Twitter, which previously sold access to its “firehose” — all of the tweets created on the platform in real time — only to a select few big tech companies like Google and Microsoft and some developers, is now moving to more fine-grained, metered pricing for anyone willing to pony up.
For this, Twitter is actually working through Gnip, a startup which provides an API to access social networking data, and is the only authorized reseller of Twitter’s data firehose. The two are creating a joint product called “Power Track”, which lets you access the firehose at 10 cents per thousand tweets.
This is a smart move. While Google and Microsoft are willing to pay a flat, fat fee to get all the firehose to plug it into their search engines, plenty of people like application developers and social media marketers want only a few tweets on a certain topic. This allows Twitter to respond to customer demand, broaden the market for its firehose and make more money, which is what it’s all about for the company in 2011. By working with Gnip, it also looks friendly to its developer ecosystem, which has been tricky for the company in the past.