The Official Klout Blog

The Vision Behind Klout

November 15th, 2011 by Joe Fernandez
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There has been a lot of conversation recently about Klout. As the CEO and Cofounder of Klout, I want to share my perspective publicly with you.

I get why Klout can rub people the wrong way. We are putting scores next to people and that can be initially off-putting. If you met anyone from the Klout team my hope would be for you to see that we are not elitist jerks but just a bunch of data nerds passionate about understanding the impact of every person online. We believe that every person who creates content online has influence on some topic, to some group of people. We want to help every person maximize their reach and influence and to be recognized for the impact they have.

Here I am sharing my vision nearly 3 years ago. We’ve come a long way since then, but the initial vision (first two minutes) is the same.

I started Klout in my bedroom almost four years ago while recovering from jaw surgery. During that time, I depended entirely on social media for communication. My goal was and is to create a system that recognizes people for the power of their voices on social media. I see Klout as a great equalizer for the normal person utilizing social media. Every day we are segmented by nearly every company we come into contact with. Usually this is based on how much money we spend; the level of service we receive is determined by the size of our wallets.

With social networks, I love that any person that has access to a phone can create an account, share their opinion with the world, and have an impact on their network. This value deserves to be recognized and I am proud of the work we are doing here at Klout to make that happen. To date, over 250,000 Klout Perks have been delivered to our community simply for being who they are online. These are real people getting real products of value and we look forward to continuing to help people understand, maximize and be rewarded for their influence.

The reality is that, while we’ve somehow become attached to celebrities like Justin Bieber, we don’t care about him. We may like his Christmas album, but Justin Bieber is not who Klout was created for. Everyone already knows the Biebs. We care about John Smith in Des Moines, IA who is passionate about music and wants to share his favorite bands with the world. We want to help John reach as many people as possible and hopefully unlock some really fun experiences for himself. This is only possible by continuously improving our service.

The idea of measuring influence is hugely ambitious and we have infinite work ahead of us. We know a lot of people think we’ll never get there but we love the challenge and you will never find a group more passionate about this mission than the Klout team.

As always, would love to hear any feedback you might have.

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  • Nickida Stephens

    Just joined and I kinda like it but its hard to figure any of it out because my score drops everyday and I am always online.  Sticking around to see where it goes.  According to Klout I am not influential on any topics.

  • Anonymous

    I love the thought behind Klout.  I do appreciate the information to try to get my name better know on the internet.  Thank you for all you do. Julie

  • Anonymous

    Love the concept. Impressed my score is so high relative to my follower count. I would like to know more technical details though concerning what other factors go into a score. Do you measure reach based on, for instance, the face that I work for a start-up getting it’s foot in the door of the grand internet? Additionally, I would like to know more about how the topics I am supposedly influential about are determined. For instance, it says I am influential concerning cars. I never tweet or mention cars online. All in all, I love the service.

  • http://www.plasticbag.org Tom Coates

    While superficially that seems reasonable, pretty much any of us who have been on the web a long time know what these scores result in. One way or another they’ll make us targets for marketing and advertising companies to try and sell their products through us. 

    And while you talk about the ways in which you try to give people a better platform to be recognized for their passions, what you’re actually doing (or at least this is how it seems) is to estimate which of us is financially worth the most, and then you’re selling access to us to advertisers.

    If you actually did interesting or useful things with the data as a service to us out here, then—while that wouldn’t actually change that you were selling access to us—I think it would be an exchange that people were more comfortable with. If you were actually helping raise the profile of people who were genuinely insightful influential about a subject, again I think we’d be happier with that kind of thing.

    Say – for example – you created a subject based index of all the best links that people were posting on every subject in a day, or the best tweets on any subject for any given day – and you brought that stuff front and center. Then I think people would find the whole enterprise more pleasant. As it is it encourages people out here in the world to compete with each other for the opportunity to be sold to, and places you guys as the arbiter of what is important on Twitter.

    Again, there’s that old adage, if you’re not paying for the product, you are the product. I actually think people are getting quite content with that as an approach, if they get something good in return. But what you’re offering is just an (admitted semi-addictive) way of jacking into people’s status centers of their brains, to make them feel good (or more often bad) about how important they have in the world.

    In a way it’s like a magazine that shows you beautiful thin and athletic models and then overtly ranks you against them, claiming that its goal is to ‘celebrate beautiful people’. And without any other benefit to the rest of us, although we might feel a grim desire to see our scores it’s not really ‘helping’ us or being positive, is it?

