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No More Firehose For You!

Posted on 4.14.2015

In a move reminiscent of the time Twitter cut off third-party app developers, the social network has decided to take back control of who has access its its real-time tweet data (known as the firehose).

The real-time firehose data was previously made available to three authorized third-party resellers including Gnip (which Twitter acquired last year), Datasift and NTT Data. Starting in August of this year (2015), however, Twitter will be transitioning all of its data customers to its own platform and customers will need to pay Twitter directly for access.

According to DataSift's Nick Halstead, the move won't negatively impact his company thanks to a recent deal with Facebook as well as the brand's focus on extending its reach into business-owned data) but it could damage the Twitter ecosystem. While Halstead seems confident, it's hard to see how Twitter's move won't cause an impact.

Datasift currently powers an ecosystem of 1,000 companies on its own using (in part) the Twitter firehose data, enterprises and marketing agencies who embed DataSift into commercial applications that they then resell. The “customers of our customers,” according to Halstead and Datasift, span into tens of thousands and "not only benefit those brands, but also the social networks themselves."

"Twitter also demonstrated that it doesn’t understand the basic rules of this market: social networks make money from engagement and advertising," said Halstead. "Revenue from data should be a secondary concern to distribution and it should occur only in a privacy-safe way. Better understanding of their audiences means more engagement and more ad spend from brands. More noise = less ad spend.

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