TOTAL SHARES 174

Prisoner of Klout

A couple of months back, I wrote about online influence tool Klout, and their approach to how they build their membership (they use opt-out profiling, versus the more widely-used opt-in).

The main concern I had was the fact it was so difficult to leave Klout if you didn’t want to be seen as endorsing their product. As of today, two months later, my profile is still live, despite requests to be removed.

While the likes of Twitter, Facebook and Empire Avenue allow you to delete your account with one click, Klout has a bunch of hoops to go through – and even then, it would appear it doesn’t make much difference.

To his credit, Joe Fernandez – the CEO of Klout – reached out to me via email and addressed the fact that they were still working on how to best approach the opt-out / opt-in process, and that he would love to hear some ideas.

I sent an email back to Joe, but haven’t heard back yet – understandable, I can appreciate he’s busy. So here’s the reply below:

Hi Joe,

I think the single biggest issue is that it’s so difficult to leave.

I understand completely how you gather the information, but the advice from your marketing manager Megan on how to stop yourself from being measured isn’t very business-friendly. Megan’s advice is to make your feeds private – but for someone who does a lot of their business online, making your feeds private is like committing commercial suicide.

Let’s say every single person online did that – Klout itself would have no reason to exist, since your information-gathering tools would have nothing to gather. So you can see the folly of that approach.

There are millions of people wanting to use Klout as a barometer of their “existence”. Fair enough – that’s your audience and the people you sell to investors and companies buying into the Klout ideal.

But there are also many people who don’t wish to be a part of a non-regulated system, and one that can (rightly or wrongly) be used as a third-party validator for expertise. For those people, it should be a simple option of “Delete My Account”, which the likes of Empire Avenue, Facebook, Google, Twitter and more offer.

Making it easy to leave should be as simple as it is for Klout to set up an account for you in the first place, whether you approve it or not.

Thanks for listening,

Danny.

As an addition to this, my friend Lucretia Pruitt had a great idea. Simply have a page that says “This user does not wish to be profiled by Klout, and we respect his/her wishes.” And for that user, don’t allow the option of being pinged by people on Twitter to check their Klout score, nor be invited to Klout itself.

I know there are many people for whom Klout is incredibly useful. I know there are also many people for whom Klout is just a bit of fun, or something they want no part in (especially when it comes to affecting your career path, based on a limited algorithm).

For these people, let them have the option of not being profiled on Klout. Then everyone is happy, and no-one can accuse the platform of just trying to boost numbers by having profiles on there that don’t want to be.

How about you – what would you suggest Klout does better when it comes to people who have no interest in being on their platform?

Update: As of November 1st 2011, there is an Account Deletion option in the Klout dashboard. Finally.

image: remuz

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90 Comments on "A Letter to Joe Fernandez of Klout"


Klout: Has the service improved?
1 year 5 months ago

[…] the controversial service that claims to be able to measure our influence, say that their algorithm has become more accurate, […]

ab2bc
3 years 3 months ago

Hi Danny, after reading this post, I opt’d out of Klout. I wanted to before and didn’t see the option available. One perfect example of the misguidance is how a pretty face attracts traffic. The prettier the woman, the greater the following, thus the higher ranks they achieve. This is so widely know that men have incorporated using female images in their profiles attracting more attention to their endeavors. I am caught in the numbers game myself, but work hard at building up those numbers.

DannyBrown
3 years 3 months ago

@ab2bc There’s definitely more to Klout than meets the eye (no pun intended). This post went up today, and has an interesting line of code to look at:

http://www.punkviewsonsocialmedia.com/does-klout-use-your-kids-facebook-profile-inflate-their-numbers/

Fun times ahead.

bluebus
3 years 4 months ago

@andypiper Thanks for the heads up on klout. A friend has had concerns that I ignored and it does now look like I was being lax.

andypiper
3 years 4 months ago

Well @bluebus I’ve been ignoring concerns about @klout as well but their privacy lapses are unacceptable. Sooner I’m off it the better.

Val_Ce
3 years 4 months ago

@Giaskincare @dannybrown #BoaNoite

sanford
3 years 4 months ago

Interestingly, we at PeerIndex offer a setting in your profile to opt-out of tracking – in keeping with the wishes of our members. Check your Settings page for me.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@sanford Hi Sanford,

Does opting out of tracking also mean opting out of having a public profile dispplayed, and tie into something like @LucretiaPruitt ‘s suggestion?

