You Shoot, Klout Scores! But Are They Scoring It Right?

I sit down with Megan Berry, the Marketing Manager at Klout to ask her questions that are on everyone’s mind.

Is Social Influence going to soon replace the need to check people’s credit scores? Don’t dismiss it too fast, not too long ago, there was no FICA and your Social Standing was the only clout you had.

Megan and I discuss this, and much more.

You will also get to find out why I’m not a fan of Klout and why I AM a fan of Magen. She tried converting me, did she succeed? Find out and much more…

Here are few of the topics we cover:

  • How is Klout scored?
  • How did Klout, the company come about?
  • Why should we care?
  • How does Klout make money?
  • Future of Influence.

And much, much more. Watch the video.

Dino Dogan

Global Force for Badassery | Founder of Triberr | Refugee from Bosnia | Writer for Technorati | Speaker | Lousy Martial Artist | Pretty good singer/songwriter | Hi 🙂

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  • Eugene Farber

    Great interview Dino. 

    But was this meant to be a shameless Klout promotion? Looks like you two are working out of the same building!

    • Dino Dogan

      LMAO…dude, you made me spit my coffee 🙂

      It is a similar space, I know…thats just the architecture style in Arizona..south-west thing, exposed wood, you know how they do. Its very pretty actually.

      • Eugene Farber

        Haha. My apologies.

        I actually like the space. It’s very open. 

    • Stan Faryna

      Dino can brown nose with the best of us! [laughing]

  • KeriLynn Engel

    Is there a transcript available for your readers with disabilities?

    • Dino Dogan

      No, there isnt. Im really sorry. I wish I had time to make that available.

      • Divye

        Video over 3G – no go. 🙁
        Would love to have seen a transcript.

      • Stan Faryna

        Obviously, I have to play the bad cop in this post. That sucks. I hate playing the asshole. Poor Megan…

  • tony serve

    youtube has a subtitling service, click the appropriate box in options when u upload :o)

  • Jane

    YouTube’s subtitling service sucks – and I speak as a former BBC-trained subtitler 😀

  • Collin

    Love it, especially since, if memory serves me correctly, you met Megan in the comments on my blog! WOOT!

    • Collin

      Guess I should have actually WATCHED the video before I commented! It only took you 90 seconds to mention me! Thanks Dino!!! I’m a big fan of YOU!

      • Dino Dogan

        no no no my friend…Im a BIG fan of YOU! 🙂

  • Jk Allen

    Hey Dino – I’ve heard of Klout, but I was completely unfamiliar with it’s functionality. 
    Great job on this interview. Megan did an exceptional job answering your questions and I was hoping she asked the  big question and she did: “why you don’t like it”. 

    I’ll have to spend sometime checking it out myself to get a full grasp on their offerings. 

    Thanks fro the intro Dino!

    • Stan Faryna


      Klout is telling the world your online influence score is a 10 out of 100. In other words, they are telling the world that you have little to no online influence regardless of blog posts, contributions, communities, etc.

      • Jk Allen

        Hey Stan – nope, I didn’t give any permission. But I did just check it out and it actually showed me  50, not a 10. Not sure if I’m looking at it correctly…either way, the number doesn’t mean a thing to me.

        Anyhow – thanks for the info. I had no plan on looking further until I got your reply.

    • Dino Dogan

      Here the thing. You cant be cool if you care about being cool. And you dont have clout if you care about having klout 🙂

      So, I didnt expect you to know about klout, cuz you got clout 🙂

      • Jk Allen

        Yeah, good point with the “cool” analogy. I’m really trying to figure out what the end goal is with clout. Why in the world would one truly care. I’m a Social Media rookie so I’m surely not dogging the application, but I just can’t see the power behind it…why someone would care. Is it a novelty, or just something to make people beg for retweets. Again, not dogging it…I just don’t really get it. I guess you can say I’m slow!


