Saturday 28 January 2012

How Klout could make Twitter a better place

I've written my fair share of posts on Klout. 1.5 years ago I started off with a mild post called "Why I have doubt about @Klout"

At the beginning of that I stated
First of all, I highly appreciate the service
- and I ended with
11 extra Klout points in 12 days on the one hand comforts me, and on the other makes me think about the stability and value of it all...
Since then, I've become increasingly weary of the product, especially because of the consistently incosnsistent quality of the product, its lack of service, and its continuous drumming on the marketing machine nonetheless - no wonder 2.5 million people instantly killed their Klout profile as soon as they finally got the chance to do so

Today, I present a way for Klout to actually create some goodwill on Twitter

If you are on Twitter and have been for a while, you will have noticed the increased amount of spam. Search for "amazon" on Twitter search and you'll find 25-30 tweets per second spawned by bots to redirect you to Just tweets, that's all.
Apart from that, spam bots send tweets to you (to get your attention) and bring similar content to your attention

Foxy is a fine example. On Twitter since November 14th 2011, this bot has produced (at this very moment) 34,261 tweet. It follows 8, one of which being Klout, and has 263 followers, and doesn't appear on any list. Yet, Klout values it with a score of 36, accrediting it the usual BS achievements.
Go to Klout influencers tab in this particular case, and you'll see that
foxy hasn't been influenced by anyone recently.
Well, Klout got that right...

I'm not trying to prove that bots can achieve great Klout scores. That's been proven already, beyond a doubt. I'm stating that bots can be detected in an early stage by Klout, who is after all catching up on Twitter stream at best.
Taking foxy again, here are the bot's stats:

75 days on Twitter, 457 tweets a day (i.e. 19 per hour), relatively no followers at all, and not following anyone, no lists, no favourites: that's clearly a sign of "the odd one out".
This is default behaviour of bots: very few followers, very few people they follow, yet many, many, many tweets. What have I seen, in the last 3 months?

Bots that have almost no followers, don't follow anyone, yet send out a few messages every hour, sometimes even every minute, sometimes every second. Whenever they send me a message, they have 0 followers, follow 0 people, have 0 lists, and 0 favourites, and have usually sent less than 10 tweets. Next to that?
They have no Klout score

And that's where Klout could - and should, IMO - enter the arena. It is simple, really. Here's my proposition:

Twitter and Klout should cooperate on spam detection and blocking. The possibilities are endless, and the algorithms could end up so complex that they can only be maintained bu a regulated crowdforce, but that is worrying about the future. Today, the patterns are simple:

  1. If a user without a Klout score gets blocked for spam at least once, there's a moratorium of 24 hours on Klout before they can profile it / him / her
  2. If a user gets blocked three times within a Klout moratorium, the account is suspended on both sides: Twitter notifies Klout
  3. Klout must enable marking an account for spam as well: only registered users can apply. Klout is the best place to establish the trust level required, and will probably enable this feature for profiles with a given score and up
  4. Twitter will receive the "mark for spam" reports from Klout and immediately suspend the account at hand. The eventual quantity and quality of complaint(s) following will determine the degree in which they (dis)qualify the initial report, and its reporter's credibility - for current and future references
  5. Bonus as well as malus points will be settled on both sides. Too many malus points will lead to a life-ban, too many bonus points will lead to scrutiny by a wider committee for every case at hand

This is a proposition. I would very much like your reaction(s) - I get increasingly more Twitter spam every day, and I would just love to do without it. How about you?

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