Cheers for the heads-up, appreciated.

sanford
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@LucretiaPruitt No problem Danny – happy to be part of the conv.

Simply put, we are making it such that the first call is to remove you completely – nothing in our database. We do have in the roadmap the ability to provide a no-robots like feature which means your info can be included, but not seen by the web crawlers. Additionally, we are focusing on providing more control over your own data in the coming weeks. Be ready for a change in the conversation.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@sanford@LucretiaPruitt Great to hear, Sanford, and will check out these features more. Cheers again, sir.

jureklepic
3 years 4 months ago

Danny in fact they can remove your profile if they really want, check this out http://klout.com/loudmouthman he got removed of course after few email exchanges! :) Just how accurate Joe with his info!

M_M_
3 years 3 months ago

I’ve sent them 5 emails in the last 48 hours asking them to disable my profile and haven’t even gotten so much as an auto-response. I’m emailing the accounts that @meganberry and @klout and @joefernandez keep telling people to send questions to. NO response. Not even an email telling me that they received my message which is common business practice for most online services. I’m wondering how long it’s going to take to get them to even respond? Or if they even WILL? @jureklepic@kred

jureklepic
3 years 3 months ago

@M_M_ Hey I dont know in which country you live, but by the law they have 30 days time to reply on you request. You might want to send them next:

Your Name:

Address City,

State Zip

Klout Inc.

Megan Berry

Privacy Officer

77 Stillman Street,

San Francisco,

CA 94107

Tel: 415-520-3951

Fax: 415-777-2001

Re: Cease and Desist

Dear Ms. Berry:

Pursuant to my rights under federal privacy law, I am requesting that you:

a.) cease and desist communication with me, b.) stop tracking my online activities on various social media platforms, c.) stop sharing my personal information with 3rd parties without my consent d.) permanently delete my account that you created on your website (www.klout.com) without my prior consent.

You are hereby notified that if you do not comply with this request, I will immediately file a complaint with the Federal Privacy Commissionar office, and the San Francisco Attorney General’s office. Civil and criminal claims will be pursued.

Sincerely, Your Name

Hope this help.

jureklepic
3 years 3 months ago

@M_M_ Yes even if you are in USA! If you need anymore help message me on my twitter and i will help you!

M_M_
3 years 3 months ago

Even if I am in the USA? (Thank you!) @jureklepic@kred

jureklepic
3 years 3 months ago

@M_M_ just send them the letter above and they will disable your profile asap.

M_M_
3 years 3 months ago

Thank you. I do not have the money to get a lawyer to follow through with civil and criminal claims. That is one of my big problems. @jureklepic@kred

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@jureklepic I know @Brian Driggs finally got his profile removed (and, I believe, that of his wife’s) after suggesting he’d raise the issue with over a million readers on his forum. Maybe Klout only understands large numbers themselves… ;-)

jureklepic
3 years 3 months ago

@DannyBrown@Brian Driggs I just want to make small correction that i discovered this morning. Id you have good eye you will see that they dont deleted your account, but they only mask your account behind THIS ACCOUNT IS CURRENTLY DISABLED. I checked this morning and catch Brian’s profile for few seconds, with score and topics. I bet 3rd parties companies will still see your data. Is despicable what they are doing and trying to play us around!

Brian Driggs
3 years 4 months ago

Actually, Danny. My wife’s profile is still up there, despite my being told to follow Klout with her account, send them a DM to confirm account ownership, and request removal. Just more subterfuge, I guess.

Then again, never attribute to malice that which can be adequately explained by ignorance, right? Just a shame to see an organization which so clearly cares very little for people stand to make such significant profits on the names and likeness of those people.

And it just makes me sad to see they are so nonchalant about what is clearly a legal issue. Neither Klout’s not Twitter’s Terms & Conditions supersede the laws of the state of California wherein they make their headquarters. They’re lucky the bulk of the people whose influence they’ve rated either don’t know or don’t care.

Oh, and I noticed @JoeFernandez was participating in #toolschat from Dublin last night. “Tools Chat,” indeed.

