Filtering Social Media To Find Signal Out Of Noise

Yesterday's WSJ had an interesting piece about Alacra's new Pulse Pro offering. For those that don't know, I invested in Alacra in 1999 via Flatiron Partners and have been on its board ever since.

Alacra has been developing and selling information services to the banking, brokerage, accounting, and consulting businesses for almost 15 years. They use the web, sophisticated data aggregation, filtering, and packaging approaches to deliver powerful information products to the most demanding knowledge professionals in the world.

And so their take on social media is worth looking at. Their Pulse product starts with media available on the open web, from blogs to news articles, and then applies a set of filters to produce useful insights. As they explained to the WSJ:

Alacra's PulsePro tries to tackle the issue in several ways. First, it
only looks at blogs the company deems credible. The blogs are combined
with articles from traditional media companies for a total of about
3,000 sources. Rather than trying to codify all the text within each
source, it focuses on specific items such as quotes from well-reputed
Street analysts and C-level executives. Sentiment ratings are assigned
based on the language used.

What's interesting is this data set apparently is producing enough signal that wall street traders are using it to predict stock price movements. More from the WSJ:

Through backtesting, Alacra has found the ratings generated by its
product can lead movements in stock prices by about one to three weeks
for large-capitalization stocks. In turn, hedge funds and proprietary
traders are interested in the feed despite that it won't work anywhere
near the lightning-fast speeds they've been achieving for much of their
other computer-based trading.

Alacra Pulse is available as a feed for those who want to run it through proprietary algorithms. It's also available as web service for us mortals. And its available as a free 30 day trial for everyone. So check it out and see if you can use it to find signal from what we all know is a noisy world out there.