For most of us, when a Wal-Mart moves to town we shrug. But for others, the mere presence of the super retailer is cause enough for them to put the house up for sale, pack the kids and the dog and move away. Today Wal-Mart announced it is buying Kosmix, a type of social media analytics firm. That’s right, Wal-Mart is venturing into social media….
Kosmix is the developer of Tweetbeat Firsthand, a plug-in that scans the Internet for references to prominent people or organizations that have Twitter accounts and then provides readers of those pages with their latest tweets. The company is being acquired by Wal-Mart but, surprisingly to some social media tech aficionados, Tweetbeat Firsthand appears to be almost an afterthought – at least in terms of a social marketing application for the company.
Rather, Wal-mart is acquiring social media company Kosmix for its analytical expertise to be used in the newly-formed formed @WalmartLabs unit. It will be the bedrock of the company’s plan to integrate its bricks and mortar nd e-commerce operations. “We are expanding our capabilities in today’s rapidly growing social commerce environment,” said Eduardo Castro-Wright, Wal-Mart’s vice chairman. “Social networking and mobile applications are increasingly becoming a part of our customers’ day-to-day lives globally, influencing how they think about shopping, both online and in retail stores.