Social media networks provide a wealth of information ripe for the taking. So-called "social media monitoring" services like Trackur and Rapleaf analyze sites like Facebook, Twitter, Classmates.com, Match.com and Friendster.com and help companies track consumer opinions about brands and trends.
Andy Beal, the owner of Trackur, told the Pittsburg Post-Gazette that many companies--among them, credit lenders and debt collectors--are now using social media monitoring services to "match online profiles with real world identities."
The online Lending Club, for instance, scans loan applicants' social networking profiles in addition to performing the usual credit and income checks. What this means, the Post-Gazette reports, is that creditors are realizing how social media profiles can provide unique insights that a traditional credit history cannot.