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Is @Klout Losing Credibility?

klout, lipton tea, brand strategy, fruits, perks, worries, lipton, losing, influence, lost, credibility, popularity, measuring I’m not trying to be negative about Klout. I’m not a hater. In fact, I’ve largely been a supporter of Klout as a way to measure the effectiveness of a brand or person to engage others. As a life-long brand marketer, I appreciate ways to better understand effectiveness of a brand strategy.

I like it when people tell me I have influence.  A little validation goes a long way.

I’ve written about Peer Index and Empire Avenue as other ways to understand your ongoing influence.  Although don’t get me started on Empire Avenue’s inability to throttle the faux blogging of many of its highest value members (no one writes 64 blog posts each week, do they?)

But here’s my problem with Klout lately.  It’s become too mainstream and perhaps has moved toward a profit driven business model too soon.


Klout launched a cool program early on called Klout Perks that allowed people with Klout in different areas to receive perks.  Rewards for being an influencer.  Some really influential people were getting cars to drive for the weekend, trips to Europe and other really cool opportunities.

And I think those people deserved it.  They worked hard to develop an expertise as a travel blogger, Apple app lover or Microsoft Xbox game reviewer.

But now we are just getting silly.  Maybe Klout wanted to include more people – so they went from cars and plane rides to Qtips.

Klout perks, at least the ones I’m seeing,  are now just PR opportunities for big companies.  Here are some I’ve seen recently:

  • I got a tiny bottle of Axe (I think) hair gel in the mail
  • I was offered (but was too late) for 10 sample packs of Lipton tea

Sorry, these are lame.  I was embarrassed to get these offers. I didn’t feel rewarded for my influence but rather I felt “advertised to” – a very different feeling.

Maybe my Klout doesn’t warrant a better perk.  And that’s fine.

But here’s the worst part:

The perks page featuring the small sample packs of tea was full of member reviews that made me want to lose my lunch.  Here’s a sampling:

“I LOVE Lipton teas! I can’t wait to receive my sample for Klout. Thanks, Klout!”

“It was very tasty and refreshing. I was wishing that I had more!”

“I LOVE Lipton tea, I can’t wait to get mine in the mail!”

“Tea is the perfect perk for me! haha”

“Tastes GREAT! My fiance is a HUGE Tea fan and he could just die for this!!! YUM”

Really?  Was this a cure for a critical disease? Nope.  It was a few sample packs of tea.  A street value of about $2.99.

It’s almost as if the entire PR/Marketing team at Lipton got in there and chimed in.

This reminded me about when a famous blogger writes an average post and gets showered with hundreds of supportive comments within a few hours.  Everyone clamoring for a chance to be seen and heard in the stream or to be recognized by the blogger in some fashion.

Has Klout become so popular that gushing over spices is worth any recognition that comes as a result? Am I missing something about the value of a few tea bags?

So what to do now? Maybe we all need to find a big harbor somewhere and dump the evidence.

And move on to something more important.

What do you think?

Written by: Tim Tyrell-Smith
Categories: Career Networking

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