Local, Online reputation, social media, Twitter

Klout Rating is Misleading

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By Eric Van Buskirk

Trusting Klout as authoritative in measuring peoples’ ascendancy and influence with social media is like believing a Golman Sachs analyst who gave the company a buy rating and justifies why the company’s employees are receiving an average bonus of $292,000 this year.  The people that clog my stream most on Twitter are using software to auto post regurgitated information.  Similarly, much of the  financial services industry involves a blizzard of transactions which bring high profits and salaries for activity that doesn’t produce real value.

It’s misleading for Klout.com to claim they are providing an accurate measure of meaningful online influence.  Users with a high Klout Score are often people that take content from other websites and “share it,” re-purposed in some cases to try to show they are adding value.  In fact, I’ve noticed  a trend on Google Plus where many users post a torrent of photographs with improper copyright citations.  They are siphoning off the value from original content creators in the same way that made-for-adsense spammers used to auto-create websites to spam Google’s search results.  A well-designed spambot can achieve a similar Klout rating to a minor celebrity, but that won’t generate real interest.

Klout ranking is inaccurate: Rusty Williams was my boss in 1999 at Delphi Forums (delphi.com). As the VP of marketing for one of the four original online providers in the early 90s, He spoke at a conference with Steve Case, and told the audience the WEB is where online activity would be in the future. Case said all would be proprietary, closed networks (a concept which would throw up roadblocks to wide online conversation). @rustyw doesn't push out voluminous amounts of content to social media sites-- like most knowledgeable social media users. 100s-1000s of spambots have higher Klout scores than him.

 

For businesses becoming increasingly focused on social media, the news of Klout’s release must have been a relief. At last there was a concrete way to measure Twitter influence or track responses on Google+. However, many have reported  complaints from users, saying Klout’s scoring is seriously flawed. Elevate  Local demonstrates how a person behing @_BorgCollective spams twitter to increase Klout ranking.

The biggest problem is that Klout crunches numbers regardless of content—a serious omission, considering the dependence of social media on credible content. The plain figures Klout provides are useful enough for personal sites that chase trends looking for followers and retweets, but are too unreliable for business or social media power user tracking.  It remains to be seen whether Klout scores can live up to there current high reputation with those that haven’t looked closely at how it judges online influence.

 

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8 Comments to “Klout Rating is Misleading”

  1. I sent @Rustyw an email to clarify my info above about Delphi Internet Services beating AOL “to the Web” and the conference where he and Case expressed a diffference in opinion about an “open” network. Here’s his responce

    “The reality is I spoke at a conference before he spoke and he came early to hear the perspective of why the internet would become the connection between everyone rather than proprietary networks. Eventually, of course, AOL made a huge investment in the the web and became the on-ramp for a large portion of the population. We were ahead of the curve for a while, but Case and the crew at AOL embraced the changes quickly and built the dominant company around the concept of simplifying access. Again, that’s probably outside the scope of the point you’re making but explains why Steve Case has a much higher Kout score today and is working for the Obama administration flying on Air Force One. Rusty”

  2. I’m glad you linked a “gamer” post. That’s one thing we’re seeing – people know that they can spend 5 or 10 minutes at a time replying to random tweets from people they never engage with, in order to increase their “reach”. What good are you actually doing for yourself or your brand if your efforts are so unfocused on your actual goals?

  3. @bellebeandog

    Your blog post on Belle Bean Chicago ( http://www.bellebeanchicagodog.com/2011/10/klout-algorithm-is-inaccurate.html) is just as telling as the one I linked to that mentioned gaming Klout ranking. All of this raises broader questions about Twitter and Klout. I’m absolutely amazed how little people talk about the way in which Twitter is used as a spam platform. It’s ILLEGAL to send spam email, it is NOT illegal to auto-setup and run 100 twitter accounts a day which then send as many DMs as they can via niche keyword like “Ipod 4s” before getting banned. Last I heard, doing this brought about $70 a day in affiliate income. But multiply that by three and you’ve just upset 1000s of people every day and made $210 a day with a VPS and good auto Twitter software. Of course, a Klout rating doesn’t tell us who is ANTI-social. Maybe more on target is the fake celebrities (posers, pretending to be “Kate Winslet” for example). Their Klout score is misleading– no pretty much fraudulent. They easily game the Klout score algo, but they also even game real humans that aren’t paying much attention. Twitter is one of my favorite websites ever online, but like all great things it works better for those that stay educated about what they’re using.

  4. @bellebeandog@EricVanBuskirk — Thanks for sharing this information. I’ve been confused about the sudden drop and how the points were chosen. Interested to see what Klout has to say about this!!

    • @corisbigmouth@bellebeandog Honestly, I think the idea of an algorithmic judge of social “behavior” with no humans fact checking…well it’s problematic. Google judges relevance and other factors for websites. But there’s a different dynamic here. I honestly would jump on the wagon of people who are trying to speak up about how Klout is a poor judge.

      Also, Klout.com doesn’t have access or the data or purse strings an algorithmic based service like Google has.

  5. Klout is a deprived evaluator.Well,thank you for posting this article.

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