Delete Your Klout Profile Now!

rohnjaymiller
Rohn Jay Miller Director of Digital Strategy, Hanley Wood Marketing

Posted on November 9th 2011


Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez
gave an interview this summer—before the new Klout algorithm rolled out—in which he said, ““When you think about it, the idea of measuring influence is kind of crazy. Influence has always been something that we each see through our own lens.”


Klout’s CEO Joe Fernandez 
gave an interview this summer—before the new Klout algorithm rolled out—in which he said, ““When you think about it, the idea of measuring influence is kind of crazy. Influence has always been something that we each see through our own lens.”

 Don't get me going, pal.

Enough people have flamed Klout for their scoring mechanics over the past three weeks that I don’t need to add my rant to that pile.  But I need to write this post to explain the ethical problem Klout poses for those of us who use social networks for a significant amount of connection, communication and information.  And to ask you to do something about it.

Please, when you get done reading this, go to www.klout.com and delete your profile from Klout forever.

Completely.  And don’t look back.  I did it this week, and so far my social cred has not come crashing down around my head.

The fundamental evil of Klout is that it’s a venture capital-backed company looking to leverage into a big IPO payday  and the only value proposition they offer is their ability to identify, train and exploit people they can sell to advertisers as “key influencers,” in a taxonomy of business interests.

What do these “key influencers” get for their efforts?  Pennies.  Swag. Chocolate bars. Little discounts.  These people are the entire sum of the Klout value proposition.  Klout exists for the benefit of advertisers, not for the people Klout measures and then chooses to engage.

That’s the big inequity.   Other Klout-like start-ups like PROSkore exist for the benefit of the people being measured.  PROSkore is trying to match social scoring with LinkedIn-type connections, peer to peer.  But the more Klout gains, well, clout in the marketplace, the more they will become the gold standard for identifying people who are great connectors on social media.

Beyond this fundamental sleaziness, there is a bigger issue that makes Klout wrong, and frankly all social scoring wrong.  Social communications should be for the benefit of the people doing the communicating.  Influence cannot be measured, just as beauty and cool cannot be measured.  Measuring “social influence” tries to sell the lie that such things as “social influence” and “connected-ness” can be measured quantitatively, then acquired, packaged and sold to the highest bidder.

I’ll completely ignore the problems others are having with the way the Klout score is calculated.  I object to the entire idea of a Klout score regardless of its accuracy.

What happens a year from now when you try to get a job in marketing and you’re rejected because your Klout score is only in the 30s?  Or when a bunch of black hat rats figure out how to game the Klout system and make their small fortunes selling you robot apps that will juice up your Klout score?

Fernandez may protest that none of this isn’t anything that Facebook isn’t getting ready to do with advertisers, anyway.  That in my book only means that Fernandez and his crew are only slightly less evil and creepy than Mark Zuckerberg might be.

The only answer—and it’s the ONLY answer—is for us to withdraw from Klout.  Unless a substantial number of us build a movement of people to quit Klout, they will become the 7th grade cool kids of social media, determining your worth to their advertisers and your clients and peers.

It’s easy to do.   Go to www.klout.com and then:

  • Go to Profile Settings and, at the bottom of the page
  • Choose the option to delete your account

[UPDATE 11/12/11 Klout disconnected the link between "profile settings" and "delete your account" again this morning.  The deleted function is now buried at the very end of the "privacy" policy which you can only access through a link at the bottom of your "profile settings" page, or by clicking on the footer link "privacy" under "Developers." Easy to get to, eh?  Apparently we're having some effect.  Please, please delete your Klout profile. RJM]  

And then go on with your life.  You’ll feel so much better how you’ve helped make social media better, and perhaps eventually we can derail Klout entirely.

Or you can wait and spend $99 on one of those black hat robot apps to get your Klout score up to the same level as your next door neighbor.

Your choice, neighbor.

 

 

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rohnjaymiller

Rohn Jay Miller

Director of Digital Strategy, Hanley Wood Marketing

I'm Director of Digital Strategy for Hanley Wood Marketing in Minneapolis.  We've been in the content strategy and branded content business since 1984.  We deliver across content strategy and branded content. I speak in public, often by invitation. I can be reached at rohnjay@rohnjaymiller.com

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Comments

What if I never registered there? I only know -everyone- automatically got an account, but if I want to opt out and delete, do I have to register first?