  • Lauren Monsey Nagel

    Mine drops too, and I don’t get why.

  • http://krishaamer.com/ Kris Haamer

    It’s a great vision and with this post you put a human face to an application that to me had seemed to be just about vanity. 

  • George of the Jungle

    Sure, but with all Google offerings, you are also the product.

  • http://twitter.com/FinnsWake Mark Finn

    For me, Klout is a reminder to keep engaging my friends, family, and fans. The score helps me to see how successful I am in that regard. That may not be what it was intended for, but it helps me to utilize my score in that capacity. Right now, my goal is to get my score back up to 60 (it dropped ten points when the new tweaks were brought online).

  • http://www.plasticbag.org Tom Coates

    As I said, I think people are actually pretty comfortable with being treated as the product if they get something decent in return. What they get in return on Klout is the ability to compete in a status game that treats everyone as in competition with one another. While it might be enough to draw people back in regularly, it’s hardly helping people become recognized for their contributions. And it’s definitely not positive…

  • http://twitter.com/UniqueVisitor Jeff Pester

    Hey Joe, 

    I think one of the things that irks people is the company motto “The Standard For Influence”. I’d think about rolling that back to something less in-your-face. 

    The other thing is that “influence” is a loaded and nuanced term, and it doesn’t lend itself to mathematical distillation. It’s contextual, it’s dynamic, and different people have different interpretations of another’s influence based on these and other criteria. And it’s the resulting gap between a person’s perceived assessment of one’s influence and what Klout says it is that disturbs most people. I know what you’re trying to do is complicated, and I know your team is working extremely hard to get this right. Best of luck going forward.

  • http://twitter.com/markblei Mark Blei

    There seems to be very little correlation between the power of my voice and my score. My shares retweets and network follows go up and yet my Klout score remains the same or more usually drops. I don’t know what activity you guys are looking for , but I’m not into media whoring. I would think a good indicator would be responses to my discussions and  growth of my network organically, but it seems because I’m not pushing things outside of normal conversation I’m not a Klout powerhouse.

    Can’t understand why that is. when I have 50-75K retweets of something i said and my score drops. What is it Klout is looking for?

  • http://twitter.com/frandallfarmer F. Randall Farmer

    1) All reputation (especially Karma [person-reputation]) is in context.
    2) There is no “global influence” context.
    3) No non-klout-employee I’ve ever met can tell me what my Klout score represents.
    4) Therefore – it holds no value to me our anyone I care about.

    http://buildingreputation.com/writings/2010/02/on_karma.html

  • http://johanneskleske.com Johannes Kleske

    You actually didn’t answer to any criticism, did you?

  • http://twitter.com/MZazeela Marc Zazeela

    Thanks for sharing your vision, Joe.  I find it difficult to accept being “judged” by statistics created by mathematical formulae.  Human beings are not so black and white that  you can measure them, effectively, the way you would the horsepower of an engine, or the RAM in your computer.  Human beings do display patterns, but I do not feel we are as predictable or reliable as machines.  My behavior today, may be entirely different from my behavior yesterday.

    Furthermore, a lot of the frustration you created was when you changed the way you score. Human beings like predictability and when you throw them uncertainty, in the form of new score keeping, and without any real warning, they grow uncomfortable and less trusting.  Trust is gained through consistency and reliability.  I think you blew it on both of those counts.

    So, for the time being, I regard Klout as an entertaining novelty.  If you check my score, I am proficient in lobsters.  Only because some of my peers, and I, have gamed the system by fooling your computers (incapable of subjective thought) into thinking I know something about which I really don’t.  As a result, I view anyone’s score with a healthy dose of skepticism.

  • Dave Land

    I embraced Klout at first. I even had a browser plug-in that showed scores next to each tweet. Then I watched as my score took 10-20-point excursions up or down overnight apropos of nothing and decided that it is just more self-gratifying/self-flagellating interweb nonsense and abandoned it. As others have said, more transparency about what this bare number represents — without making it too easy to game — would help a lot.

    I’m glad that Joe has a vision. But the execution leaves so much to be desired, and there isn’t quite enough reward for being turned into Klout’s product.

  • http://twitter.com/kohlben Kohlben Vodden

    What is rubbing people the wrong way is that Klout isn’t a following a social business model. You are not transparent about your algorithm. Until that day arrives Klout can only be considered a marketing machine.

