A funny thing happened last April: An hour or so before Twitter was supposed to report its quarterly earnings, the results unexpectedly leaked to the public—on Twitter itself, of all places. Since then, though, Twitter has made up with the company responsible for rooting out and broadcasting the earnings numbers early, even welcoming it into its exclusive club of firms with direct access to its data—a”firehose” of 500 million tweets per day.
Selerity, a startup that monitors breaking news and corporate press releases (like Twitter’s earnings) and delivers alerts to investors and traders, announced Tuesday that it now has access to the full tweet stream in real time. It plans to cull the most influential and credible Twitter (TWTR) accounts from the firehose, and incorporate potentially market-moving tweets into the notifications that it sends out to Selerity customers.
With its new Twitter-mining capabilities, Selerity joins a burgeoning industry of companies seeking to extract investable insights from social media, competing with companies like Dataminr. Even Bloomberg Terminals, the market data machines ubiquitous in the financial sector, recently began integrating tweets into its suite of investing tools. (For more on that subject, see Fortune’s recent magazine feature “How Investors Are Using Social Media to Make Money.“)
But what makes Selerity’s announcement unusual—and somewhat ironic—is the company’s seemingly contentious history with Twitter, which carefully selects the firms to which it will grant firehose access. After all, when Selerity tweeted out Twitter’s earnings results ahead of schedule last April, Twitter’s stock promptly plunged 20%, and observers accused Selerity of hacking Twitter’s investor relations site or distributing unauthorized information it had been leaked.
In reality, Selerity had done nothing malicious at all, but had simply dispatched its web-trawling bots to Twitter’s investor website in anticipation of the earnings release, detected it as soon as it was posted, and automatically tweeted the highlights. The company at fault for the incident was actually Nasdaq, whose investor relations service Shareholder.com had mistakenly uploaded the earnings release early to Twitter’s site, where it remained exposed for just 45 seconds.
Clearly, Selerity’s ability to find the earnings results in such a short window and tweet them out caught Twitter’s attention—and it may have even been impressed.
Twitter declined to comment, citing its policy not to discuss its relationships with customers.