The irony is that you have to first connect either your Twitter or Facebook account to Klout, establish those credentials and THEN delete your account.  You could just send them a note, but I've read blog posts from people who have tried to do this and gotten little or no response from Klout.

The irony for me of writing this article is that it probably caused my Klout score to zoom--if I still had a Klout account, that is....

So how exactly do you delete a Klout account? I never even  thought about it before, but did as you said -- went through the steps to get to my profile. But there is not an obvious way to delete the account.

I still can't see a way to delete the profile? I'm logged in using my twitter creds. I don't see any delete account option. On Profile settings I can delink my other accounts (FB and  G+) but not my twitter one. So I don't think it's possible?

They have put the "delete account" button back! I'm deleted, yay!!

Never been a fan of Klout. It only measures actions (that they equate to influence). No real science. It favors accounts with large fan numbers and cannot predict influence to scale. Vanity metrc. Good points.

"Vanity metric" -- that's a great way to put it.

I applaud you for this post and for deleting your account. I will join you and delete my account tonight. 

The idea of Klout measuring social influence has always intrigued me. I smelt a rat after my klout scores didn't change after I added my Facebook profile to it(which it was supposed to, big effing time). Klout just measures the number of retweets and mentions I get. That's all. nothing else.

 

Waste of time. No! Wait! Serious, waste of time. 

 

 

I believe your Kout score is calculated behind the scenes whether you have an account with them or not.  Sticking with Klout for now, interesting article Jay

 

 

Jason, I respectfully disagree with your decision to "stick with Klout for now."  My 15 year old daughter has a Klout score even though she never registered with Klout and never gave Klout permission to follow her.  In the EU this gets very close to a legal situation.

Klout wants to brand you as successful or not publically, putting that interest above the interest of encouraging free and open social communication.  And they want to brand you no matter if you asgree to be branded or not.  And they want to brand your children.  

How much more evil does this need to get?  I urge you to re-consider deleting your Klout account.

Thanks--Rohn Jay

Klout 18 years of age minimum, I'll agree Klout should consider. Still TeamKlout. Best, Jason

its funny i found this post, i was thinking the other day how many social networks i have signed up on and what use they were to me. NONE! i do the normal tweet, google and such but if people are really interested in my post, then they will go read them. i think over thinking the blog marketing isn't always good either. thanks for sharing.

I found it interesting that I have one of most of the accounts they offer, and even if I add them all, my score stays the same. I'm definately going to delete my account in the near future. It seems to only be an anxiety causing website. Great Post btw

Identifying influencers? Hmm... isn't this a major benefit of the Google+ ripple extension that has just been launched. For Google+ post one can do research on who distributed from who, in orther words identifying potential influencers.

Hmmm, are you nog gonne delete you Google+ account too? ;-))

No, to answer your question.  You can trace many things with Google+, all of which is power in your and my hands--not in the hands of a third party who then publishes a public evaluation of how strong my "social influence" is, regardless of if I've registered for Klout or not.

I disagree with you wholeheartedly. Just like every other development these days,people want to make money. Facebook sure can take down a govt but it's making money. Money runs the world. I digress. I love Klout. I do not think it's a perfect system but I appreciate the creation.

I find that most people are against Klout because they have a low Klout score. Come on, get more influence and raise your score. Sure if you have 90+ Klout score, many others would be shouting it's praise. 

The entire concept of quantifying influence is nonsense on stilts----as Fernandez admits in the opening quote of my piece.  Hey, I think my wife is beautiful and she's an expert in many areas I am not.  Is she influential?  To those to know her or are aware of her in so many different ways and degrees that putting a single number on that is not just incorrect its unethical.   The day you lose a client because your Klout score isn't in the 50s or more is the day that you may understand better.

Just deleted my account. Realized that this score has no use and that checking it - even occasionally - is a waste of my time.

You are only starting to realize this?  Dude, where the hell have you been the last couple of years?  YOU, the user are the product.  

 

 

Great article.

I agree 100% with you, but what's the difference between having and NOT having an account. If they track everyone anyway what are the benefits of deleting your account? Does having an account mean they can sell your info or can they do this even if you don't have an account?

I will also be deleting my account on the basis that it seems unethical to me as well, but I wonder what good that will do.

Also, I checked out Proskore and they have a Klout logo on their front page. Does this mean they use their data to incorporate into their algorithms?

 

Edwin:  It's my understanding that if you pro-actively delete your Klout ID on www.klout.com there will no longer be any kind of Klout identity or tracking of you.   Just try to find out my Klout score based on my Twitter handle @rohnjaymiller.  It's gone.  

