Klout: Exit Stage Right

klout stainI won’t go into what Klout is assuming that everyone has been exposed to it directly or indirectly. Last week we, after some considerable consternation decided to opt out of Klout for a number of reasons. It wasn’t that there isn’t some merit to Klout’s methods; rather it was for what we saw as their deficiencies.

Originally posted in February of 2012

Probably first and foremost was the reaction some of our customers had to the Klout’s value or ranking and we where we stood at Klout. Their universal response to our inquiries was “what?”

While I can’t really speak with authority on the analytics Klout uses, it certainly seems to be based solely on on-line activity. Because of that, at best Klout can only be “skin-deep” in their analysis. It seem evident that unless the person or company is present and engaged in Twitter, Facebook and Google+ they will suffer suppressed rankings regardless of how influential they are in the real world.

So taking into account the point above, and understanding that Klout is an opt-out activity rather than an opt-in, it’s a bit like they’ve taken it upon themselves to help judge the value of everyone [until recently this included children on Facebook] based on their own limited criteria and then promote that value [even suggesting to Klout users that they promote it] to the masses. That is just a bit too much like the proverbial “town gossip” for our tastes.

klout puppetThen as we see it Klout gets even more distasteful. Klout promotes the giving of the treasured “K”. This is a nod or notification that someone values your input or association enough that they will expend one of the ten “K”s a user allotted in a day. You will see the posts proclaiming “I received a “K” from … , or I gave a “K” to … at @Klout.” Its seems sophomorically simple that Klout has tapped into our need to be accepted and validated by others to promote and thereby enhance Klout’s own commercial value regardless of the impact or effect on others. Klout themselves tells us that these “K”s hold no value in their scoring, but seem to omit that they probably really appreciate you promoting Klout’s commercial value taking your time to be involved in the “K” process.

Then there is the affect that Klout has had on the behavior of some. Gaming Klout isn’t difficult as seen in the herds of users that do it daily, clouding up news streams with a daily Follow Friday frenzy of name dropping. You’ve seen them, next time take a look at their Klout score, then compare that to either their @PeerIndex or @Kred score and behold the value of lessoning the value of social media.

Further, while Klout’s graphing isn’t really a problem, it’s more of a reminder of the problematic USA Today method of illustrating change. By truncating the graphing to short ranges we were either exhilarated or crushed by what in reality were almost imperceptible swings one way or another. No there wasn’t any real harm done here it was just another brick in the wall for us.

Our primary purpose in being involved in social media is to promote our people and their abilities, our company and what it brings to the table for our customer base, and the original equipment manufacturers we represent. We will be responsible and active in all matters involved in working towards fulfilling that purpose because the measurement of true value of influence is measured at the bottom line of the ledger, not on a web page.

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One thought on “Klout: Exit Stage Right

  1. Hi Kyle,

    I agree with you: Klout is a poor representation of what influence is. The value of influence, as you well said, is at the bottom line of a ledger (brand equity is defined in dollars)

    We are phasing out Klout because of one built-in risk: a couple weeks ago, Klout informed us that we were influential in economics, simply because someone decided to spend his/her “K” on us. Regardless of the reasons that this person had to do this, it is unwanted diversification of our brand.

    By clinging random activities and industries to a brand, Klout users could seriously increase a company’s cost per sale. I am certain that this company’s CEO has never heard of “The more you say the more you pay” (and the more you risk), a common marketing mantra.

    As always, thank you for posting great content.

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