AdamWeitner
3 years 4 months ago

I have a feeling that the backlash they are receiving today regarding the new updates to their algorithm (read comments at the bottom of the blog here: http://corp.klout.com/blog/2011/10/a-more-accurate-transparent-klout-score/) is only helping to keep them anti-opt-out.

Had the option to opt-out been easy and readily available, they would have likely lost a great number of users today, and you can be damn sure they know that. I am feeling less confident there will ever be an opt-out, save for some kind massive legal case against them that forces them into it… Sigh…

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@AdamWeitner You know, that’s a good point, mate. It may come down to legal cases, and there certainly seems to be a lot of information for anyone looking to go that route, as per @Brian Driggs comment further down.

Looking into international versions. And funnily enough, Bob LeDrew just had a guest post go up here that looks a little more at the overnight changes. ;-)

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

The problem is that legal cases cost money. And you have to be able to show damages – you can’t just say “that guy is posting information that is publicly available and I don’t want him to!!” Even with the ‘score’ – well, Rotten Tomatoes shows scores on movies – and it’s considered an opinion. Until someone can show that a ‘low Klout score’ somehow impacted him/her materially? You aren’t going to see any lawsuits here in the US.

jureklepic
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@LucretiaPruitt Well I will show them that Canada protects their residents CPI and PIPEDA loves company who breaches privacy concerns :)

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@LucretiaPruitt True. Although there’s always a first, especially in the litigation-happy US. ;-)

karirippetoe
3 years 4 months ago

Wow, @DannyBrown – you’re really on a tear about Klout lately, aren’t you? ;-)

I used to be totally into the idea of Klout. On paper, it is kind of a good idea. But the whole thing is becoming more and more convoluted, and I’m just getting more and more disillusioned with it. Our scores depend on an algorithm, and algorithms are by no means perfect. There are lots subtle nuances of influence that just can’t be quantified.

Most of our scores have dropped quite a bit today, and I fear that too many decision-makers are going to put all their eggs in the Klout-influence basket and someone won’t get hired for something as a result. We’re talking about a life-changing event hanging on an imperfect score! Joe Fernandez out to think about that and focus on developing an easy opt-out process – rather than on fixing an algorithm that’s always going to be broken.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@karirippetoe Haha, I’m guessing the guest post I just set live will only go to enforce that image, miss. :)

The algorithm is the biggest flaw – you can’t define yourself as “the standard for influence” when you’re measuring a very limited (and North American-based) set of platforms.

What’s disappointing is that the team seem to be blase about solutions, and are more concerned about getting their numbers up.

Time will tell if they make (in my view) the right move and allow only those who want to use their system to be part of it, and everyone else can go merrily on their way.

TNTAnderson
3 years 4 months ago

Dan, I completely agree with your Klout issues. I dumped Klout this morning. Nothing to do with my score dropping, just another thing that does not matter to me, and I don’t want any part of.

I thought it was interesting when I first registered. Now it seems use less – too many ways to trick the Klout system. Games I am not willing to play. As they add more ‘stuff’ to your score, it is just going to get more and more convoluted.

Now it seems that my Klout score will haunt me for the rest of my internet life. Guess I can always establish a new online indentity?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@TNTAnderson Hey there Tim,

That’s the really annoying thing, mate – they put you on their system easily enough, but make it damn hard to leave. Maybe they should rename themselves Kult…?

(I’m only half-joking).

ginidietrich
3 years 4 months ago

And today they changed their rankings and everyone’s scores dropped. But the thing that kills me is how they’re using PeopleRank. There are three criteria and one of them is how influential the people are that are following you and conversing with you. That, to me, is setting the social world up for lots of butt kissing of the perceived A-listers.

MediaLabRat
3 years 3 months ago

@ginidietrich I couldn’t agree with you more Gini. All these social ranking platforms have completely bastardized the notion of true influence. When just having a certain number (that can be totally gamed) will get you to the front of the line, that’s when its time to bail. Klout has basically turned Social Media into the digital version of the movie “Heathers” -uggggh. Oh no, did I just date myself with a reference to a 1988 movie? ~Sigh~

That being said, I am not beyond a little butt kissing to get you to take a look at Chirpaloo :) CC anneweiskopf

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich I want to make some tongue-in-cheek remark about wanting to reply but needing to go kiss some A-lister Twitter butt… but I can’t even make myself joke about this.PeopleRank makes sense when you’re talking about something like Quora or GitHub – but when you’re talking about Twitter? Yeah. Not so much.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich So basically people have to kiss arse of those deemed influential by Klout to be influential themselves? Haha, Krazy! ;-)

ginidietrich
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown That’s definitely how I read their message this morning.