  • Billy Delaney

    I did like the presentation of the video. I found myself studying it. Like to know more.
    The interview was informative. I don’t understand the tech’ but I get the social engineering going on.
    This is going to matter, and it is going to be a big thing.
    Business will use this way more than blogging, tweeting etc. This is ROI in action that scales.
    Look for perks coming to your dashboard “)

    • Stan Faryna

      It’s ok if you’re excited about Klout. I may have to play bad cop, but I don’t have to play the troll. [grin] Most of us will agree that online reputation services have a big future. How we get there and whether it will be the Beast remains to be seen. [Ref to Revelations] One of my passionate concerns is that klout and others are doing some funny and, sometimes, inappropriate things without caution, apology or explanation.

      • Billy Delaney

        I agree. I get told by them that I am influential on Digg. I have no connection with Digg yet! And also food. I don’t talk about food, blog about food. Imagine if they decided to make me influential about something that I am against?

        Like the post, watched Dino’s video and had a good take from all of this

  • Tony Hastings

    Thanks to you and Megan for an interesting interview Dino. Like you, and probably many others, I have seen Klout around, wondered if I should do something about it and then moved on again. I suppose part of that is the fear that having looked at my score I may be disappointed at how low it might be and see no value in paying any attention to it, that’s just human nature I guess.

    Having listened to Megan I now have a better understanding of what is reflected in the score, how I could actually work towards increasing it and the potential benefits of doing so.

    So while not yet completely sold on the idea I at least have the motivation to go and have a look.

    Thanks to you both.

    • Dino Dogan

      You’re welcome Tony. Glad you enjoyed it 🙂

      You got a ton of klout in my mind, no matter the score. Just keep that in …mind 🙂

    • Megan Berry

      Thanks Tony, glad to hear it!

  • resume writers

    thanks for the interview. interesting

  • Stan Faryna

    It’s awesome that Megan Berry accepted Dino’s invite to the ambush. [grin] Megan is such a good sport. She’s kinda cute. But what you have to love about Megan is her jedi powers. She’s got some awesome jedi mind tricks going on.

    1. I’d like to hear 10 specific actions/events that #klout has taken to help people understand and grow their online influence?

    2. I’d like to hear why klout’s measurements are so off – from topics of influence to Facebook signals (number of friends, fans, and grouped friends, comment counts, etc.)?

    You have me down as an authority on cats. [grin] The only cats ever mentioned by me is one sentence from my online novel. “… and dogs fed upon fatted cats.” My point: no one listens to me about cats. Design, technology, ethics, freedom, justice and business are topics for which influentials and experts often follow me. Of course, those keywords aren’t basic to the language that I use in my tweets because I’m not a fucking idiot with an pre-school vocabulary and thought process. Nor do my followers share the same lack of language that your algorithm assumes of users.

    3. I’d like to hear why klout doesn’t fix errors when people point them out. Indomitable ignorance really doesn’t go far in building people’s confidence in what klout is doing and what it wants to do.

    My own opinion of klout would move up from a 10 to a 25 (out of 100) if klout started owning up to errors, fixing errors, and demonstrating clearly that it is acting on the feedback- not just hearing the feedback like so much background noise. 

    P.S. I’m not stalking you Megan, you just happen to be engaging with the communities in which I am a member.

    • Dino Dogan

      Good questions. Im sure Megan will field some of those and respond.

    • Megan Berry

      Hey Stan,

      Ok here goes.

      1) See many of our blog posts ( Also look at the site redesign that’s focused on making Klout more clear to people, surfacing more stats, and making it easier to compare people. We also do our best to engage in places like this and explain what we’re doing. 

      2) Can you be more specific on the issues you’re seeing? (Perhaps you can shoot me an email – megan [at] As for the topics — this is somethign we’re working on improving, see yesterday’s announcement:

      3) We absolutely do take feedback and fix things because of it. Obviously we’re not going to change everything because of one person’s opinion but we do listen and try to improve all the time. And we also do own up to errors and work to improve — see our CEO’s post from a couple weeks ago regarding an issue we had

  • Stan Faryna

    If you believe in #klout, then you’re saying you want my tweets to like this: technology, design, justice, freedom, ethics, business PLZ RT

    If you believe in #klout, then you’re saying you want my tweets to like this: technology, design, human dignity, influence, blogging PLZ RT

    If you believe in #klout, then you’re saying you want my tweets to like this: technology, design, Porsche, online strategy, blogging PLZ RT

    Is that what klout wants Twitter to look like? How about you? Looks like spam to me. Tastes likes spam? How is that contributing and building a more interesting, useful, and beautiful social web?