  • Laney DeJesus

    Well said Joe! This is a great message and helps me to understand Klout so much more! Thank-you and keep up the great work!

    Happy Klouter :-)

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  • http://twitter.com/Jakubdr Jakub Drahokoupil

    While I get the idea and the vision is great, I have one major problem with recommending using Klout to our clients. The problem is that it is not transparent. While I know that transparency could mean that users will manipulate their score, I believe that if the score and the algorithm were transparent, it would be much more beneficial.

    Why? When I am doing an analysis for client, it is impossible for me to use Klout for identification of influencers. Because if I used it, I would not be able to explain, why this one is the most influential. I am not able to see myself saying “Because Klout said so”. What I would like to say is “because his tweets are retweeted more than tweets of other people” or “because users click on his links more than on links of other users” or “because he is part of large network of influencers”. Knowing the specific factors and their weight and values for each user would in my opinion help in adopting Klout as “The Standard for influence”. 

    In my opinion seeing the specific reasons and values behind each Klout score would also help companies in how to approach the specific influencer. If someone has high Klout score because he is retweeted (the “retweet factor” makes his score high) in my opinion requires different approach than the user with the same Klout score but whose score is affected mainly by clicks on his links or by the size of his audience etc.

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  • William Doonan

    I’m a big fan, and I’m not yet sure why.  As a writer trying to make contact with readers and other writers, I like the notion of being able to measure my reach.  But I’m not entirely sure what steps I need to take to increase me reach.  In a nutshell, if I can’t figure out pretty soon how the Klout scores work, and how I can increase mine, I probably won’t pay a lot of attention anymore.  So sure, the concept is great, but I’d like a little more information.  Otherwise, it’s like playing Mafia Wars, but at least Mafia Wars is kind of fun and tells you how to get ahead.

    William Doonan
    http://www.williamdoonan.com

  • http://twitter.com/JenLeighMoss Jennifer Moss

    Thanks for the insight, Tom. I think you accurately describe what many of us are feeling about Klout and their intentions. One of the most important (and often lost) aspects about social media is that this new mode of communication is intended – well minus the egregious mining of personal information – to be an engagement between equals within our community as well. The boundaries should be minimized and those social barriers eliminated so geek can be chic – well, maybe not chic, but accepted at least.

    Comparing people by their level of influence is like going back to grade nine in high school and who wants to do that? And yet, we must. If we didn’t then why do we all continue to buy in by checking our scores and rating each other on a near-obsessive basis. I personally feel like this is where folks get miffed. We were happy in our little world before Klout and no one cared. We weren’t feeling judged – we all just liked being on an equitable plane. And now we have to think about it again. We know that Biebs isn’t competition, but suddenly our network that we love and trust is?

    I think these are the moments where we need to take a good long look at ourselves and take ownership of our decisions. We need to decide if we really care about whether we’re the cheerleader or in the band and decide to be happy at whatever number between 1 – 100 we net out to be.

    My two cents.

  • http://twitter.com/admjeffrey Adam Williams

    I have been reading “Tipping Point” by Malcolm Gladwell and I think this service reminds me very much of what he talks about. In one chapter, he recalls the story of Paul Bunyan and another man (I even forgot his name) riding off in the night to warn others that the British were planning an attack. They took two separate routes, and everyone along Bunyan’s route was able to take arms and organize a defense and caught the British totally off guard. On the other hand, the other man’s path was ravaged by British. Why? (my words) Bunyan had more Klout. His word carried more than the other man’s, he had formed deeper, more respected connections and knew the right people in each town along his path to go to who were also influential and could spread the word more effectively. 
    I see Klout as a means of (whether it’s there or not yet) measuring how influential we are among our peers. I think your vision is on, but I would also agree with some of the other posters out there. Remind people of what they can be doing to help increase their Klout scores. More than worrying about the details and algorithms involved, as long as Klout is doing things right behind the scenes, the most basic advice should hold the strongest. Be true and honest, speak about what you are passionate about, care about your connections and engage in them, and you should see your Klout level rise.

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  • http://twitter.com/creman4u Christer Edman

    Very interesting background about how Klout started. I am also a bit curious about the ranking and how come one of my main influence is German Football? This makes it really funny  since I am not interested in neither watching nor discussing football.

