Stick a Fork in Klout – They Are Done

Klout Score

About five months ago I wrote 5 Reasons Why Klout is Total BS. Since then, I haven’t paid them much attention until yesterday, when a friend informed me that my Klout score had dropped by nearly 20 points. Guess what?

I don’t care!

Klout is dead to me.

After Klout’s announcement yesterday about A More Accurate, Transparent Klout Score, it should be dead to you too.

First, how can anyone take their score seriously when Klout measures influence based on sites like Foursquare, Instagram and LastFM? Second,

People don’t love Klout. They love their Klout scores.

Reducing the scores of thousands of loyal users because of an algorithm change is about as intelligent as Netflix announcing they were changing their prices and separating their DVD and streaming services. Look what happened to them.

What’s next? What if the credit scoring services decide to change their algorithm tomorrow, and your good credit goes bad overnight?

As they say, the train has left the station and the damage is done. Some may say it doesn’t matter because Klout scores are free, but don’t forget, Klout is also screwing their corporate partners who have spent a great deal of time and money promoting their Klout Perks.

I wonder how those paying corporate customers feel now, knowing they rewarded influencers whose scores wouldn’t make the cut today, after the implementation of the “more accurate, transparent Klout scores”?

Edited on 10/31/11 to add: My friend Jure Klepic (@jkcallas on Twitter) posted How to Get Your Profile and Data Completely Disconnected from Klout today, which you’ll find very helpful if you’d like to “disable” your Klout profile from public visibility.

Comments

  1. says

    Hi, Collin. Found you through blogchat and have added your rss to my reader. Very good stuff you have. I consider Klout casual entertainment more than anything, and although I’ve tried participating from an experimental perspective, I share your misgivings as well (expressed in Klout = Krap? a while ago). It’s an interesting concept, but too bungled to have any major credibility. 

    • says

      Thanks for checking out the blog, Richard. I’m glad you like what you’ve seen, and I hope you’ve taken the time to subscribe to the email updates or the RSS feed.

      I’ve spent a lot of time trying to figure out how to manipulate my Klout score, and no matter what I do, I really can’t find any consistency in what causes fluctuations. Just when I think I have it figured out, I find that my theories don’t hold true.

  2. says

    Couldn’t agree more with this one. Klout (IMHO) is all about measuring social status. It appears to me that there is two levels now. One for the media recognized elite and the other for the rest of us. If having to link all of your different SM platforms into Klout to only have them spit out some random number that doesn’t really measure your reach across all platforms, then why bother.
    P.S. I’m waiting valuable keystrokes on a dead topic when I should be spending them on writing a new blog post or commenting on a different topic

    • says

      Thanks for your comments Karl. I disagree that it was a waste of keystrokes, and I appreciate your input.

      What’s interesting for me is that I know quite a few people who’ve deleted their Klout accounts, but I can’t bring myself to do it. Why? Well, it’s not because I really care about my score, but others do, and they may use it to decide if they want to believe me, follow me, trust me, etc. I can’t deprive them of that, can I?

  3. says

    I just published a blog post on why I think Klout can’t be trusted. Their system has too many issues. This last week alone they had three announcements of scoring issues. It’s unfortunate, because I think people do make decisions off those numbers.

  4. Gary Smith says

    I shared on your Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/105735189277112916360/posts

    mine has been steadily dropping since I stopped creating lists, naming influencers, etc. from inside their domain. it seems to me that the score is tied to how embedded you’ve become in their platform rather than who, what, when, why, etc of your social connections..??Am I missing something, Klout? Help us out here…

    • says

      Interesting. I mostly use private lists. I guess that probably has an effect too. Basically, what it comes down to, is that Klout has become just a number with no real meaning. It’s just too easy to manipulate in the short term. I got mine to go up 6 points one day a week or two ago. Did my influence really change in 24 hours? No. That’s ridiculous. Influence is like personality. Any changes happen gradually over time.

  5. says

    Do you think there is any good social capital measuring tool out there?  I have been investigating all of the ones I can find to see the difference. I have been on Klout – and yes my score went down – but I could never really figure out what I did or didn’t do to make the prior moves. I have used PeerIndex with interesting growth and perhaps a bit more clarity on what moves that score. I have also investigated Empire Avenue but I am not a big fan of stocks and this feels awkward to me.  Last but not least I have been on Xeeme.com. Generally I am more interested in relative change than the actual score.

