Beware Social Influence Scores
by Dan Carvajal | October 1st, 2012
Recently the CEO of Klout Joe Fernandez posted this tweet.
Love this Salesforce job posting looking for someone with a Klout score above 35. ongig.com/jobs/Salesforc…
— Joe Fernandez (@JoeFernandez) September 27, 2012
His tweet also came on the day Klout and Microsoft announced that they will included Klout scores in Bing searches. Klout seems really popular right now, or is it just hype?
Here is a TechCrunch’s Drew Olanoff on the job listing,
Will Salesforce hire Community Managers with a Klout score less than 35? I don’t know. Can someone even have a Klout score lower than 35? I have no idea.
This cuts to the heart of Klout.
We really have no idea what goes into a Klout score.
Their algorithms are unknown but what they do tell us is vague and subject to change at will. While this is no different than ranking the relevance of search results, one look at that industry we should be even more skeptical of Klout scores. Klout right now is the only player in it’s game.
Remember that AltaVista and Yahoo Search were popular long before Google – though neither exist today (Yahoo Search is currently outsourced to Microsoft’s Bing). As more startups enter into competition with Klout, they will have to compete based on relevance of their scores, and that’s a challenge. In search, it is much easier for consumers to judge the quality of as engine because they are directly interacting with the results of a search.
How do you judge the quality of a Klout score? We don’t know.
There is a difference between analyzing social data for information about trending thoughts and ideas and giving out scores from a proprietary index that claims to measure influence. For most people and businesses, Klout scores are insignificant for measuring their real impact online because there is no competition to judge the score against. Klout’s current success mostly hinges on their business model, selling user data to other companies. Where do you think Klout “perks” come from?
Data mining will be one of the most important areas for businesses in social media. However, it is a very young industry. While Klout may be getting all the current buzz, long term success for them and their score is at best uncertain. If people remember Klout two years from now for any reason other than that it has been purchased by someone else, frankly, I will be surprised.
If you like Klout, fine. But don’t assume it’s the be-all and end-all of social influence rankings.