By catering only to big brands, @Klout is reducing its usefulness


Klout Brands

Every few months, it seems that Klout makes changes to try to bring its importance to a higher level and push itself into the mainstream consciousness. Every few months, the changes that Klout makes push them further into obscurity and away from mainstream consciousness because they try too hard to appeal to the people that simply don’t care. When they do this, they reduce the very thing that could actually make them better known and talked about more often: overall usefulness.

The last algorithm change seemed to set “caps” on how “influential” people could be based upon their position in the real world. You’d be hard-pressed to find any “average citizen”, even those extremely popular on social media, who have a Klout score higher than 79. Conversely, they rewarded many people who only know what “clout” means and have no idea what the “K” variation even represents.

Recently, they made a UI change that eliminates one of the most important components of Klout: influencers based on most +Ks received. When logged into Klout, you can navigate to others’ profiles and give them a “+K” for various topics in which they’ve demonstrated understanding or influence. It can be as simple as posting a lot about a topic on social media; my wife knows a little about coffee but she was an influencer because she posted about her various cups every morning.

They used to divide it into two sections – Top Influencers and Most +Ks Received for a topic. They eliminated the latter. This is a tremendous mistake. It was arguably the most valuable discovery component of the site, helping users find others who were active and aggressively promoting their expertise in certain subjects.  The people who were once listed as Top +K recipients in the topic above, “General Motors“, were extremely informative about the car manufacturer. They talked about the topic often, covered stories regarding GM, and offered real value to those who would want to seek them out.

By eliminating this feature, they are focusing only on the people that the Klout team has selected on any particular topic. The problem is that the selections are awful. I don’t need Klout to tell me that @GMCanada is influential for the topic. What’s worse is that some of the people on the ‘Top General Motors Influencers” do nothing on social media regarding General Motors. Sure, they might be influencers because one is an assistant manager of program operations, but I have zero interest in Klout identifying people who have a GM badge on their polo shirt that Tweet about their cats and the music they’re listening to all day.

Perhaps worst of all is that a couple of the “Top General Motors Influencers” have no apparent connection with GM at all. One used to, but does not anymore. Another shows no signs of interest or association with General Motors whatsoever.

This is useless. The people who were once listed on here meant something. You could turn to Klout to find people who were actively involved in conversations about particular topics. You could engage with them. There is nobody on this list that could help me if I were writing a story about General Motors (I happen to be doing just that, which is why I navigated to the page in the first place).

Klout is trying too hard to disassociate themselves with the “average folks” and they want to mingle with real players in the world. Unfortunately, it’s the real players in the world who have no need or interest in their Klout score. Are they ever going to learn to stop crapping on the people who actually care about the site? We’ve seen this happen before. Digg, 2010. It didn’t work out so well for them.

  1. How I finally came to the decision to dump Klout was based on my own score. They gave me a 68 and I am influential in virtually nothing ; ) Then I evaluated the amount of time I was spending every day either giving +k or responding to +k received and decided I could use that time educating myself or interacting with real people of influence. I also have seen people change the way they post on social sites just to try and manipulate their Klout score. What a nightmare.

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