 billion in two years....Each social-data firm boasts proprietary dating-mining tools that go beyond basic keyword searches. Some can zoom in on a subset of people—say, women in a certain ZIP Code—and monitor phrases that show emotion. Then they can create a heat map or a sentiment score that measures how that subset feels about a topic. They have trained natural language processing algorithms to look at slang and broken grammar and to highlight tweets that indicate urgency because of words like "BREAKING."

"We don't just count the volume of these trends. That's naïve," says Nova Spivak, CEO of the Los Angeles-based firm Bottlenose. Rather, his firm looks at the momentum of trends....Many smaller analytics startups are now turning to four companies that Twitter has dubbed "certified data resellers." These brokers, Gnip, Data Sift, Topsy and the Japanese firm NTT Data, 9613.TO -2.04% account for the bulk of Twitter's data revenue. Last year, they paid Twitter monthly fees of about $35.6 million.

Twitter's exponential growth has meant its influence extends well beyond marketing and crisis PR. Nonprofits, human-resource managers and politicians have found Twitter data useful, too.
data  data_mining  Twitter  massive_data_sets  sentiment_analysis  social_media  social_data  trend_spotting  Gnip  Data_Sift  Topsy  NTT_Data  Bottlenose  NLP  hotspots  UN  human_resources  insights  Hollywood  hedge_funds  momentum  product_development 
october 2013 by jerryking
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