This site is not about social media, I have never intended to comment on blogging or social media. One reason is because I do not feel I have the knowledge, experience or expertise to do so, the other because it is intended to be a travel site.
However this post is going to be an exception as every worthy rule deserves a worthy exception.
“Klout has proven to be unreliable”
Klout is a company that compiles information about you whether you have an account or not and professes to be the “standard of influence.” It creates a profile which is ‘scored’ is supposed to represent your influence and is available for outside agencies to view.
In theory this may seem like an effective way for PR agencies and tourism boards to select suitable site publishers to help promote their clients or regions. However in recent times Klout has proven to be unreliable with almost every persons score going up and down without any justifiable reason and without any understandable explanation being given.
Klout is a company, they are a business and they are making money from what they do. Their product is us! Regardless of whether you agree or not they benefit from scoring and basically placing you on a popularity table.
They recently changed the metrics they use which resulted in almost everybody waking up to find their score dropped by anything from ten to fifteen points or more. This was also accompanied by an online statement declaring that their metrics would be more transparent.
“sceptical about Klout”
However scores have continued to go up and down erratically without any explanation.
I have been sceptical about Klout for many months and have been questioning how they operate via numerous emails. I have enquired about the reasons for these erratic metrics and to date have not received any real explanation. The replies I have received have usually been condescending and have not really provided any substantial answer. My last email from them said:
“ It looks like your Score increased recently. http://klout.com/#/MalloryOnTravel/score-analysis Thanks!”
The implication being that there was not any need to answer, now it has risen again be happy and shut up. However there was not any explanation why it had dropped by several points initially or why it had suddenly shot back up.
I have requested several times to have statistical evidence provided which demonstrates the reasons behind the huge swings in ‘influence’ shown on my account profile. To date they have not provided any such evidence. That does not appear very transparent.
“it is not an exact science.”
This disregard for the people that are in fact their product, the very people that are enabling them to profit from sponsors and advertising is pretty arrogant.
Another site publisher stated to me recently “it is not an exact science.” Why? They use metrics, they have access to our accounts, have all our information, they know how many followers/likes we have, they are aware how many tweets/retweets/mentions/comments we get, why aren’t their algorithms more accurate and reliable?
Most of us do not really pay much attention to Klout scores anymore, we have realised long ago that they cannot be trusted. The unfortunate truth however is that some agencies do still put credence in the ratings they provide. The score they provide could affect your ability to get on a press trip, obtain sponsorship or possibly even future employment.
“it is about ego!”
Your score is affected by several factors not just the number of retweets/comments you receive but also the influence of the people that engage with you. There has even been some suggestion that certain ‘influencers’ do not communicate with those with lower scores to prevent an adverse effect on their own score. If there is any truth in this, it is not about influence it is about ego!
Klout has asked us all to link several accounts to them including Google+ and Flickr, both of which have been ‘linked’ for several months. The premise being this will provide greater accuracy of your influence but Google+ has only recently been included and metrics from Flickr are still only for ‘authorisation token’ purposes. What does that actually mean? If they are unable to use these accounts as yet it is hard to understand why they are needed.
Klout does not appear to have much regard for how it does its business, is far from transparent in its dealings but seems unlikely to change. The only way change is likely to come about is if they are forced to do so. It is possible to opt out of their metrics, although they have not made it an easy prospect of course. Details of how to do so are in Jure Klepic’s post.
Up to now I have mainly just regarded Klout as a minor irritation, not to be taken seriously. I have attempted to take them to task on several occasions however just out of my own curiosity. It is time to consider my own participation in the business of this company.
Maybe it is time for many of us to take a stand and “opt out of klout” I am hoping this will produce some lively debate, please contribute and leave your opinion here.