Klout is running out of excuses.

Klout is running out of excuses.:

“We think we have the opportunity to own earned media,” Fernandez says. “Earned media” is essentially word-of-mouth advertising on networks like Facebook and Twitter. It’s the ability to get people talking about brands because they want to, not because they are paid to.

“We put products in the hands of influencers and the influencers create noise around it,” Fernandez says.

Am I the only one that doesn’t think this sounds generally good? Klout is making up scoring it knows will always be flawed solely to attract brands to pay it to reach those people so they can feel better about the quagmires of finding influencers who matter.

This is not a company in adolescence, it’s a hollow, cynical venture trying to make millions of dollars by pretending to solve a problem.

Disclosure: I just started working with a company that solves the tangent to this problem in a much more sensible way. This post, however, is as much influenced by that relationship as I am by the time Ray-Ban sent me a towel.

- Max Tatton-Brown

September 16th, 2013

  • Christo

    I’ve always thought Klout a flawed model – it doesn’t pick out enough detail, or if it does it picks out erroneous data: i tweeted *once* about Dadaism and it claims I’m influential in it as no-one else ever tweets about it. Outliers are not the sign of influence.

    there are better, more refined and more mathematically sound measurement tools out there but Klout has always assumed superiority and not done enough to be truly useful. Telling me which tweets I’ve posted have been most RT’ed is not unique, nor is telling me who i talk to most online – i know this; i’m talking to them.

    Klout became far too complacent too long ago and lost sight of what it set out to do; as a result, it’s arcane and poorly appreciated as it simply doesn’t add any value.

  • http://www.disruptive-communications.com/ Lance Concannon

    I think part of the problem lies with PR people who are just too willing to believe that something as nebulous and complex as ‘influence’ can easily be measured and ranked by a piece of software. It takes the hard work out of their hands because, instead of having to do so e actual research, they can simply say “We should target these people because they have a good Klout/PeerIndex/whatever score” and pretend that they’re good at their job.

  • http://MaxTB.com Max Tatton-Brown

    An interesting take: I’m inclined to think that the ‘accuracy’ of Klout just has to be considered good enough in reputation terms for them to be able to sell ‘Perks’ packages to marketers. But they’ll have to do something radical to ever get past that sticking point of discussion: Is Klout accurate?

    I’m less and less interested in influence and more interested in *relevance*. It may be foolish to pretend you can gauge influence beyond a fuzzy outline online but finding out who’s actually relevant to a subject area can be very valuable and is very manageable with the right approach.

    Working with someone interesting who has more to say about this ‘relevance’ angle but top secret for now…

  • http://MaxTB.com Max Tatton-Brown

    You’re absolutely right — this is the reason it has proliferated. Bad PRs had a problem they couldn’t/ didn’t want to solve and Klout had a way of judging authority that would seem spurious to all but this audience. In the mean time, several redesigns to increase activity metrics by provoking people to check their influence make it look like an attractive proposition for investment.

    But it’s not. You can’t hide a crappy product forever.

    Also: http://maxtb.com/2012/08/15/fitbit-klout-and-your-data-silhouettes/