It sounds worse than it is, especially considering today’s hyper-sensitive privacy environment. This type of demographic data for sale made a decent chunk of change for the company and is only going to grow over time.
In its IPO filing Thursday, Twitter Inc. disclosed how much the microblogging platform earned from a lesser-known side business: $47.5 million came from selling off its data to a fast-growing group of companies that analyze the data for insights into news events and trends.
That is a small amount compared with the revenue generated from advertising, but 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 andâ€”potentially most profitablyâ€”hedge funds and other investors. Backed by millions of dollars in venture capital, hundreds of “social listening” firms have emerged.