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Twitter has just announced that it is buying social data harvester Gnip, but it hasn’t explained how it intends to make money on the back of the deal.

Neither has it explained how Gnip will sit with Twitter once the deal has closed, nor indeed, what is likely to happen in the future.

Maybe it’s a bit premature to be looking for answers to questions like those given that the deal was only announced this morning, but details about how this will unfold over the coming months are so scanty that you’d almost think Twitter doesn’t really know how it is going to incorporate Gnip into the fold. It hasn’t even disclosed how much it paid.

Why Buy Gnip?

That said, the two companies are a perfect match, especially given the fact that Gnip went into partnership with Twitter four years ago to harvest information from the 500 million tweets that are sent every day, then turn that information into data blocks that marketers and advertisers can use.

According to the Twitter blog post, the thinking behind the acquisition is to make its data more accessible. The post says:

As Twitter has grown into a platform that delivers more than 500 million Tweets per day, Gnip has played a crucial role in collecting and digesting our public data and delivering the most essential Tweets to partners.”

The obvious question here is why, if Gnip was providing this service to Twitter anyway, did Twitter need to buy it? The blog post, if it doesn’t answer it, certainly points to a possible answer.

We believe Gnip has only begun to scratch the surface. Together we plan to offer more sophisticated data sets and better data enrichments, so that even more developers and businesses big and small around the world can drive innovation using the unique content that is shared on Twitter.

Reading between the lines here, it is also possible to speculate that Gnip was only beginning to monetize the information it was gathering, but was also on the way to making it a lot more lucrative, something that Twitter, as the originator of the information, probably feels it should be benefitting from.