    But it doesn’t matter since I see Klout as an interesting game and nothing to take seriously. This boosts creativity and I associate football as a a game and the ball is round as the globe. Klot is the Swedish name for a bowling ball. I like also to work internationally and prefer circles before squares.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_6VP4TQ3VR73S47DCDERZZRF7XE ericw

    where can i get some good fresh local lobster in santa barbara? — i understand you are a thought leader in this, along with, you know, beibs…

  • http://twitter.com/Stareagle Dave Hogg

    “Every day we are segmented by nearly every company we come into contact with.”

    Right, starting with your company, which puts a score next to our names, and tells other companies which people are influential about their business.  The whole *point* of the Perk program is that we get rewards because you’ve segmented us into a certain group of “influencers.”

    The score has always been meaningless, but then you change everything and say you want to be more “transparent.” The only problem is that there’s nothing in the least bit transparent. Why did my score drop from 74 to 57? What did the 74 mean? What does the 57 mean? Why has my score dropped on every single day but one since you changed the score? Why, if influence almost 5,500 people, does my top 10 list include people without names and scores of 10?

    No one has made any attempt to answer any of these questions, and you knowingly created ratings for minors that hadn’t signed up for your service. Having a vision is nice, but you are making it awfully hard for anyone to take you seriously as a public service.

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  • http://leftovertakeout.com gbattle

    A few meandering thoughts…

    Before a company can define themselves as the gold standard for influence, we need to define influence, though before that, we need to agree on defining identity, which is problematic.  Is identity authentic and persistent ala Zuckerberg or prismatic and ephemeral ala Chris Poole?  Is identity how we see ourselves, the persona we project, the persona others’ interpret, or the mirror of that interpreted persona?  The inherent complexity of identity is an inherited problem for influence.

    Unlike some, I see nothing nefarious about Klout, and they do offer a means to opt out (disclosure: I’ve received many Klout perks and I do post/tweet about them).  We are a people who choose to live in public, and as such, our activities can be aggregated, analyzed, ranked and rewarded accordingly.  However, like others, I do not think that score and B.F. Skinner-conditioned-response-informed intermittent perks are value enough to offset the creepy stalker feeling most get from public measurement.

    With any analytic/measurement, however grandiose, one must ask the compelling question “now what?”, which Klout has really only answered for target-hungry marketers and not for the measured masses by way of value expressed via transparency, guidance, discovery etc.

    In comparison, PageRank delivers value across Google’s multi-sided platform; the searcher seeking information, the underlying measured masses of public web site inventory by way of earned engagement, and the marketer looking for paid engagement.  Symbiotic.

    What does Klout’s PeopleRank offer me, the measured inventory?  In some ways, it’s as if Klout got it backwards by monetizing intent rather than promotion against intent.  Ergo, like Google,  hide the rankings, let people search (intent) for niche influencers (earned), and push marketers to pay to promote their thought leaders (paid).  Seems like a cleaner model in my mind.

    I hope my opinions here don’t stop the marketing swag from appearing on my doorstep.  I’m conditioned to respond to freebies!  ;-)

  • http://www.blurbpoint.com/link-building-services.php Link Building Services

    Each of the network provide you the stage to be the known and to make your personality on the path of the growth through various networks like klout. But just try to be different among all.

  • http://manifestyourdestinyonline.com Curt Bizelli

    Why has my klout been going down? It should be 75 by now, but it was 58 and now its 50. 1 point down from yesterday, 51.

  • http://twitter.com/TonyNoland Tony Noland

    My blog post from yesterday is “KLOUT Doesn’t Suck”. http://www.tonynoland.com/2011/11/klout-doesnt-suck.html

  • http://twitter.com/lunamoth42 Luna

    You’re thinking of Paul Revere. Bunyan was the guy with the big blue ox. :)

  • http://newstechnica.com David Gerard

    What Klout score does John Scalzi get for a personal letter from the Klout CEO? :-)

  • Brett

    I have suddenly become influential in two topics I have never contributed anything to and the stuff I do say something about is off the list. All very bizarre. If I Google my name in conjunction with any of the topics Klout says I am influential about I get …. Nothing!
    How about a link showing the sources connecting us to the topics we are influential about ?

  • http://twitter.com/admjeffrey Adam Williams

    haha good call, thanks

  • Anonymous

    Joe Hi! Yes i agree with you was a lot of debating about Klout lately! I pay you respect for your idea period. But is my opinion that Klout lost touch with reality when perks program was developed. I am sorry to say but I cant accept that marketing company pure vision is data mining! We all know your revenue is based on Perks in majority and as well of course on few investments. 

