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The New Klout Scoring Model Reflects a Shift to Klout 2.0


Introduction

Key happenings in October 2011: the NFL in full swing, Halloween, a World Series that was a true October classic and a new scoring model from Klout. I think the World Series received the most commentary, with the Klout scoring changes finishing a close second.

For the most part, people’s Klout scores went down. And not surprisingly, that created a stir, with reactions that ranged from annoyance to sheer outrage.

My Klout score dropped quite a bit. And while I was initially dismayed by the drop, further reflection leads me to conclude that the scoring changes reflect a shift (on their part) from Klout 1.0 to Klout 2.0. Let’s first summarize Klout 1.0.

Klout 1.0

Klout 1.0 was all about generating awareness. Klout was happy to have leading social media experts tweeting about the service and logging in daily to check on their score (and how much it rose in the past day). In addition, Klout kept us all hooked via a crafty use of game mechanics. These game mechanics had us checking our score each day (on klout.com) and engaging with the service. Examples:

Appointment.

While a time was not pre-determined, we did feel an “appointment need” to login to the site each day to check on our latest “rewards.”

Progression.

On your Dashboard page, Klout listed out the following steps:

  1. Connect with Twitter
  2. Connect with Facebook
  3. Follow Klout on Twitter
  4. Like Klout on Facebook
  5. Share Your Klout Score
  6. Visit your profile

When you completed a step, it was visually “crossed out.” The progression dynamic certainly worked on me, in the same way that I was compelled to make my profile “100% complete” on LinkedIn.

Virtual currency.

Second Life has Linden dollars, Klout has “+K” (and they do not cost any US Dollars, unlike Lindens). Each Klout user has an allotment of “+K” that they can award to other users for selected topics. If I think a friend is an expert in social media, I can award her “+K” on that topic. It’s not clear whether receiving +K’s has an impact on your Klout score, though.

Points.

Your Klout score is a form of “points.” And Klout makes you all too aware of your score and its comparison to other users’ scores. In fact, Klout.com allows you to compare yourself to another user. Klout will tell you things like:

  1. You have a higher Klout score
  2. You have a larger Network Influence
  3. You have a larger Amplification Probability
  4. You have a larger True Reach

Status.

Klout’s algorithm assigns you into a particular category (or status). I’m a “Specialist,” which Klout describes as such:

You are a Specialist. You may not be a celebrity, but within your area of expertise your opinion is second to none. Your content is likely focused around a specific topic or industry with a focused, highly-engaged audience.

Klout 2.0

Klout 1.0 made savvy use of game mechanics to stir up early interest and engagement. In the 1.0 world, user advocacy was a big thing, as early adopters who told other early adopters allowed awareness and usage to spread.

The change of scoring method, however, signals a clear shift from the users of Klout to the underlying score itself. Frankly, Klout could care less about noisy users (who are unhappy with their scores dropping). Their focus, instead, is to become the gold standard for online influence.

comScore is “a global leader in measuring the digital world and preferred source of digital business analytics.” Nielsen provides “the complete view of what consumers watch and buy through powerful insights that clarify the relationship between content and commerce.”

Today, Klout sells Klout Perks programs to advertisers.  In the near future, I think Klout wants to become the comScore and Nielsen of online influence.

Conclusion

I have to admit that when my Klout score decreased, I logged into the site much less frequently. But for Klout, that’s OK. What they care about is the fact that the right methodology is now in place behind my current score – one they can track and maintain over time, for the benefit of “watchers” (e.g. advertisers and other future clients).

What are your thoughts on Klout? Share them with us in the Comments section below.

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