    • Dino Dogan

      so…ahhh…are you gonna stop making comments now that you have the top score on the Leaderboard? lol

      • Stan Faryna

        @dinodogan:disqus First, I have to prevent Idiocracy from happening prematurely. Even if I can postpone it 10 years (read: after I am long gone), we can talk. [grin]

    • Megan Berry

      Hey Stan, 

      The thing is, in reality, tweets like that won’t help your Klout Score. If I saw that I would unfollow you and not spread your content. What actually works is creating genuinely interesting content that people want to share. 

      • Stan Faryna

        Your lack of facebook game and social network experience contributes to your ignorance of some rather frightening trends of crowd behavior. [grin]

        But I’d like to agree with you, Megan – if that helps you feel any better. I very much wish that some things were different.

  • Robert Dempsey

    Megan made some great points there Dino. It sounds like they’re going with the “wisdom of the crowds” approach. So if you can influence enough of the crowd, you’re an authority.

    • Dino Dogan

      I hope thats not true (tho I fear you might be right) because wisdom of the crowds tends to drawn out the new, disruptive voices. Wisdom of the crowd promotes status quo and entrenched the elite. Fuck that, is all I have to say to that 🙂

      • Robert Dempsey

        Are you saying that wisdom of the crowds shuts down the disruptive voices and promotes status quo? You confuse me with your wordery Dino.

        • Dino Dogan

          That is EXACTLY what Im saying.

          If we all agree that landing on the moon was impossible in 1961 (“wisdom” of the crowds); then a disruptive voice saying “lets land a man on the moon in 8 yrs and return him safely to Earth” will be seen as crazy talk.

          Except it wasnt.

        • Stan Faryna

          On another note, I am not a subscriber to that post-modern confusion that the crowd wheels and deals in anything related to wisdom as defined by Plato, Aristotle, Aquinas, Martin Luther King, Jr or, more recently, Karol Wojtyla.

          Here’s the cheat: The crowd acts according to appetites (ugly or beautiful) but appetites are not rational. And there’s something rational about wisdom – even if we are to consider that true wisdom is a supernatural virtue.

          Sure, appetites can be rationalized a la Maslow, Jung or Freud. But then we get to the same algorithms that Nassim Nicholas Taleb forcefully argues… allowed Wall Street and big banks to game us into a global economic crisis. And, guess what, the brilliant solution to sucky algorithms is not to fix the alogrithms. The solution is to reduce the human population a la Hitler. Yes, what I’m talking about goes beyond population control practices currently advocated and executed by the United Nations, World bank, IMF, USAID, etc.

          Of course, population reduction can be accomplished by more subtle means than employed by the Nazis. But that’s a whole other discussion.

          Anyway, back to appetites. Appetites are especially fascinating if you want to do biz and hope to succeed at biz. Appetites are the idols of consumer culture. Appetites move money. But if you want to understand the human person, it’s dignity, and the content of an individual’s character, a mere measure of appetite would be a one dimensional reduction and manipulation of the crowd. [Go read Herbert Marcuse]

          And that’s assuming that you can accurate measure appetite – which klout can’t even get right.


          • Robert Dempsey

            Stan, you and I need to chat on Skype. I’m hoping you’re on there – I’m robertwdempsey.

            I agree with you and Dino on this one. Look how many engineers Google employes to try and use machines to figure out what “relevancy” means for people. Its like trying to replicate the human brain in code – not going to happen. You can get close, but you’ll never really get there in my opinion. Not yet at least.

            You’re deep dive into psychology adds more fuel to that side of the debate that shows the inability of computers to understand human psychology based on text.

          • Stan Faryna

            Looking forward to connecting with you, Robert. When I get back to Bucharest, we’ll do skype.

            In the meantime, I will leave you with the key to manipulate appetite and gather wealth:

            The thought follows the look; delight comes after the thought; and consent after delight
            – St. Augustine

    • Stan Faryna

      Where’s the wisdom of the crowd?