    You personally and Klout stuff should remember that Klout would not exist without community! And you showed in past few weeks that you don’t really care for community. Calling us who questioned Klout people with Ego issue is not the way to go. I have no Ego issue with Klout Score, but i do have an issue when it comes to claim of standard. I get it, Klout will never be perfect coz perfection doesn’t exist. 

    I was listening today to Megan on BlogRadio where she said that Klout does have glitches and we all know that, but when a tool has glitchs and as many as Klout has you can’t claim standard. Before Claiming Standard for Influence let’s define the influence itself. Influence was defined ages ago and we all know that is not number of followers, RT, likes, shared links, video watched and list can go on. Influence is simple define as ability to change someone believes. So how does Klout track changes of my believes ? As well you don’t measure sentiments. For example how can i be influential about Klout when everything i wrote had negative impact on Klout? Yes i might be influential about Klout but with negative sentiments, but this is not visible when someone is looking for influential people.  Or how can i possible be Influencer of Klout, how do I influence Klout ? This are just few reasons why I dont believe that you should maintain word Standard in your branding. Doesn’t make it right. 

    What i am really missing is generosity factor in the score… So now if i talk to new comers on Twitter for long period of time my score will drop and this is not a secret. And this is not right, Why do you think i should be punished for that ? And when i question Klout on same issue, reply i got was lame. Why do i need to be compared to Lady GaGa or president all the time ?

    You deliberately decide to not talk to people who dont accept  Klout vision. My questions to you were and still are credible and to ignore them (and i am not talking just my questions) is wrong. Transparency is key in today world and I i am afraid that, if you and Klout decide to ignore needed transparency Klout might go in to the mood in self-destruction. And that would be sad, as Klout does have potential in its own way.

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  • Anonymous

    Hi Joe, Good stuff! Probably about 3, or maybe more years ago, I first found Klout. I loved it, it was the perfect tool for me to measure my own engagement with my friends and community. I know we have tweeted together or emailed in the past. I always felt that of the measurement systems back then yours was the only one with true value because you didn’t only measure followers. I refused to make lists on Twitter because I didn’t want to feed into the “elitest” attitude.

    I think people put far too much value on what others think of them in our society. If people would just be happy and confident with themselves then everything else would not matter. 

    It is human nature to measure ourselves against others, but when you do this for your own information and education that is one thing, when you are allowing this to impact the value you have in yourself, that’s a far greater problem.

    I don’t equate Klout with a “high school cafeteria” (I preferred going off-campus for lunch myself, or sitting on the lawn), I think it is a wonderful resource for finding people who might be interested in something new I am doing, or a clients product, etc.

    Now the +K thing… well, that didn’t make much sense to me, that took the actual algorithm out of it and added the completely influenced human aspect. To me that was the one “give in” to other sites.

    Klout is klout. If I need to find Food bloggers and conversationalists I will look to Klout, no matter the area, I know that the information will be available. 

    I don’t look at my score as often as I once did to measure my engagement, because I have gotten to the point where I think if I get to it, I get to it, people will understand, real life takes precedence.

    Keep doing what you are doing. I think there are some great possiblities, and some fun stuff you are doing. Although I do miss my klout perks (did the program change?), my kids loved their Tangled Perks, and I love my Southland pullover and my portfolio from that funny legal show on TNT. ;)  

    Keep doing what you are doing and innovating Joe. Good stuff. =)

  • Anonymous

    Oh I remember what we communicated about… the people I was listed as influencer were people I had not been in communication with in over a year, now this was about 2 years or more ago, but I saw that continue for quite a long time. Oh well… it’s a living thing.

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  • westchesterjoe

    I’ve been enjoying Klout and have tried to do various things to try and impact my  score. I don’t know which things I’m doing that are impacting my score as there seems to be lag time between my actions and changes in my score.

    One thing I would like to see is the ability to search for influences by topic, for instance I’m looking for horticulturalists with Klout.

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  • http://twitter.com/HotComesToDie Suzy Soro

    I can’t link my Facebook fan page to Klout. I did once before when I had another fan page and the Klout linking changed the name of my fan page to my real name! 

    So you might want to fix that. 