Brankica
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich@DannyBrown I have never kissed any A butts, I don’t plan to start now. No score is worth getting “involved” with some of “those” LOL

sydcon_mktg
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich I totally agree! What I have always found intresting is that you can influence so many people with higher Klout scores than your own, and you still plummet – so that makes zero sense.

Also, I view these sudden changes and dumps in Klout scores as a way to get them more attention & tweets. A talking point.

BethKSchmitz
3 years 4 months ago

@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich I like this conversation. I’m really getting into the whole Klout score thing. I’m a little (leetle) competitive. So, I see opportunities to try this and that to see who it affects my score. Now that I know the new high score, per @davevandewalle is Eleventy Billion, I’m all up in arms! But honestly, I am a very private person who understands that somethings will not be private. My business conversations will not be private. That is what is out on the Internet. Klout can have them. Everything else is super-protected.

Brankica
3 years 4 months ago

@BethKSchmitz@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich has to be “associated with Danny” thing, mine dropped 9 points LOL.

The funny part is that a gal I know has way more influence than me is only one point better in Klout. Even I know that isn’t right!

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich my score is the same sadly. Gini was yours higher than 63 before?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@LucretiaPruitt@ginidietrich@HowieSPM@sydcon_mktg I’ll take that as a badge of honour. ;-)

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich@HowieSPM@sydcon_mktg except everyone’s didn’t Gini. According to their blog post? The “majority” stayed the same or went up. Wonder if there’s an “associated with Danny Brown” penalty ;)

rayhiltz
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich @HowieSPM @sydcon_mktg Will encourage more “gaming”. But they do say that it’s about influence, not relationships.

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

@ginidietrich@sydcon_mktg what? OK now that is Horse Hockey! This is like Facebook now. But we can kind of quit facebook (you can deactivate but you can never leave)

sydcon_mktg
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM@ginidietrich Mine dumped from a 50 to a 40. Funny thing is that they changed my scores going back a month. So, are they admitting that a month ago their algorithm was bad/off? Are we supposed to believe this one is right now?

ginidietrich
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM@sydcon_mktg Mine was 79 yesterday. I don’t mind it going down – everyone’s did. What I do mind is how they’re ranking people now. It’s a slippery slope.

Marcus_Sheridan
3 years 4 months ago

Any time we spend trying to increase/manipulate an empty number is time we could actually be creating something that truly has lasting benefits. I’m not a fan of Klout. Frankly, I simply don’t like how everything in this world has to be ranked. It’s like we’re losing our way.

This being said, I’ll be speaking at an event (in your neck of the woods DB) in a couple of weeks where Fernandez is keynoting, so I’m looking forward to speaking with him there and addressing my concerns about the direction of this whole thing.

Thanks for this DB,

Marcus

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@Marcus_Sheridan I wonder if he’d be up for evening dinner and a chat over drinks, mate? ;-)

It’s the manipulation and the emphasis on the scoring (and it’s reflection on people and how it makes them feel), that’s just crazy. Bob LeDrew has just made some great points about it all in his guest post on this very blog – the link is below. :)

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

@Marcus_Sheridan Klout isn’t the only company doing this. Edleman is as well with their Trust Barometer. While I often come down on Edleman in general I have a pretty high score.And this is a big issue to me obviously based on my comments and Danny’s post and everyone else who has given input here.

I say this a lot because Tom Moradpour of Pepsi said it best.

‘Klout only measures your Klout.’

There is no ‘influence’ in that statement. Kind of like my own epic saying: Social Media is a revolution in interpersonal communication technologies’ where the word marketing is not included.