      I tweet about the cry for freedom in Syria, Iraq, Egypt, etc. because I use the hastag #Iraq for example and those tweets get retweeted, klout makes me an expert of Iraq. I am not an expert on Middle Eastern affairs, but I have some claim to discussing issues surrounding “Freedom” based on my published writing. Klout, however, will never make the connection between my interest in “Freedom” as I illuminate the evils of corruption, social injustice, tyranny, etc. in specific examples such as the recent murder, mutilation and torture of a boy by Syrian gestapo.

      Those who retweet my tweets about these things are typically not interested in Iraq or Syria in particular, they are interested in the inherent dignity of human beings to freedom.

      Where is the wisdom of the crowd?

      In the misreading of language? In the misreading of the intention of the tweet and retweet? [grin]

      I take it that there are no Derrida fans on the klout engineering team. [laughing]

      Without providing me a direct path to klout to correct their misreading, klout remains careless as much as it remains oblivious and irrelevant.

      Where is the wisdom of the crowd? [smile]

      • Robert Dempsey

        My point exactly Stan. Thank you for hammering it home.

      • Yomar

        Stan, you make some very important points here.  I feel that automated social influence scores are benchmarks like any other numbers (say, sales metrics and web site metrics).  They give you an idea of how well you are performing but they are mere labels that do not tell the full story.

        For a while, I’ve been looking at ways that we can take social media algorithms and make them more relational, whereas the underlying themes of more specific topics can easily be identified.  In that manner, we would be able to connect to people with similar interests, even if their “niche” or focus is different.  It’d make social media far more valuable but we’re quite far away from getting there.  Fuzzy logic algorithms are quite complex to write, which is probably why no one has taken on this challenge yet (myself included).  Not to mention you’d need massive base data, comparable to something only a Google or Facebook would have access to…

        I can see where Klout may have some value but I would not put much stock in it, no matter how awesome Megan Berry is.  In fact, I see more value in something like Empire Avenue because at least, with that, you have more direct control over your metrics and the game mechanics keep it fun.  It basically rewards you for doing the things you already do, while giving added incentive for networking with and supporting others.

        These social influence platforms benefit from gathering usage information and profile data (anonymously) to create more “accurate” demographic profiles.  Traditional marketers will see this as a goldmine of information so that in itself provides easy revenue-creating opportunities.  How valuable is that data?  Not very much but, for companies that have millions, if not billions, to throw into marketing campaigns that focus on mass appeal over personalized communications (and, by extension, increased conversions), this data will always be handy.

        One thing that is interesting about social influence is how some people will share your content just because they like you but not necessarily because they care about the content itself.  For example, if you have Dino retweet something for you, it usually gets more views than, say, if I retweet it for you (hey, just being honest LOL).  It’s a matter of trust and rapport, not necessarily authority and expertise..  Which brings me to my final thoughts here…

        You mention expertise.  I think that’s a word that has little meaning nowadays, much like “best”, “top”, “quality”, “guru”..  The list goes on.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: to call oneself an expert is often foolish.  Some may identify with the word because that is what they are conditioned to accept but, really, calling yourself a master or expert would assume that you know all there is to know..  And that’s never the case.  We’re all students in the school of life and the only thing we can really guarantee is that we can offer our own perspective, even if it may be similar to another’s…

        That said, social influence is a fun concept but I would not jump to seek advice from someone that is touted as a definitive authority just because the numbers prove it.  In fact, I tend to work with the lesser-known authorities because they tend to have fresher thoughts..  and they’re more approachable, usually. 8)

  • The JackB

    I have received a number of “perks” from Klout that were all related to things I tweet and blog about. It may not be perfect but I don’t think that any of these “services” are going away. If anything we’ll see a few more players enter the arena.

    • Dino Dogan

      Tell us more about these perks? Thats one thing Im not very familiar about…

      • The JackB

        They items or activities that you receive for being influential in specific areas. For example I received tickets to all of the Pac-10 Basketball tournament games. The seats were outstanding, sat on the floor next to the bands.

        Some people have gone on trips or seen movies/shows etc.

        You are not obligated to write/tweet about any of it. I usually do so that I can disclose the relationship. I try to be transparent in my relationships.

