kloutscorewallIs Klout getting a bum rap, spitefully pilloried in critical commentary such as my post on November 12 on opting out of Klout? Guest author Tammy Kahn Fennell believes that services like Klout and PeerIndex deserve fairer assessment.

Let me open with this. I am not invested in any influence score company. My company, MarketMeSuite integrates with Klout and Peer Index as one of about 20 other integrations. And we also have the option to turn off influence entirely.  I am writing this because from where I’m standing, influence (specifically Klout) is being given a bad name not because of what it measures, but because how the company profits from it. I thought it was time to think long and hard about whether we want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. Neville was nice enough to give me a chance to post an opposing viewpoint to his “Out of Klout” article. Thanks Neville.

Let’s look at the facts of recent events:

Klout made an announcement they were shifting their algorithm to focus less on how much you post, and more on how engaging you are.

They gave people a week’s notice for this.

A couple of weeks ago a whole lot of people woke up to realize they were a fair bit less influential than they were the day before.

Whenever there’s a big change, it causes people to re-evaluate. And when an algorithm shift “disses” a whole bunch of people and flat out says “you’re less cool than you thought,” people can get a little angry.

Anger Turns To Spite

But what I’ve seen happen goes beyond anger. What I’ve seen happen is that people have turned incredibly spiteful toward influence metrics.  Now, if you think it’s a load of BS and that there’s really no way to measure or rank, then fine, I’ll leave you in peace. But what I’m striving to put to rest is the ambiguity around whether people are attacking influence metrics themselves, or just Klout. Neville pointed out in a comment reply to me that he doesn’t feel the same about Peer Index, because he feels the company is run by a nice group of people and that may be true.The folks over at PI are very nice, that’s for sure, but, when my PI score and Klout score are within points of each other, one can’t help but wonder if the metric is actually correct, and that people are condemning influence as a metric because they have it in for one company, Klout.

(As an aside, I have spoken to the folks at Klout and have never found them to be the Ogres they are being painted as, but that’s not the point of this article. We must not judge usefulness on how much we like people in the company, but on whether it is actually useful.)