Gnip Now Providing Access to Social Data from Sina Weibo

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Social data platform Gnip says its data is already being used by 90 percent of Fortune 500 companies to monitor social data from assorted services like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and many more. Today the Colorado-based company is announcing that it will be adding Chinese microblog Sina Weibo to that list.

This means that data from the Weibo API will be included in Gnip’s Enterprise Data Collector, and will feature things like URL expansion, format normalization, and duplicate exclusion.

I had a chance to speak with the company’s COO and president, Chris Moody, today via telephone. I was to curious to learn a little bit more about why Gnip wanted to expand to specifically to Sina Weibo. He explained:

The plan to bring this source of data to market now is really driven 100 percent by our customer base. Our customers are usually enterprise level providers who take our data, do the analysis and insights and then pass it on to brands… This particular source rose to the top of the list as being an in-demand source; a very specific brand ‘ask.’ And I think we don’t completely understand what’s driving that yet, but 30 percent of our client base is international, and even domestically many clients are representing international brands that are very interested in the worldwide conversation about their brand, and not just the US and European discussions.

I was curious about whether or not there was a language barrier to this kind of business, and Chris explained that there is. But thankfully for Gnip, it’s a problem that usually their clients who are requesting data about conversation in specific languages, and are prepared to handle those.

I also asked Chris how working with Sina Weibo metrics might differ from dealing with data from its western microblog cousin, Twitter:

Chris Moody, COO and president, Gnip

One thing we can definitely observe is that there’s a high volume of data, and our customers are certainly interested in high-volume data sets. Just the sheer volume makes it an intriguing source. What can you derive from this conversation aside from Twitter? Obviously it’s a very different audience so you’re hearing from a different segment of the population. It will be interesting to see what our customers derive from this.

Does Gnip plan to expand to more Chinese services in the future? While Chris couldn’t name specifics, he did note that Gnip “plans to have broader coverage in China.” He notes that there are different conversations taking place on different networks, and that the idea that one social network could cover the entire conversation is “not realistic.”

As we mentioned a couple of weeks back, there are over 1000 Sina Weibo enterprise accounts for overseas. That’s certainly one sign that companies want to engage in conversation with Chinese users. “The appetite for more and more diversity in terms of conversation is growing,” says Chris.

Big data is proving to be big business, and Gnip certainly looks to be capitalizing on that. Their clients are demanding more diverse conversation, and for them to be able to provide this will certainly help in finding insight into what China is saying online.

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