A Klout Cautionary Tale
The Best Laid Deals Oft Go Astray
The Best Laid Deals Oft Go Astray

Clout is an important thing to have. Klout can be a fun thing to have.

Clout is the ability to influence, and get things done. Klout purports to be a measure of your online influence.

Presumably, the more Clout you have in real life, the more Klout you’ll have online. And just like in real life, it turns out that we’re all influential in different things.

What Klout is trying to do is admirable, in a way. But at times the execution will be off.

Because of my online connections, Klout seems to think I have sway in the areas of communications and social media. As such, I qualify for the occasional “Perk,” a freebie that I can try out with no strings attached, with the hopes that I might write about it or review it favorably.

Klout is very careful to communicate the complete lack of a quid pro quo, so this isn’t a complaint about that. They are also very responsive. I got a defective Weather Channel umbrella in the mail, and within a week they sent a working one.

No, this is a cautionary tale about using Klout to promote.

Gadget Geek

If you know me at all, you know I love gadgets. And I have been particularly intrigued with what Microsoft has been up to with its new Windows Phone platform. It is stunning in its beauty, simplicity, and functionality. As far as I am concerned, you can keep your iPhones and Androids. I’ve even talked friends into trying Windows Phone out — one bought a unit off eBay and probably would still be using it, but his company IT department wanted everyone on iPhones.

I am a Windows Phone enthusiast.

That’s why I was excited when my friend Joe told me about what was on his Facebook wall:



Apparently, my influence in the realm of Technology and Gadgets was high enough to warrant a nice Perk. I was looking forward to checking out a new device, and either getting my wife onto a Windows Phone, or using it as a loaner to friends who want to try one out. I was excited to log into Klout, and after accepting the perk and entering in my home address, I saw this:

Then, the details for claiming it:

Notice that it says that my phone is on the way, and then to be sure to RSVP for the party.

(I blacked out the URL and the code, as I don’t want to cause problems.)

Wires Crossed

Well, a few days later I received this:

Hi Ike,

Thanks for being part of Klout Perks! We see that you had signed up for the Windows Phone Perk, but upon further review we found that you are not in the New York City area.The Windows Phone Perk is meant for influencers in the NYC area as the event is New York City. However, the Windows Phone event will be hitting other cities soon, so please stay tuned for something in your area.

-The Klout Perks Team

I can understand that.

But boy, the whole process seemed rather poorly-worded. They took all of my information, only to then determine that I was not eligible?

I can forgive that.

Dropped Connection

I do have a problem, though, with the way it was pitched to Joe. My friend Joe got a notice on his wall that said I had earned the Perk — they used my name and my reputation to make a pitch to a friend of mine. They never did their homework about residency requirements, either. (I mean, I know I live in Alabama and everything, but I have many hip and trendy friends in New York City who actually turn to me for advice about technology, communications and social media. Or at least I thought I influenced them…)

I certainly hope Klout learns its lessons — the notion of Online Influence is an important one as traditional advertising models assumptions continue their implosion. If Klout doesn’t get it right, someone else will. Klout’s first-mover advantage in the space can be spoiled if people get the idea that they aren’t people anymore, but instead are just an arbitrary computation of tweets, retweets and engagements.

Clout means being able to influence, to inspire.
Clout means having the assurance you can gather others to get the job done.
Clout means never having to say you’re sorry, but doing it anyway because it’s the right thing to do.

Disclosure: I have received the following from Klout:

    • Weather Channel umbrella
    • 6 bags of Pop Chips, with coupons
    • A DVD of “Men of a Certain Age”
    • A $10 card for Subway

(This post first appeared at Occam’s Razr)

SME Paid Under

About the Author

Ike Pigott
In his previous life, Ike Pigott was an Emmy-winning TV reporter, who turned his insider's knowledge of the news cycle into a crisis communications consultancy. At the American Red Cross, serving as Communication and Government Relations Director for five southeastern states, Ike pioneered the use of social media in disaster. Now -- by day -- he is a communications strategist for Alabama Power and a Social Media Apologist; by night, he lurks at Occam's RazR, where he writes about the overlaps and absurdities in communications, technology, journalism and society. Find out how you can connect with Ike or follow him on Twitter at @ikepigott. He also recently won the coveted "Social Media Explorer contributing writer with the longest Bio" award.

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