In my opinion we are forcing the term influence into Klout vs actually viewing Klout as not a measure of influence but only a measure of Klout. The same as we force marketing into Social Media (advertising ruins everything new anyway LOL)

markaylward
3 years 4 months ago

Hey Danny

I’m not familiar with Klout, but have had the experience of having difficulty opting out of things online and it’s very annoying. Is Klout worth investigating, in your opinion? I am adamantly opposed to sites and applications exercising “control” over my preferences and wishes online.

Peace

Mark

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@markaylward Hi Mark,

I’m probably the wrong person to ask about Klout, as I’m not impressed with them one bit at the minute. ;-)

However… if I were to look at it from outside my personal views, I’d still say it’s limited but with possibilities. Though they need to do a lot of work to make it better.

But, like I say, I have a skewed opinion of them. ;-)

markaylward
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown Thanks Danny

I’ll put Klout in the closet for now. There’s enough shiny stuff to focus on:)

Mark

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

Unsurprisingly, I endorse this 100%.

While I, personally, currentlyhave no intention of opting out of Klout, I am a strong privacy advocate and believe that opt-in is the best model, followed closely by opt-out. Are you listening Klout?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@LucretiaPruitt It doesn’t need to be so difficult – one simple button. *Sigh*.

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown The funny part is that when I posted that this morning? I had no intention of opting out. But the latest “algorithm adjustment” actually is the last straw for me. I’ve ‘unlinked’ everything but my Twitter account (which it won’t let me disconnect.) http://yfrog.com/kjajo9j is the part that cracks me up so much though… Apparently last week? Either I or my “network” pissed off a *lot* of people. I kinda want that button now.

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown except that was last week that it plummeted… oooooh!!! Maybe their algorithm is psychic!! ;)

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@LucretiaPruitt Yeah, I can’t unlink my Twitter acount either. I’ve sent another email to delete my account completely, but I’m not holding my breath.

They must have known you took a day off from everywhere but FourSquare this week… ;-)

jureklepic
3 years 4 months ago

Danny great post, keen to see what Joe will reply to you. Yes Megan made same comments on my post when i raise privacy concerns, but guess what even if you made your profile private you will still have Klout Score / Profile. I even saw C/D order on their facebook profile posted by people who dont wish their profile up and running. Is a def a big privacy issue and seams like they dont wish to take care of it. Even when you register for Klout you never agree to their terms and conditions but only to twitter terms and conditions.

Is regulated by the law in USA that any marketing company which Klout is, should have an option of out put if you wish to do so. The excuses Klout provides are lame, the out put option is not an issue, as Kred who is as well influential measurement system provides to users to output their profile if they wish so and they are using the same public API as Klout does. A bigger issue with Klout is that nearly 2000 companies accessing Klout data base and Klout neither the companies has any users consents to do so… I raise same question several times but Joe or Klout just like to ignore it.

My 2 cents to your post, really glad you bring this issue out as well.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@jureklepic Hi there mate,

Completely agree, and @Brian Driggs makes some excellent points in his comment below, as well as refers to the regulations and law in the I.S. re. privacy and what can and can’t be shared (I’m currently looking into international versions).

And their update overnight seems to confirm that their previous algorithm was broken. So what’s to say this one isn’t too? ;-)

jureklepic
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@Brian Driggs I dont know if you saw, but their new algorithm is just a joke. I published the picture of pure spam profile with new Klout score of 77 and style of though leader. This tells all and again i stand behind theory Klout is popularity contest and has nothing to do with influence. Is only shame that so many news outlets like Forbes, WSJ, TWN and others cant see clear picture of concerns that we all raise. I never saw bigger paradox to influence. Joe said on an interview we can be compare to credit bureau difference is only we score people online. Well one thing Joe forgets is that non of credit bureaus out there are selling perks or making profiles public. Before anyone can access our credit score they need consent of us. But for me the funniest part is their standard claim. Every standard before become a standard is supported with studies and has an institute approval. Well number of RT, links shared, likes received, job titles and so on are not factors of influence. Influence is the power or ability to affect someone’s beliefs or actions and this is something that Klout would never be able to determine at least not with technique they are using now.