If you've never gone to Klout.com and set up access to your social media networks on behalf of your Klout ID, Klout can still track you and award you whatever score they wish, based on your public social media activity--mostly Twitter as I understand it.  These are the people who have to--ironically--go to Klout, sign up for their ID and then delete it.

Once you've opted out of the Klout system you are no longer tracked.  

I can't speak to PROSkore, though their CEO did write a defense of the new Klout algorthim.  I mentioned them just to point out the very different business model they have.  They look like they're trying to be a mix between LinkedIn and a job board.  

Even with PROSkore, like Klout, I totally reject the idea that you can put a number on "social influence" that has any meaning whatsoever.  It's like putting together a score for "beauty" or "creativity."  

So nice to see a contrarian article to all the hype out there. Couldn't agree more -- a Klout score is too generic to be valuable. And just becuase you can measure every little thing, doesn't mean you should (will geeks ever really understand marketing?).

There's a lot more to marketing ROI than counting Tweets. In other words, does being a "person of influence" the way it's measured here really equate to sales, especially if the relationship of the influencer to the purchaser is loosely defined? Are impressions like these really more valuable than any other type of impression? In other words, could you get more traction by running a great TV spot or a solid PR campaign? Or let's go back to the start...by having a product or service people really want to buy?

Robin,

 

You are correct.  Additionally, I for one, do not need a bot to game the system, I have already figured out how to do it.  I pay no attention to my score just how much I can move it in a day or two.

 

You only need to influence one to make a large purchase of your product or service for your influence to be worth something.  Therefore, having a small carefully chosen network of people who care is much more valuable to your true social media ROI, otherwise known as money in the bank, than any score on any platform.

 

Let's go back to basics and marketing fundamentals and use the Social Media tools for what they are, one more piece of the promotion "P" in the four Ps of marketing.

Wow, we know where you stand.

I am not a social media guru or a social media expert or the like but I am an avid social media user and a fledgling blogger. I think the biggest mistake anyone can make is to assume analytics drive influence. I recently wrote an article for the Urban Times on this exact subject. I hope that you have time to read it. There are some astounding similarities in the commentary.

http://www.theurbn.com/2011/10/what-is-influence-in-the-world-of-social-media/

I hear you, neighbour.

Unethical for sure and add broken to that as an understatement . I can't remember when I signed up but I can tell you that their new scoring system dropped me 28 points almost instantly. Came back up in points to about a 41, I half-jokingly complained on Twitter & Facebook and then noticed I had dropped to 10. Currently, it's back to 46 or some such number. On the home page there's 2 profile pics for my husband (we are partners in a social media/graphic design/WordPress firm) with one profile showing a score of 41 and the other 13. Now that you have the statistics, let me tell you that I spend most of my day on Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. I post every day and my "reach" is determined by the reciprocal friends, likes or followers, not by Klout. And how did Klout become supreme influential determiner and ruler?  I don't think I'll be upset if I reach Justin Bieber, who Klout uses as an example of "True Reach" or Justin Timberlake, their example of "Network Impact" with "influential people". Duh. Yep, I think my profile will soon be awarded to the eternal pits of cyberspace.

Rohn,

Good thinking. I made some similar and complimentary points in a recent post titled "In search of a meaningful measure of Influence"  http://www.brianvellmure.com/2011/11/02/in-search-of-a-meaningful-measur...

The counter-argument is that for better or worse, people are and will increasingly rely on "influence" measurement scores. You could likely make the same argument about facebook. Facebook exists to capture and analyze your network, your interactions, your interests, your habits, and is using that data to sell to advertisers. 

Being on or off the grid will increasingly become a tough choice for individuals. 

An alternative view of "how the world should work" has been pioneered by Doc Searls and others called VRM, which essentially transfers the ownership of data and privacy from organizations to individuals. 

I've been thinking of deleting mine for quite a while after topics that I have no idea on how they picked for me; shoes, Avatar (the movie), etc. So I join the rank and file of non-Klout users.

I feel like there are two types of people who are voicing an issue with Klout right now. The first, like Rohn Jay, have real issues about how Klout is pulling data and what purposes the system serves. Then there is another group who are upset because their scores went down.

It feels a bit like the OccupyWallStreet movement. Some people with specific and valid issues, and some people who only vaguely understand who they should be upset with, or what they should be upset about.