    Since I am also more concerned with good ways to track efforts that move people to my social presences so that they learn more about what I do, Xeeme more than the others has helped me do that. They added a XeePV which equates to a social capital value based on engagement. I am still working on they types of things that affect the score there, but blogging, commenting and participating in FB and Twitter seem to have the biggest effects. I think that is what social engagement should be about – contributing and participating. Maybe they have the right “algorithm. I will let you know how it turns out.  
    Wendy
    all my social presences at  http://xeeme.com/wendysoucie

  6. Anonymous says

    Collin, 

    thank you for including link to my post. Megan from Klout did comment on one of my post today in which she confirmed if you are engaging with less influential people your score will drop. The funniest part of the comment is, when she is telling me if your content would be shared by Lady GaGa or Obama your score would not drop. First is absurd to even compare me with Gaga or Obama. Second we got additional answer they took Celebrities and benchmarked them towards us, so this is now new bell curve in their algorithm,non of the user who is not “celebrity” will not be able to go over 75 or 80 anymore. Did not take so long to see how manipulative Klout really is.  

  7. says

    I think they still have a problem with the score. I’m baffled by the fact that some of the most influential people on Twitter (people like Jeffrey Zeldman and David Heinemeier Hansson) have the same scores of people who are simply broadcasting content from other web sites and are most likely just a bot.

    It would’ve been smarter to slowly adjust the scores over the next three months to keep people from noticing. 

    From my perspective, the score seems as opaque as the BCS standings. And everyone hates the BCS!

  8. says

    No one should put a lot of truck in a
    score number for a single day.  That
    Klout has renormalized its scoring system and components is unimportant.

     

     If your 30 day score and components went from an upward trend to a
    downward trend (or vice-versa), that would a sign of a more seriously flawed
    measurement system.  If you look at how
    Klout and PeerIndex component scores move, especially when compared to your
    peers and competitors, you might learn something about who is improving
    communications with their audience, who is building authority, and who is
    helping their audience do a better job with their followers.  You might begin to figure out why.

     

    If you are just in love with your score, then you are beyond hope.

    • says

      I think the problem people have is that what was a 65 or 70 is now a 50. We all knew the meaning of a score of 60+, but with the compression, it is now harder to put a meaning on a score.

  9. Danielbeattydvm says

    What’s next? What if the credit scoring services decide to change their algorithm tomorrow, and your good credit goes bad overnight?

    Actually the credit bureaus did do this. A couple years ago when the mortgage crisis hit and the banks were bailed out and the government changed their regulations. Some people who had fair to good credit in the upper 600s found themselves with a credit score at 500. I think that should have made more people belly aching than the unbelievable amount of people complaining about a nonsensical scoring of their social influence. Who actually cares? It’s Klout and they changed their algorithm woohoo. I think the complaining about this is worse than when Facebook makes changes.

    • says

      No way. millions more people complain about Facebook changes. Only geeks like us complain about Klout changes. The average FB user doesn’t even know what Klout is.

  10. says

    As someone who uses nothing they measure but Twitter, I’m not really that bent about it.
    I’m happy to tweet and to babble on my blog.
    Whether it’s liked or not, well, I’m not really sure that’s the point…

  11. Anonymous says

    I heard someone use the term earlier in the week that Klout just “Netflix’d” themselves. Interesting that you make the same point! LOL – You’re right, I loved my Klout score. Although Klout did drive me to get more involved with Social Media. I am competitive by nature and loved seeing my score increase. Now, I get the same number of engagements and my Klout score drops. 

  12. says

    I stopped giving a damn about Klout a while ago, I got particularly pissed by the fact you are profiled by them even without “opting in” (a subject which has been discussed a lot in the past), plus I never trusted this kind of gaming-like scoring system.

    • says

      Funny. I’ve thought the same thing when I’ve seen Klout scores for people along with the suggestion that I invite them to join. I really dislike Empire Avenue, but at least you have to opt in to be included on their site. 

  13. Anonymous says

    I walked out on Klout yesterday. You’re absolutely right: people don’t love Klout, they love their scores. It’s kind of dumb to attach a piece of your self-esteem to an arbitrary number, but I had done it, like so many others — and then got that yanked out from under me. Let’s just say that, BS or no, it doesn’t give you a happy feeling. 

    I didn’t have that many reasons to use Klout in the first place — I’m more concerned with quality than “influence”, whatever that is — but now I have none.

    • says

      The biggest line of BS from their announcement was that “A majority of users will see their Scores stay the same or go up”. What they didn’t tell you is that those “users” aren’t actually users at all. Those whose Klout score stayed the same or went up are very likely the people who either don’t have a Klout account or aren’t active in social media (or both). 

  14. says

    I am curious to see what sort of fall out there is from this. They have first mover advantage and that is worth a lot. I am not arguing about whether their scores are real or not, but I think that they are likely to be around a while longer.

    • says

      Unfortunately, I don’t think Klout is going anywhere either, but moves like this sure do give others like PeerIndex a nice boost because they offer consistency.

  15. says

    Couldn’t agree more, Collin.

    As with a majority of all start-ups right now, they need to start realizing the power of restraint. What is the point of have 10+ social networks you can attach to your Klout profile if their score is always changing and total bullshit?

    If the core of your brand, and service, is broken stop trying to divert attention and appease the masses. Fix the core. Your company will be around much longer that way.

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