Users get loud about losing Klout

Krystal Peak · October 27, 2011 · Short URL:

Online influence rating company changes its algorithm, prompts the start of #OccupyKlout movement

Klout has really started a movement with the changes it has made to its algorithm -- the problem is that the movement is against its social impact rating.

The San Francisco start-up that has gained traction with the people who want to know how big of an impact their words have online, updated the way that they rank a person or online entity's clout and those who saw a drop in their rating (on a scale or 1-100) got real noisy online. Someone even translated the recent #occupy movement and created an @OccuptKlout twitter handle to air their grievances about the metric adjustments they saw.

As of Thursday morning, the new movement against a company that has changed the spelling of clout, had reached 453 followers and clocked in 173 tweets -- but has not been ranked by Klout or given a score yet (sad face). To be fair it does take a little while for online presence to register on the Klout system and at less than 24 hours old, @OccupyKlout will register on the site soon.


Klout measures the impact of the online presence a person or company has online by tracking the number of likes, followers, retweets, comments and other interaction that the public has with a Twitter user or Facebook profile or some grouping of several social media sites. 

While Klout is most well-known for giving a rating for online presences' effectiveness, the real money and model behind the business is the company's partnerships with brands looking to reach the most influential people in their market -- such as connecting Audi with the top tweeters on automotives or allowing Levi's to offer free gifts to the fashion  gurus online.

The higher your Klout score the more access you will have to Klout perks and access to freebie.

I have been a user of Klout for six months and I find the tool extremely helpful in gauging the impact of my social media presence. But others think of this service as another loud buzz in the noise of online activity. Over the last few months I have raised my Klout from a 28 to a 48 (I hear from Klout CEO Joe Fernandez that 50 is a solid and respectable score) and have been offered some ho-hum perks including free access to online fitness services, early access to gaming sites and some free hair gel.

Some of the changes to the algorithm and the way a users sees their score are interesting because rather than just seeing your score and the top people you influence, you can now see what people are no longer engaged by your activity. Essentially, now I can obsess about what I did to make these profiles lose interest -- enter obsessive ex-girlfriend cliche of your choice.

Fernandez told me that he created this company to give people some feedback in an area where a lot of newcomers were putting in energy without knowing how effective they were being.

"It's like you are on stage but you can't tell how many people are watching," said Fernandez. 

When Klout changed their metric on Wednesday the company said that the change was "the biggest step forward in accuracy, transparency and our technology in Klout’s history" and would mean no change or a slight increase to most people's Klout -- mine went down by one-tenth of a point.

While many are making more noise about their score going down, or their belief that the score is useless, I believe that Klout has gained a lot of steam and is now recognized as an important enough metric that some events require a minimum Klout score and some people (especially in marketing and public relations) include their score on resumes and LinkedIn profiles.

Despite the outrage of some and the dismissiveness of many, this new algorithm and discussion is likely the best thing that has happened for the young company because the name Klout is everywhere now and, as curious narcissists do, most people have checked out where they rank compared to the perfect 100 of the indisputable king of clout, Justin Bieber.




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