Exclusive. Gnip is making it very clear it’s not just about Twitter anymore. The company, which provides aggregated API access to a variety of social media streams, has significantly expanded its partnership with Automattic, the company that runs WordPress.com. (See disclosure.)
Gnip is now the first company authorized to resell firehose access to the public data from WordPress.com, the comment platform IntenseDebate, and WordPress.org sites that have opted into the Jetpack plugin. Gnip has had a relationship with WordPress for some time, but this partnership will give Gnip a 70-percent increase in its coverage of blog posts and comments through the popular WordPress service, which now powers more than 60 million blogs worldwide.
Twitter brings news, but WordPress has analysis
The Boulder, Colo.-based Gnip is probably best known as the first company authorized to resell access to Twitter’s data firehose back in November 2010, but Gnip currently provides access to some 30 different sources including Facebook, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Vimeo, and others. In fact, today Gnip works with hundreds of customers, such as Radian6, that are collectively serving social media data to over 90 percent of the Fortune 500.
Also, the difference between Twitter data and WordPress data is significant for businesses, Gnip President and COO Chris Moody said in a recent interview. “News breaks on Twitter, but you’re not getting deep sentiment analysis with the data there. That comes with blogs, like what WordPress powers,” he said. “Twitter’s a great initial signal but WordPress blogs give you better sentiment. Companies tracking what’s going on in social media need the full picture.”
The expansion of the WordPress deal is just the first in many new partnership deals Gnip has on deck for 2012, as the company fields more demand for social media content. “We’re effectively doubling down with WordPress and bringing some new data to the market,” Moody said. “Twitter opening up its firehose to us has really had a domino effect in the world of publishers, and now other publishers have noted that it’s important for businesses to have access to this data.”
Competition at the Twitter firehose
There’s another big reason it makes sense for Gnip to expand its other content sources: It has competition on the Twitter front. DataSift, the only other company authorized to provide access to Twitter firehose data, launched in the U.S. in Nov. 2011. Not surprisingly, though, Moody maintains Gnip has not been “paying attention” to DataSift’s growth, as it’s been “so focused on our own business.”
The thing is, that line is actually somewhat believable in Gnip’s case, as the booming demand for social media data is keeping the company quite busy. It now has 33 people, more than triple its size from just a year ago, Moody said. Meanwhile, the company has not taken on outside funding since Nov. 2010; its total VC investment is around $6.5 million.
One thing is certain: Better access to more data is good for both brands and the social media companies that host the conversations about them. It’ll be exciting to see what else Gnip and other companies in the space have on deck for the months ahead.
Disclosure: Automattic, maker of WordPress.com, is backed by True Ventures, a venture capital firm that is an investor in the parent company of this blog, GigaOm. Om Malik, founder of GigaOm, is also a venture partner at True.