  • http://www.mikebowler.net mbowlersr

    Sometimes I question if I’m getting the score I should. I work so hard to balance my SM time and when I think I’m doing well - Wham o — you roll me back. I use Klout often and love the perks and really like giving others a K, but it’s not a place I go to make me feel good. :-)  

  • http://about.me/vnaylon Vanessa Naylon

    On the bright side, these irritated, noisy users might be a good thing. They mean you’re closer to product/market fit. If there were nothing compelling about your product, no one would be visiting your site and getting angry. Pivot a little and make people love you.

    Or, if the public is not your customer (as I assume it is not, since we’re not paying you), you could just try minimizing the blowback and keep selling Perks to advertisers, for whom Klout probably works pretty well.

    Good luck.

  • http://www.maximumbalancefoundation.com/ True2texas

    The interesting thing about Klout is that it is a true representation of the reach that a person can have.  There are still a few kinks that need to be worked out, such as true reach.  It is ambitious, and over time will be a standard of excellence that allows a person to take advantage of both social media, and advocacy action branding that we have heard about for years. 

  • http://www.venturevoice.com gregory

    It brings back memories watching that clip of you presenting at the NY Tech Meetup alongside us, CoTweet and StockTwits. Fun night. Good to see your Klout score has increased since then!

  • http://twitter.com/AllanWalkerIT Allan Walker

    I’d love to see Klout implement some sort of fuzzy logic “truth” algorythm.  Then, I’d know someone with high K is truthful. I honestly think my level of “influence” is overstated in Klout…once I realized to connect to media social channels – such as New York Times, Forbes, BBC on twitter – my score went flying up.

    But I don’t comment on their tweets or Facebook (gets lost in noise). I get better feedback from commenting on their pages per subject – I’ve had a few comments “called out” by Forbes for example. As I understand it, that doesn’t affect my K score.

    “Influence” can often seen as being pervasive, or worse, narfarious – underhandedly convincing someone to change one’s mind…snake oil anyone?

    But good on Klout for trying to formulate qualitative data with quantative data and trying to metricise the chaotic social network world :)

  • http://twitter.com/CaseyInnovate Casey Catlett

    I actually really appreciate the concept of Klout.  I’d like to see an evolution where Klout incorporates a StumbleUpon feature where I can search high-klout related users based on content.  For example, who are the Graphic Designers with the highest klout?  I would be able to search or setup a category feed that aggregates content for me.

  • http://twitter.com/confluencemedia Elza van Swieten

    I deleted my Klout account right after the +K seem to get out of control. When it just started I was able to give +k to 5 people randomly, it was cute. After that it just got too much of everything.

  • http://twitter.com/rdublife rick wion

    As a marketer, I value every single customer and want to every person in the world to be a customer. If I had an unlimited amount of time and money that I could make that happen. But I don’t. That is where data is necessary. I need data about customers to make business decisions on how I spend my limited resources. Is Klout a perfect representation of each individual customer? No. But neither is the data in any CRM system or database in any company. That is why I use multiple systems (including Klout) to build out a well-rounded view of my customers. 

  • http://twitter.com/AlexanderRemie Alexander Remie

    It’s nice that I see how “important” I am on a particular topic. But what’s missing is that Klout doesn’t then connect me to people that would appreciate my posts/tweets/etc. on that particular topic. Now that would really help me (and everyone else).

  • jb510

    While Klout is “nifty” it’s not really useful and hence after playing with it for a few weeks I quickly lost interest.  I’m not “offended” by the the concept of it, measure whatever you want… good data is good.

    However billing that data set as a measurement “influence” is just ridiculous and that I find offensive.  There is nothing in Klout’s algorithms that can measure any action outside the social sphere.  Tell me how you can measure that someone I suggested should go outside right now and enjoy the sunset actually did that?  …you can’t even measure who _clicked_ on an link I shared and went to a site I recommended.

    At best Klout measures popularity and reach and while they each have some value, it’s not directly correlated with influence.

  • http://www.phacient.com Patrick Healy

    If it’s one thing I have learned, it’s that influence is extremely difficult to measure by any third party and you can never make everyone happy. If you don’t like the service, don’t use it. With that said, I think the best measurement of influence, in my opinion, is to pay attention and take part in a space you want to understand. I can tell you whom my friends influence on topics that I engage with them on. Like on many other fronts, there is no substitute for the human element for these types of measurements. I feel you can much more easily game any algorithm than fool another person.

  • http://twitter.com/tylermalin tyler malin

    I love Klout, but to really find a place of consistent value for consumers (and the marketers who want to reach those consumers) I believe that Klout’s mission should be to use the data it collects to train individuals, small businesses, large corporations to focus and improve the way they communicate via online tools. 

