Posted October 5, 2010 7:08 pm by with 3 comments

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The world is full of leader and followers and no where is this more evident than in social media. For marketers, connecting with one leader, that one influential voice in a given niche, is worth a 1,000 followers. That’s where Klout comes in. Kout was originally imagined as another internet badge of honor that you could wave in the faces of your friends. Founders Joe Fernandez and Binh Tran soon found that the system was a gold mine for marketers looking to locate the whales in a sea of little fish.

Klout uses a complex ranking system that rates a person’s worth in the social media world. It looks at not only how many followers you have, but who they are and what content you and they post, click on, retweet, etc. Originally the system was devoted mostly to Twitter use, but they’ve now added Facebook data and according to an article in AdAge, YouTube, Linkedin, MySpace and Digg aren’t far behind. The more data, the merrier, right?

Now, what do you do with that data? We already know that marketers can use it to target influencers but how about a more practical application. Says AdAge, the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is working on “The Klout Klub,” which “will allow high-ranking influencers to experience Palms’ impressive set of amenities in hopes that these influencers will want to communicate their positive experience to their followers.”

The Klout data shows up when a reservation agent accesses a person’s account and in the future, it will be the deciding factor on who gets the Kingpin Suite or free tickets to a show. And you thought updating your Facebook page was a waste of time!

The downside here is that it’s a putting our eggs in one basket deal. Says AdAge,

“Klout is like having just one credit monitoring company. You might do spectacularly good or have a terrible ranking but the validity of the ranking system itself has yet to be proven until you have another service to compare it to.”

Which brings up a scary, big brotherish, point. Suppose my bank decides to use Klout scores to determine the interest on a mortgage loan. Andy’s got it made in the Klout shade, but I’m in big trouble. (Apparently, I’m not as influential as I thought I was.)

Come to think of it, the whole idea of ranking people by Klout then offering rewards to the top of the list smacks of high school, doesn’t it? Want to sit with me at lunch? Hang on while I check your Klout, then we’ll talk.

  • Klout is quite simply the most obnoxious idea I’ve come across in the social media space for a very long time. And that really is saying something.

  • I like the idea of scoring an individuals extended network. The whole Twitter follow ratio thing seems to totally miss the boat along these lines. I’d be curious to see examples comparing Twitter follower ratios/volume and Klout score.