Thursday, 18 November 2010

Why I think @Klout is Krap

After my last post it wasn't hard to come up with this devious title. At the defrag conference, Philip Hotchkiss from Klout took the stage, resulting in a few tweets about the perceived value and accuracy of Klout
Update 18th November 16:03 CET: Philip tweeted me that it wasn't him, but a colleague - without saying who that was. So, it wasn't Philip - who, by the way, is Chief Product Officer at Klout
I have had my share of issues with Klout here and here, and via email.
On the first one, I got no reaction from Klout - they just fixed the problem behind my back without ever getting back at me.
On the second one, I got one rather silly reaction from their Marketing Manager who isolated a tiny issue and ignored the vast majority.
Being extremely unimpressed with the quality and consistency of Klout's service, I tried to unsubscribe and delete my account. I couldn't, no such functionality. I asked via email, and first had to explain why I wanted to do so. After a few emails and two weeks, Klout reported my account to have "been successfully removed" - as it turns out, that was a lie

My score is still there. My account is still there. Everything's still there, save an end user's way to access it. Via API you can still get my score. So, I asked again. And again. And then the answer:
Hi Martijn,

I previously removed your account and it is no longer searchable on Regarding the API access, the development team is building out the option to prevent individual Klout scores from getting pulled by 3rd party clients. I will personally notify you when this has been built and your score is no longer accessible. I apologize for the inconvenience and thanks for your patience.

Lan Nguyen
I waited 4 weeks, then asked again: when can I expect this to be done? I received a reply from some Ashley, who apparently couldn't read more than two lines in a row, responding
Hi there,

You longer have an account with us ( It might of been a mistake that you received this email, sorry for the inconvenience.

The severe typos in there are obvious. To make a long story shorter and skip a few emails, her last answer was sent on November 2nd:
I have informed the API team, they are working on getting you removed.


Needless to say, this kind of service is not even 1.0 - it's well below zero. Lan was kind enough to apologise at times, but he's no longer working for Klout.
Update 23rd December 13:18 CET: a few emails later, my Klout score now is finally reduced to null - meaning it's unreachable via API as well. 5+ Months, and 22 emails - that's what it took, but I'm glad Klout doesn't have a public record on me anymore
Now why do I so eagerly want to have my entire score removed? Because not only their service is way below standards, but so is their coding. I pointed this out many, many times, in private and friendly ways, leaning in a bit in the process, trying to get some results out. In vain, I must say

Since October 21st, Klout updates everyone's score themselves now - I guess that's a logical consequence of people querying their Klout scores at "bad Klout moments" and being left with a devastatingly bad score (and impression of Klout). However, daily scores make for great trending and analysis

I'll take Megan Berry, Klout's marketing manager, as an example.
Update 18th Nov. 21:50 CET: this post is not about Megan. It is about YOU. Your score is exactly as rotten and statistically impossible as Megan's here - just using Klout's Marketing Manager as an example.
Go to, take your own score and check its details - and tell me what you see there: that is what Klout is telling the world you're doing
Megan score increases overnight from 59 to 67 on October 21st - to drop 3 points overnight on November 1st again. This is statistically impossible
Here is Megan's @mention count: a steady 201 from October 21st to November 17th, measured almost every single day. Statistically impossible? Yes
Check out Megan's RT count from October 21st to November 17th - the steep drops and peaks look familiar, right? Seems like Klout did a radical reformulation of what makes an RT an RT, on October 21st and November 1st, unnanounced as usual, with dramatic results like this
Can you go from a steady 110 +/- to a steady 200 +/- overnight? Sure, just as easy as you can drop from that steady 200 +/- to a steady 80 +/- overnight as well

For those not getting the point yet, here's a few more:
Not only does Megan have an exact daily number of tweets that mention her, but these are the same people as well! And, regardless of their own daily mention of Megan, together their total mentions always equal to 201! Wow, that is astonishing. Who said you can't win the lottery? Heck, stats like these prove you can win the lottery every single month!

Maybe, just maybe, if you really really want to, one could argue debate that all these figures aren't exact scientifical stats - that their definition somehow varies, leading to these seemingly non-random deviations. Well, we can't disagree on the Twitter definition of Friend, can we? A friend is someone you follow. Here are Megan's friends according to Klout:
A steady 478 number of friends, not changing at all! Every single day, 478 friends! Not 477 one day and 479 the other, no, four-hundred-and-seventy-eight friends e-v-e-r-y s-i-n-g-l-e d-a-y
Here's how Twittercounter shows Megan's friends:
Apart from the count being in the 640's in stead of 470's, it is very clear that this isn't a straight line - or is it?

This is why I think Klout = Krap. Gawd knows I've tried to nudge people in the right places about this, in a subtle way even. I've even engaged in blog post commenting where people from Klout magically seemed to read other's messages but not mine

Nothing has helped - however, I think this will

1 reacties:

Mark Fidelman said...

The moral, you need to work for Klout to have Clout?

As always, well done Martijn.

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