An Atlanta company that uses social media to help businesses track what consumers think about products has purchased a firm founded by a Georgia Institute of Technology professor.

Sentiment360, a spinoff of Rivereo Technologies Ltd., which is headquartered in Belfast, Northern Ireland, opened its headquarters in Atlanta last year, assisted by the Gaffey Group, an Atlanta-based consulting firm.

Sentiment360 this week announced that it has purchased Enkia Corp., founded in 1998 by Ashwin Ram, director of Georgia Tech’s Cognitive Computing Laboratory. Enkia’s clients have included General Electric Co., General Motors Co., Cox Enterprises Inc. and the U.S. Air Force, according to a news release.

The purchase price was not disclosed. Dr. Ram is now a board member of Sentiment360.

Sentiment360 analysts search thousands of websites and blogs, hoping to spot trends, positive or negative, about products. A sudden spike in user comments can indicate trouble ahead or that a product is poised to take off in the marketplace. Information about this online conversation can help a company shape its advertising campaign and react publicly to counteract negative consumer attitudes.

New “text-mining” technology from the acquisition of Enkia will further enhance the company’s social media search capabilities, company officials said.

“There is a huge amount of conversation out there about products, about companies, about brands,” Dr. Ram told GlobalAtlanta. “It’s very hard for a brand manager, a company manager to get a sense of what consumers are saying. But the information is all out there already if you know how to mine it.”

The acquisition of Enkia will allow Sentiment360 to offer clients a software tool for their computers to extract detailed summaries of consumer attitudes, Gary Cooper, Sentiment360’s founder and CEO, told GlobalAtlanta.

“The real focus will be on giving power to the clients,” said Mr. Cooper. Customers can also request much more complex reports from Sentiment 360 analysts, he added.

For more information on Sentiment360, click here.

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