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@jureklepic@Brian Driggs – just as a point of note: the credit agencies weren’t originally regulated. http://is.gd/3jDTcp is a quick summary. The thing is? When credit scores started impacting the ability of the average person to buy essentials, open a bank account, or get a job? They got regulated. Just as soon as Klout or Kred or Peer Index start impacting the average person? Expect legislation. Until then, your only real recourses are to a) convince brands or clients that it’s not a reliable metric or b) resort to civil law suits if they damage your ability to make a living based.The thing about credit scores tho? If there’s an error or inaccurate information? There’s a process to appeal and correct it. Klout doesn’t apparently have that yet – but pretty sure that neither of the others do either.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@jureklepic@Brian Driggs@kred And that’s the thing, mate – FICO is regulated and the big three credit agencies need to adhere to strict policies and laws.

Something sites like Klout need to keep in mind, when it comes to user privay outwith the remit of what you share publicly.

Brian Driggs
3 years 4 months ago

Well, you know how I feel about Klout, Danny. I just consider myself fortunate my profile was taken down. Unfortunately, this comment needed paring down, as I’d “exceeded the character limit.” Uh-oh.

Information those upset by Klout might find useful:

California Civil Code 3344: Basically, it is illegal for any business to use an individual’s name or likeness for commercial purposes without their consent. Period. (Klout is located in SF, CA.)

If Twitter has an agreement with Klout, providing them with the data, I feel it important to consider we might be barking up the wrong tree. If there is no such agreement, I can’t see any reason why Klout’s T&C would have any authority over those who never consensually registered with them.

Klout Perks participants are publicly traded companies, which means you might be able to write their consumer affairs departments or boards of directors. These include: Audi of America, popchips, Lot18, Nike, Universal, Turner, HP, Spotify, Virgin America, Proctor & Gamble, Subway (Doctor’s Associates), Fox, Paramount Pictures.

Could you contact Klout’s funding partners: Kleiner Perkins, Caufield & Byers (KPCB), ff Venture Capital, and Greycroft Partners. These are the people looking to profit from Klout’s operations long term.

What would the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce have to say about things?

Are there any celebrities on Twitter with Klout profiles without their consent? I wonder what their agents and PR firms would have to say about their names and likenesses being displayed without their express, written consent on Klout’s website. Perhaps Alec Baldwin should set his profile to private too?

Last but not least, do we retain ownership of our Twitter profile pictures? Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) Takedown? Klout’s data center: Layer42.net.

I am not suggesting or otherwise endorsing anyone going postal against Klout, but rather suggesting there might be other ways to get your message across in the face of canned responses and a cold shoulder.

Do unto others.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@Brian Driggs Mate, thanks for all this information – hopefully it offers some options for anyone that’s being held hostage by Klout.

RyanMM
3 years 4 months ago

Not only can you not opt out, as djmeph pointed out in his recent icrontic article, you can’t even remove yourself from a list on Klout if you don’t want to be associated with the listmaker.

http://life.icrontic.com/article/a-major-flaw-in-klouts-social-media-influence-service/

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@RyanMMdjmephicrontic Crazy, huh? Makes me question the ethics of a company that allows that and makes it less than easy to resolve.

Brankica
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@RyanMMdjmephicrontic So does that mean we can add @ginidietrich to a list “people who eat a lot of raw meat” and she can’t get off the list? :))))

notagrouch
3 years 4 months ago

I agree that they should have an opt-out option. But in fact I believe they should be opt-in to begin with. Why should it be *our* responsibility to opt-out? — Well because that’s their business model. I get that.

To be fair, the other networks you mention don’t make it as easy as you claim in the article to opt out. In fact You can be traded in EmpireAvenue whether you’re in it or not, thus giving you a score that’s even more arbitrary and flawed than Klout’s.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@notagrouch Completely agree, opt-in should be the way forward for platforms like this. What, we’re still living in 1999 or something? ;-)

Wasn’t aware of that option in EA – wonder if it’s a new one since I left? Thanks for the heads-up, Oscar.

notagrouch
3 years 4 months ago

Exactly! on the ’99 reference. — But to play devil’s advocate… it is public information after all that they’re measuring. I’m not a lawyer or anything, but if we complain about not having the opt-out option, what happens to the other dozen websites out there that do the same thing and simply don’t tell us what the score is? Can we request to be opted out then as well? And so I think it’s a slippery slope.