    If I am a small business throwing social media marketing ideas against a wall, and I see that as I am doing so my Klout score is rising – cool, I feel like I am making progress.  BUT if I see an attendant rise in sales – WOW, now I know I am making progress. 

    If my Klout score becomes a way for me to consistently monitor the effectiveness of my communication it has real, tangible value to me – even if I am the target of personalized marketing as a result. 

    To really live up to this however I believe Klout should become the market leader in education in the space, should allow for individuals to set their “influence” goals as a filter as they join Klout so that they are measuring against their goals, not just involved in some global popularity contest, and should allow for tracking metrics that are tied to specific suggestions for improving social media communication. 

    If Klout can fill that space I believe it will transform into an invaluable tool.

  • http://twitter.com/adamkleinberg Adam Kleinberg

    I just commented on my blog:

    3 roadblocks to Klout’s Vision
    https://www.tractionco.com/blog/193-3-roadblocks-to-klout-s-vision

  • http://twitter.com/WriterCrafter Kimberly Chapman

    As long as Facebook is weighted so heavily, those of us who have long boycotted that privacy-eating nightmare are ranked weirdly.  I talk with awesome, highly influential scientists all the time on G+ who are not and never have been on FB and their Klout scores are lower as a result.  When you compensate for those who only use some social media because they’re too busy doing actual things in the real world with much of their time, then I’ll take Klout more seriously.  Right now it’s just a silly little diversion that generally arrives at the startling conclusion that popular people are, in fact, popular.

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  • http://SportsGeek.com.au Sean Callanan

    Although at times I’ve been mystified at some of the topics I am supposedly influential I do like the idea of Klout Perks.  There is privacy concerns which have been raised by many.

    I posted this post - http://sportsgeek.com.au/social-media/the-measured-life-whats-your-klout-score/ just days before the Klout system was adjusted.

    Got varied feedback pre & post changes but agree with many that transparency was what a lot of people were looking for.  Understanding which networks are being scored & which are at the very least is a start.

  • Lois Creamer

    Hi Joe .. I’m glad you made this post. In fact, I am shocked it’s taken you this long to do it. The fact that so many have become disenchanted with Klout has nothing to do with your hard work or your employees hard work. It is the way you compile information that draws critics. Why not let users know how you go about compiling scores? The changes you made also made many question their involvement with Klout. We are left wondering .. what other decisions that will directly affect scores will you be making next week, next month? I’m still deciding whether or not I want to be involved w/Klout, and I know I’m not alone. That’s the problem Joe, it’s not personal at all. It’s business.

  • Clarizamariable

    “Invitation from inbox needs to reply with this just for viewing.”^  ^;…

  • Clarizamariable

    “Invitation from inbox needs to be reply, just for viewing.”^  ^;…

  • http://twitter.com/fltch Fletch

    Love long-term prospect of Klout and met Garth recently. I can appreciate the data nerdness, but Klout needs some non-nerd, mass-market thinking to solve for these issues that will inhibit growth outside of the industry.

    1. The number isn’t as important as fairness. Scores need to be consistent. Normalize the anonymous relativity. Not all RTs, Likes, Followings, etc. are the same. It’s hard to take Klout seriously when a self-described “Social Media Guru” with an auto-pilot Twitter account has a significantly higher score than people that are pumping out related content daily with the “right amount” of RTs and other engagement metrics.

    2. More important than #1, “Influential About” section needs to be updated more than it is. I did one (singular) tweet months ago about Michael Vick that had a few RTs, way fewer than other tweets. I have been “influential about” Michael Vick and the NFL ever since.

    Unfortunately that means I will not be eligible for most Klout Perks as not too many perks are open to Michael Vick influencers

    3. Fix the Klout Perks experience, if you don’t know what’s wrong with it … let’s talk.

    4. Klout U – content-guided knowledge base that
    a. provides insight into the process
    b. get thought leaders to author best practices docs – real thought leaders, not Klout Style Thoughtleaders
    c. aspirational content on how to improve your “Klout” station in life. I’m not the best Networker but that’s what you’ve branded me as except for the random days when Klout lists me as a Tastemaker

  • Bpcurtis

    San Pedro?

  • http://twitter.com/woepwoep Ronald Wopereis

    If you think Michael Vick influencers have trouble becoming eligible for Klout Perks, try living in a country that is not the US…

  • http://www.copperreflections.com/ handmadejewelry

    Thank you for the great article about Klout. What were our chances before
    the social networks in telling other people what we know and think. It has been
    an incredible change in the freedom of speech since then.