        • Dino Dogan

          Interesting. So, Im fairly familiar with your work, and I dont see the connection between what you do online and Basketball. What am I missing?

          • The JackB

            You’re familiar with a portion of what I do. I write and tweet about it frequently. This may fall under the category of things you missed because of how quickly I update.

          • The JackB

            You’re familiar with a portion of what I do. I write and tweet about it frequently. This may fall under the category of things you missed because of how quickly I update.

          • Stan Faryna

            Jack loves basketball. Didn’t you know? [grin]

          • The JackB

            Played 3 times this week- not too shabby for an old and out of shape man.

      • Megan Berry

        Jack has a great explanation but you may also want to look at out Klout Perks 101 blog post

  • Dan Cristo

    Here’s the thing about Klout… Let’s imagine for a second that their scoring was accurate, and their categorization about what you like to talk about was also accurate. So Dino, let’s say that Klout says that you’re most influential in “social media”, “dogs” and “motorcycles”. Do you know how HUGE those categories are? Like dogs for example, are you a dog trainer, dog breeder, dog groomer, dog painter? Are you an expert in all dogs, or just certain types of dogs? Are you even into dogs, or is it just because “dog” is part of “Dogan”?

    Klout is looking at a lot of great authority signals, but their not very good at relevancy. Think about it, if I were to look at your twitter stream, I might get a sense on what type of stuff you like to talk about on a broad scale, but your stream is pretty diverse. In fact, when you share others stuff, you’re mostly using their page title as your tweet message. So you’re not even talking about that stuff, you’re just noting that you found stuff other people are talking about interesting. Bottom line is that 140 characters doesn’t give Klout much to go off of. 

    Now consider looking at your blog… If I’m looking at your blog I can quickly get a sense for the type of stuff you like to talk about. I can also factor in things like the number of comments, who does the commenting and how many times that post was shared. 

    What’s my point here?
    My point is that Klout doesn’t have enough data points to understand influence at a granular level. There’s enough macro signals to make a broad swipe at what categories interest me, and how people react to what I share, but besides the “ego” factor, an aggregate score doesn’t solve real world problems. 

    For Klout to get better it needs to do what google does, build a complete profile based on all their online activity (Twitter, Facebook, blog posts, comments, images, videos, email, Q&A, etc). There are really only 2 companies capable of doing this: Facebook, because it understands your total web identity the best, and Google, because it’s mastered relevancy and authority algorithms, and it can get at most of the content you create online (including email). Both of these companies lack a few key data points that the other has, but even so both of them are capable of creating the best influence score out there. It’s too bad that neither of them will make it public. So we’re left with Klout. I’m not a hater, I just don’t think it’s useful yet.

    • Dino Dogan

      wow..when a renowned SEO expert lays out a cogent  argument, he lays it ALL out 🙂

      Thnx Dan for that amazing insight. I would love it if @twitter-15814841:disqus got one of the founders to address these concerns in as geeky a way as possible. Megan?

    • Yomar

      LOL..  I pretty much said the same thing and now I read this.  You put it better than I did, Dan!  I did not even venture into the technical aspects but that’s right on the money, bud.

      The macro versus the micro argument is HUGE.  My gripe with traditional marketing is that it has often focused on the macro, placing people in neat little boxes and using them as targets.  It has worked but the returns are diminishing…

      Klout would need tremendous resource to get more granular with their analytics.  Realistically, they’d do best to reposition everything.  Rather than trying to position it as influence or expertise, focus on general interests and the bigger categories, perhaps?

      Like you said, folks with diverse Twitter streams will get screwed.  They may still have valuable content to share and great influence over their followers, but Klout may not capture that due to lack of focus.  This is what I find is wrong with the niche approach too, but I won’t get into that…

      With Klout planning to plug into other social platform APIs and have access to much more data, perhaps they can start building relational data tables and fuzzy logic algorithms to connect the dots a bit more, identifying trends and underlying themes, where applicable.  Still, like any science, it will have it’s flaws and some will find ways to game the system, but perhaps then it will be a more useful measure, especially for those that focus more on other social platforms.

