Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Klout Has Done it Again.

Shifting methodology. It doesn't mean much to most people. I’m fascinated by it since I’m a market research “nerd”. And I want ALL the answers (which Klout will not be doling out).

However, this time, I’m a happy camper. Why? Because my score went UP instead of down from the last time the methodology was changed. So you’re either grinning or you’re bummed right now. Is it good that Klout keeps changing their methodology? Yes and No.

Yes, because they’re fine tuning it to better represent your behavior on social networks. Oh, but couldn’t they have gotten it right the first time? Unfortunately social networks tweak things too so some tune-up is necessary to reflect that. Facebook, for example, makes changes all the time (and without telling users first). 

I shudder to think what would happen if Facebook ever changed “like” to a ten point scale; all heck would break loose.

And no, because frankly, it devalues what they're doing in the eyes of the user, especially if your score drops. A change like this is bound to create a few new skeptics. It can hurt the brand if it's not handled in the right way. The good news is we were forewarned and they've explained their philosophy as to the why (in very general terms, but hey, they're trying).

Here’s a snippet from what Klout has to say about the change:

Today we’re releasing a new scoring model with insights to help you understand changes in your influence. This project represents the biggest step forward in accuracy, transparency and our technology in Klout’s history. 

Influence is the ability to drive action and is based on quality, not quantity. When someone engages with your content, we assess that action in the context of the person’s own activity. These principles form the basis of our PeopleRank algorithm which determines your Score based on:

how many people you influence,
how much you influence them and
how influential they are.

Furthermore they state what’s coming up around the corner:

Now, we can add more networks and other sources of your influence much, much faster.

Insights help you understand why your Score changed. Each day, you can see which subscore and people in your network caused that change. You can also view insights on your friends’ profiles.

Okay, I’m liking this part about seeing the people that caused the change. Now the market research side of me will observe and get to the bottom of all this. 

Curious me can’t wait to analyze the situation! Will I start altering my behavior to increase my score? No. I’m not overly concerned about what my score is and I certainly hope you don’t measure ME or anyone else by that. Look at the content that’s being delivered to you instead!

Despite that, I can’t help smirking just a little bit since my score went up by eight points on my main Klout account. Yeah, I have three. And all of them went up, the second one by 19 points, the third one by 14. One of the accounts has a Facebook page with a very high level of engagement and activity. I couldn’t understand why the Klout score was so low since Facebook represented 90% of the score. So perhaps there was a flaw there that has been fixed.

Now, what exactly IS that algorithm? Klout can’t tell us that; then their trade secrets are out! All I can tell you is be engaging and respond to people, be who you are and don’t change because of a score.

Dylan sang about change and plugged in his guitar. Eddie Vedder does a stirring rendition of that historic tune below. And if you're in for a little change, then stop by and say hello! Twitter, Facebook, Google+, or the website.


Shannon Grissom said...

Not to hot on Klout, deleted my account, but I love Eddie Vedder!

@kstaxman said...

Well at least this time Klout is being more forthcoming on what goes into one's score. And of course they can't really share the math with us anymore than Google or Bing can share their secretes.

But what everyone I talk to Klout about seems to find most upsetting and the problems that make them hate Klout so much are instability and the total lack of customer help or support.

And as many of you here who follow Gerry on Modland know she was caught up in the later problem after Klout dropped one of two FaceBook accounts she had tied to her main Klout account.

But in this case Klout did finally fix things but only after a very disruptive week and the whole mess was so un-necessary.

And while in the end most people would accept that Klout isn't perfect and that the nature of social media make it hard to monitor and score accounts what they won't accept is Klout’s indifference. And knowing that often times Klout pays little or no attention to the very people they provide their services too just isn't going to cut it.

Of course that's true across the internet as from Google & Yahoo to Microsoft live & Google apps people are largely left out of the equation and customer service is seldom anywhere to be found.

And that's the part Klout needs to understand and fix. If they are ever going to finally be accepted with more than a grudging acceptance they are going to have to be stable and accountable.