If you had a great idea of grouping public data found on the internet, in a new, useful or unique way, and you could make bundles and bundles of money, get fame and fortune, wouldn’t you? The info is after all, public… indirectly we’ve opted-in by tweeting.

BTW, I’m also if I hadn’t made it clear also in favor of opt-in, in all platforms. And that includes shady growth business like having a friend opt-you in by doing something like buy shares on you or something… oh wait.

And as for Empire Ave., I’m referring to their Twitter index system. You can “buy stock” on any Twitter user whether they’ve joined the site or not. ( see: http://empireavenue.com/ipo/rankings )

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@notagrouch The thing is, though, any of the main sites with an ounce of decency allow the opt-out option.

Google and Yahoo, for example, allow you to be visible or not. Same ith Skype.

There are millions of people that swear by Klout – fair play to them, that’s their choice. But for those that have no interest in their parlour games, at least respect their wishes and leave them alone.

Before some legal challenge changes the game…

newdaynewlesson
3 years 4 months ago

Just out of curiosity. What tools do you like for measuring “ranking/influence” and such?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@newdaynewlesson Common sense. ;-)

It depends on what I’m looking for, Susie. If it’s a blogger outreach program, I recommend tools like Alltop and BlogDash. For social media projects, I’ll use tools like ViralHeat and sentiment trackers.

It’s really based on needs and relevance. Oh and elbow grease. ;-)

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

It is funny really I just go to the Klout page to give +K’s for all the stuff that is hilarious like Sheep or Bacon.And everyone knows my efforts to drop below 50 as a badge of honor.

I agree with you here Danny because there is one key thing Klout is missing. If they get your Klout wrong (and it is wrong right now in most aspects of measurement in my opinion) and someone uses Klout as their influence Bible…Klout is in fact slandering you in my opinion.

Can they be sued if it cost you money? Not sure. We all rate movies and music and apps and if we do not like them they can’t sue us. But the question is can Klout prove their measurement is accurate? That is my concern and thus in my view leaves them open to libel.

What if someone who has uber Klout turns out to be the opposite and you find this person and spend a bunch of money with them and then feel you were deceived and fleeced. Couldn’t their be the same libel issues here?

I am curious what adlawguy thinks.

LucretiaPruitt
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM Hope adlawguy comes to play. But slander is spoken, it’s libel that’s written. http://injury.findlaw.com/defamation-libel-slander/elements-of-libel-and-slander.html has a pretty good run down of the elements… but from a layman’s viewpoint I’d bet you’d be hard pressed to prove negligence on that one. Plus, you’d have to lose a *lot* of money before you’d be willing to bring that lawsuit individually (rather than a class action) no?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPMadlawguy You know, that’s a good point, Howie. I was speaking at an event organized by dmathias and one of then attendees said my name had come up as a sheep expert on Google (she was looking for her cousin, I think, who needed help with her farm).

Now, say I’d been contacted by her and said, “Why, yes, ma’am, I can help” and took all her money and ran, because I know next to nothing about sheep.

Or, a company hires someone based on (amongst other things) a high Klout score, and then go bankrupt due to that person’s ineptitude in business.

Are there possibilities of legal claims against Klout then?

Interesting questions, mate.

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown hoping adlawguy comes to play. He is my future laywer if I ever finally make enough to retain him 8)

AdamWeitner
3 years 4 months ago

Bravo, Danny. Keep fighting the good fight brother!

jeffreypjacobs
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown , really. Can’t you just go back to the way things were? Do you really want to upset the memories of all those good times we had? The +K on sheep, the meaningful tweetups at the Kout Hooker Shop (https://foursquare.com/v/klout-hooker-shop/4e1e308162e1b5dc70b4ed05), the sharing of all things non-influential? Please, Danny, I beg you to reconsider this madness!

OK, no I don’t. There are decisions being made about people in real life, careers definitely being altered, because of an algorithm that has yet to prove it is worthy of that weight.

Not to say it can’t get there, it just isn’t. Yet.