      I would not be surprised if Klout gets big enough to sell out and then is integrated into a company with the resources to really do big things with the system! ;o)

  • Mark Harai

    I’m not a fan of Klout either Dino, although this interview had some good points in it all the way around. 

    I take it you’re back from vacation?

    • Dino Dogan

      Yup..definitely back 🙂

      @twitter-14791769:disqus is coming over to my temporary abode in Arizona over the weekend and we will be coding our assess off (well…mostly Dan 🙂

      • Mark Harai

        Well that sounds like lot’s of fun Dino 😛

        You guys are upgrading things fast on Triberr – keep kicking butt bro!

  • Amber-Lee

    Dino~ Wow. You know, I am sure, by now that I am not gifted but I am driven to learn as much as I can about this fascinating world I’ve stumbled into.

    Ok, it’s funny how “YOU GUYS” (the people I have found and am getting to know and learning so many things about so many things in this incredibly special world of Social Media) always, ALWAYS- talk about in some way or another, a stumbling block, of some kind in MY world (business, learning, personal, growing) and it just hits dead on! Holy Cow, how’s that for influence? Who am I?

    I have been trying to figure out Klout and didn’t understand what I was getting- at all. Your interview and Dan Cristo’s response, made it simple. (well, as simply put as could be!) I LOVE that even when I may not understand certain things yet, I DO want to know, in language and terms I can understand. “You Guys” always make it easy. (Thanks)

    Another funny coincidence, another point I know we need on our website, possibly even our (my) blog are videos. Ugh.  I have to tell you, the more of these videos I watch, the more frigid’ terrified I am of the whole idea! All of the twitching, fidgets, the “mums” (I have to tell the girls that answer the phone- Don’t use “umm” as punctuation!) or the lack of air as you try to answer the question (and make it all go away) in one breath (!) and seriously, who talks to their lap?! OH! and I am NOT picking on anyone! I am noticing, shaking in my chair!

    Can I ask you a question? Does, “interesting” in that voice (Oh gosh! That accent!), actually mean “yeah, yeah, whatever”?! Just wondering.

    I learned the most, I think, when you asked Megan Berry, “What do you wish people would ask you about Klout?” But, maybe when Megan asked you, “Why not?” Very informative and interesting to have the answers put in such a way.

    And as always. Rule With Wisdom and Kindness. “…people. That’s the secret sauce. Isn’t it always.”


  • Custom essay

    Good article! Clearly the line between user assistance and user interface is diminishing. Thank you very much!

  • Ryan Critchett

    I think it’s great that at the end, we identified that data is great, not 100% accurate, and always moving to better express itself through our crazy inventions of how to measure and crystallize things we couldn’t, or wouldn’t think about measuring, just 5 years ago. Especially things that certainly do matter, in a social media driven world. (or internet) Yea.. world. 

  • Adrienne

    Great interview Dino and at least we got to hear both sides of this.  I’m not a huge fan either and I think I’m still in the same boat after hearing this interview.  But job well done my friend.


  • Bill Dorman

    Interesting interview; I knew what Klout was in a general way and actually know what my Klout score is because I use HootSuite. But, it’s just a score and another unit of measurement for whatever that is worth to whoever it matters to.

    I do like the fact Megan knows it is not perfect and they are working to make it better. And her analogy comparing it to credit scores and their imperfections but it is still a standard being used made sense.

    Thanks for your help w/ my Triberr account. I had forgotten my password and the e-mail I had used and it went downhill quickly wasn’t I started changing everything. I’ve had someone ask me if I’m starting a tribe; I’m guessing I can do that if I want to?

    Hope all is well; good to see you.

    • Dino Dogan

      You have 3 tribes of your own to rule with wisdom and kindness 🙂

  • susan borst

    Great interview, thanks.  Megan Berry, who I’ve “met” in numerous chats in recent months, is always cool, calm, collected, approachable and engaged  on what can be a fierce discussion with many nay-sayers.  Klout is lucky to have such a great spokesperson as their face to the social media community.

    I grew up professionally in a world with clients such as P&G, Pfizer and Verizon Wireless where metrics ruled the day (copy test scores, awareness scores, click counts, etc., etc.) and view Klout as yet another metric. 

    Thanks, again.