Klout is a vanity license plate of sorts for social-media users who want to flex their influence, with a score based on their digital heft.
But some have scoffed that the service's metrics were out of whack. The start-up hopes it put those criticisms to rest with a buffed-up look and new metrics unveiled Tuesday.
Klout will now be determined based on 400 factors, up from 100 previously. Some of the new factors include whether the individual has a Wikipedia profile, a business title and company affiliation on the person's LinkedIn profile, who retweets their Twitter comments, and who tags them in Facebook photos.
"My goal is to have influence be worth as much as money, the new currency," Klout CEO Joe Fernandez says. "This is a huge transition for us."
Klout.com's new algorithm analyzes 12 billion pieces of data a day, vs. 1 billion before, to get a better handle on influencers. The site accumulates data from one's social-media use on Facebook, Twitter and elsewhere to determine influence on topics and the Web in general. A score appears in the upper left-hand corner of Klout profiles.
"This should quell some of the criticism about Klout scores being simplistic, and the lack of transparency in explaining how they are determined," says Zach Hofer-Shall, an analyst at Forrester Research. "Their score has become a bit of an industry standard."
Chevrolet pays Klout to compile lists of potential influencers for cars, and helps the automaker reach them. Those targeted by Chevy are offered perks, such as a three-day test drive of the Volt, in the hope they'll tout the car on social media, says Cristi Landy, Chevrolet's marketing director for small cars.
President Obama climbed to a near-perfect 99 from 94 under the previous design. Justin Bieber's new score, alas, dropped to 92 from a perfect 100.
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