Twitter Sets a Price For Tweets

Last week at Strata, Gnip released a new set of features for its social-stream processing platform. Called Power Track, the new layer allows customers to set up complex search queries and receive a stream of all the Twitter messages that match the criteria. Unlike existing ways of filtering the firehose, there are no limits on how many keywords or results you can receive. However, the part of the offering with the most long-term significance is the pricing.

On top of the standard $2,000 a month to rent a Gnip collector, founder Jud Valeski told me it will cost 10 cents for every thousand Twitter messages delivered. Though the split of the revenue between the two companies wasn’t disclosed, he told me Twitter intends to standardize this price for any similar offerings in the future from other sellers of their data. This sounds like a big step in Twitter’s journey to find a sustainable business model.

Valeski told me that there were already 24 customers using the private beta version, some with monthly bills “in six figures,” so this is obviously an interesting revenue source. With tens of millions of tweets being delivered every day, there’s obviously some happy users too. I talked to Greg Greenstreet of CollectiveIntellect about why he was using the service and he told me:

The reason Power Track is so essential for us is that for clients that want *every* Tweet for a keyword, it supplies a comprehensive solution for us, rather than trying to work around the traditional Twitter search APIs that have restrictions on volume and content. We use Gnip for many other forms of data collection that power our semantic analytics engine, and they have been a solid provider for us for many years

Though it seems unlikely that marketing-data revenue will be enough on its own to sustain the business, it’s significant that Twitter has been able to set a value for every message on the service. At the very least, it gives them an income that increases as usage grows, providing a solid foundation as it tunes broader-based revenue models like advertising or sponsored trends.

Photo by Gisella Giardino

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