  • http://twitter.com/gtra1n gtra1n

    But how is Klout measuring what it claims to measure? Other than one person goosing another’s Klout score, I can see no connection between scores and informed opinion, which Klout claims to measure. A snarky comment gets a score, while some actual knowledge is ignored. And I can safely say I have never in my online life rendered an opinion on Columbus, OH, yet at one time Klout said that was one of my areas of ‘expertise.’ I sense arbitrariness, and more than a little fraud, and certainly a lack of in depth knowledge and interest in topics.

  • http://twitter.com/otioselyyours Stephanie Johnston

    Exactly. Some take this very seriously and are rather up in arms about how it is just another means in which their stats will be sold and yadda, yadda. Believe me, I went on a humor-based cynical rant about the world of social media and advertising when I signed up for Klout, but you know what? I love the social sciences, technology, trying anything new, the opportunity to report on it to friends and free stuff. Klout is a prime place to do all of the above.

  • http://twitter.com/azulmarino Pablo Pérez Benítez

    That video could benefit from some subtitles since the audio is not as clear as it should.

  • http://ciarannorris.co.uk Ciaran

    Any plans to start respecting people’s privacy by allowing people to delete their profiles/block your crawlers?

  • http://www.giglogo.com Karla Campos

    Many are upset due to the change in your measurement, my score didn’t change much with your algorithm revision so I’m not upset lol I know that you can’t give away your algorithm because then you will have people abusing it. Are there any tips you have to share for those who had high scores with the previous algorithm but lost points with the change?

  • http://crowdbooster.com/ Ricky Yean

    Hey Tom – I think you’ll see a lot of interesting things coming from Klout and Klout’s ecosystem of developers. For example, we at Crowdbooster are helping you filter your followers and helping you use Klout scores to prioritize them *if* what you cared about was to focus on interacting with influential people, like you would as a PR person. I’ve also seen Klout come up with ways to help you identify interesting people to follow based on topic, and even the best content shared by those people. These are all interesting use cases of the score for many of us. I am excited about the future, and Klout aren’t the only guys measuring online influence.

  • BartHufen

    Why isn’t Joe involved in this discussion about his very own product? 

    There are 60 replies and no comments from him? Join in Joe, it’s your blog! 

    Blogging means a dialogue, that’s exactly what I miss with Klout. It’s an ‘ego trip’ for the user combined with a leaderboard (points & stats) no more than FourSquare (in a different way of course), no fun at all and not relevant for a very long time… Hail to Tom Coates with his correct criticism… 

  • http://www.jordanenglishgross.com Jordan English Gross

    Your point with facebook is valid – except that the issue is not privacy. The issue is that Facebook communication is about family and friendship – not influence. Adding Facebook is about helping people like Justin B or users who chatter a lot with their friends. Not true topical influencers. Certainly not John Smith from Des Moines.

  • Bridgetzig

    I have long teased my Econ Prof friend that we don’t really need paper money & that a hugs & kisses currency would do just as well if we attached value to it. Now I tease her about being able to acquire items via Klout perks. I admittedly loved my Sharpie perk. I have also been known for favoring my shapies over mu Mont Blancs. I have hundreds sorted by color & size. I always have more than enough at concerts & events to give some to folks wanting autographs etc.

    All this talk about transparancy is from folks who seem to want to monetize social media. The self proclaimed gurus of social media. The ones who want to game the system to make sure they become the hottest product. The perks aren’t yet that valuable but knowing your social media club friend has more Klout than you eats at your ego & bottom line.

  • http://twitter.com/percychow percychow

    Hey Joe – thanks for your post and putting yourself out there. FWIW – I’m in marketing (B2B space was in consumer marketing), and currently classified as a “specialist” via Klout.

    I’ve played with Klout – turned on/off my connected networks, monitored how my behavior online affects my score, etc. And I’ve come to the conclusion is that Klout is helpful in measuring ones overall VIRTUAL persona online to an external audience based on your inter/actions in your online networks. 

    I’m the guy who is turning the dials to see what happens and observes my network as well as others.

    And to me, it all works – yes even with the bugs and upgrades and tuning you guys are doing.

    I don’t quite get why so many people are up in arms, offended, over scoring or transparency. It all seems like simple cause/effect to me. Keep up the good work. 

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