BOULDER - Altimeter Group industry analyst Susan Etlinger, who focuses on social-media analytics, said Twitter Inc.'s announcement Tuesday that it has acquired Boulder-based Gnip Inc. gives Gnip a solid opportunity and the financial backing to add more layers to its services.
But there are some risks involved. For one, Gnip's fortunes become even more tied to social-media giant Twitter than they already were.
"They were locked in before, but now they're really locked in," Etlinger said in a phone interview Tuesday.

Twitter and social-media data provider Gnip announced the acquisition on company blogs Tuesday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed and officials for neither company could be reached.
Gnip, founded in 2008, collects real-time data from social media like Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, and sells it to clients seeking insights on public sentiment and the ideas and opinions being conveyed on social media.
"We'll be able to support a broader set of use cases across a diverse set of users including brands, universities, agencies and developers big and small," Gnip chief executive Chris Moody wrote in a blog post. "Joining Twitter also provides access to resources and infrastructure to scale to the next level and offer new products and solutions."
Gnip began partnering with Twitter four years ago to help clients analyze data across public tweets.
Etlinger said Twitter has been hesitant to get into social-data distribution, using its certified partner program and companies like Gnip to be the conduit to organizations seeking the data. But publicly-traded Twitter also has an obligation to its stockholders to increase revenue and profit, and Etlinger said the data distribution is one avenue for doing that.

Twitter vice president of global business development and platform Jana Messerschmidt wrote in Twitter's announcement that her company believes 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," Messerschmidt wrote.

Twitter isn't the first to acquire a social data provider. Apple last year bought Topsy, which specialized in providing Twitter data.
Gnip plans to continue to collect data from a variety of social media. But Etlinger said the company could face some friction in that regard, though she stressed that remains to be seen.

One issue that could arise could be that if Gnip customers perceive Twitter data to be getting preference over other social media data they purchase from Gnip. Such a perception -whether founded or unfounded - could lead those customers to go elsewhere to purchase, say, Facebook or Instagram data. If such happened on a broad scale, it could lead to Gnip being specialized in just Twitter data rather than being a one-stop shop for clients.
"That's a risk," Etlinger said.

Neither Twitter's nor Gnip's blog posts gave any indication as to whether the acquisition would mean more or fewer jobs at Gnip locally. Early last year, Gnip received $45,000 in tax and fee rebates from the city of Boulder to help support the company's expansion of its headquarters at 1050 Walnut St.