But we DID have some fun.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@jeffreypjacobs I do believe there’s an opening for a Llama Expert, of which I hear you’re incredibly eligible for. ;-)

jeffreypjacobs
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown High praise coming from you, in light of the fact that, despite your well-documented departure, you still are influential in the bedroom. Along with media, dogs and laptops. Hard to argue with that.

sydcon_mktg
3 years 4 months ago

Great letter, Danny. And as you know I agree with you about Klout. In reading your letter, I thought of something else. As a mom of a soon to be 13 year old (16 days, but who is counting?), it concerns me that she could end up with a Klout profile due to becoming active in social media and I couldnt have it removed. I could have Facebook remove her page, but Klout, not so much. I am sure there are already profiles of minors on Klout. I know for a fact my daughter has friends on Twitter and they do have Klout scores. So, now are they not sharing some information on minors (even if unkowningly due to age not being noted). Kids are already put thru enough, with bullying & peer pressure, do they really need to be rated on line? This is disturbing.

I also ran across this blog yesterday http://life.icrontic.com/article/a-major-flaw-in-klouts-social-media-influence-service/comment-page-1/#comment-3319 about a guy who just wanted to be removed from a list on Klout, but the only way to do that was to block someone on Twitter. Seems anyone can add you to a Klout list, again wether you like it or not. So, you could be associated in some shape or form with a individual or firm you would rather not be.

Klout has too many issues. This is a very long beta…maybe it needs to be a private beta and sort some of this stuff out. And, I think they need to rethink their tag line “the standard of influence” who decided that?

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@sydcon_mktg That’s a great point, Jennifer, and another reason it needs to be opt-in as opposed to opt-out (or at least give those profiled the option of Delete Account).

In fairness to Klout, they do have this on their Privacy ToS:

“Our Policy Towards Children

The Site is not directed to persons under 18. If a parent or guardian becomes aware that his or her child has provided us with personally identifiable information without their consent, he or she should contact us at privacy@klout.com. We do not knowingly collect personally identifiable information from children under 13. If we become aware that a child under 13 has provided us with personal identifiable Information, we will delete such information from our files.”

Of course, the problem with that is, how many parents or guardians will know of Klout and their policy of putting a profile up whether you know about it or not? There are just too many grey areas when it comes to the current approach.

I’m guessing the marketing team came up with the tagline. It is ironic, considering they only measure a very limited amount of networks, and no offline measurement at all… ;-)

sydcon_mktg
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown Good to know they have a policy towards children. I know 13 is the generally accepted age, but what happens if at age 13.5 a child is being bullied, and picked on then also has a low Klout score or finds themselves influential in something that mortifies them (who knows they could be teased for being influential in Sheep or something ;)). They should be able to delete their profile or their parents should.

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM@sydcon_mktg@ginidietrich Here’s the thing on the public info, mate. I denied access to my Twitter account for Klout and revoked their access, and yet they still bypass that and use my profile for their needs?

That’s complete BS and just shows what they’re interested in – percentages, not people.

ginidietrich
3 years 4 months ago

@HowieSPM It’s not nice to lie. I totally am not an expert in horses OR hockey. And you’re wrong… in private I say, “That’s total baloney.”

HowieSPM
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown@sydcon_mktg I think the problem is Twitter is public. Anyone with tools can collect the public tweets. And I have come to the conclusion Social media in general is kind of like when the guy shows up at the girls home to meet the parents. We kind of put on a false facade which really really really affects influence and listening forget Klout.

Good example @ginidietrich said Horse Hockey. In private don’t you think she says OMG That is such a bunch of horse shit?

BTW just checked Klout and she is an expert in horses and hockey. 8)

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@sydcon_mktg Agreed. I’m not a fan of the 13 age limit, as that still leaves a very young and impressionable child at the mercies of a platform’s supposed protection against anything bad happening (we know how that works).

Not to mention self-esteem, when a teen doesn’t get a Perk to a concert but others in her school does, all because of one point…

davevandewalle
3 years 4 months ago

How bout a basic, simple, single-purpose landing page, on your own site, called dannybrown.me/klout where you announce…”I want to opt-out of Klout, but they won’t let me. Therefore, I am giving myself a score of 100 until further notice.”

Then, in giant numbers, put up a graphic that says “100.”

DannyBrown
3 years 4 months ago

@davevandewalle Can I make it Eleventy Billion instead? I like that number. :)

davevandewalle
3 years 4 months ago

@DannyBrown Eleventy Billion sounds so official! Consider it done.