Personally I've come to the conclusion that Klout is primarily a misguided waste of time. I put it in a similar class as most 4Square acitivations: The only real consumer value is a coupon or product sample for a brand you're unlikely to ever patronize unless they give you more coupons.

Unfortunately, I think there will always be a demand for a Klout. It boils it all down to one simple number, and many brand managers would rather have a simple falsehood than a complex truth.

It seems like Klout is in it just to gain a buck or two, but then again who isn't nowadays? Specially in social media. If you think about it, most social media platforms are free, some may offer premium services, but alas the general notion is that, you, the end user, should not be paying for this service. Much like e-mail services nowadays and how they are infused by advertisements all over their web pages. The truth is that anyone who willingly signs up for Klout or Facebook, who is aware that they just signed a contract with the devil, should not at all complain about why such websites are taking their data and selling it to third parties. Be smart, post what you want to be public about yourself, and keep the sensitive stuff in some safe folder away from prying eyes on the Internet. I can't really say that Klout is credible or not, but I am concerned that as Rohn stated, one day I end up loosing out on a job or a client because how my Klout score is perceived. I truly hope that this "boycott" klout movement resonates with some people, and I am particularly interested in seeing how it will pan out...

 

Oh my god, Klout has investors and wants to make money? How dare they. Evil capitalists. Don't they know that you shouldn't try to measure anything. Everybody is great and equally worth. Everybody should get a trophy just for opening a klout account.

That's awesome! Great perspective.

This is another scoring tool from a Standford start-up-similar concerns- will provide your 'professional' score or what they call your 'brand' score.  It is based on the school you attended, number of years worked, and your network.  WE are boiled down to a number- some big companies have signed up already- https://www.identified.com/about/faq

pennies? swag? Try $25 gift cards and free windows phones. Its just getting started. Think about what it will be like in a year or two? theyre already partnering with chevy for free loaners on new cars.

I was debating deleting my Klout account as well and this post pushed me to the YES. We absolutely are not defined by any score and particularly one which lacks credibility. 

Even given the issues with the algorithm and the scores dropping for people, I do not think the score drops are the reason people are upset. 

My score dropped from a 79 to a 60. The average score of people I influenced went from high 60's & 70's to spam accounts with scores in the teens. My amplification dropped and stayed at a steady score of eight??

I also deleted 7 of the network accounts two weeks ago and have seen not even a point drop in my score. So what does that tell you? That connecting the networks and providing the data did absolutely NOTHING for my score in hte new algorithm. However, they sure did get a TON of my data for such.  

I think the key reasons people are upset and Klout has lost credibility and will fail if they don't fix it is the following: 

1. Privacy issues & profiles of minors are being created on Klout. They are creating profiles for children who have account on Facebook set to private. These children are also listed as influencers, sometimes caused by them commenting on a public post on a another users profile. 

2. Algorithm is unexplained. What drove down the scores? Why the focus on prioritizing accounts/influencers with smaller following and who tweet, post or engage less? 

3. Unexplained "glitches". Check out this image of 3 accounts up until today Klout had listed as top 3 people who influenced me. http://www.twitpic.com/7a9u45

Note they almost all the same exact stats including number of followers as well number of tweets sent. Even more crazy is all 3 accounts had only sent 2 tweets ever. Both tweets happen to be the same. One is a retweet of one of my tweets. 

I know this may sound a little crazy but is there a push toward focusing on spam accounts because it is easier to game the system? Think of this model where advertisers can then create fake accounts, and they show up on the influence page of someone like myself who has 65k followers. I'd love to see the analytics of click thrus from accounts on Klout to the influencers who supposably influence them. 

My next question here is how the heck did they prioritize all these people as top influencers to me? Their answer after a week of asking was "your profile must have been affected by a "glitch"" Really Klout? Ya' think? 

5. Their lack of response and communication. They launched a new algorithm stating it would have more transparency yet they seem to have disappeared into the deep end. Where are they? Where are the answers? This I think is their biggest mistake. If there are issues with the algorithm then come forward.

You lose my trust, you lose me. They have lost my trust plain and simple. That is the reason I will delete every Klout score we have on every account. I am also informing clients not to spend a moment worrying about the score. 

6. We are not puppets. As others said, we are their product. Only we can stop such a biz model as we have control to delete our own profiles for now. Maybe?  I do not have a problem with a biz making money. I do have a problem with a company, even if in beta stating they are a standard yet they run and hide when things go awry. In reality they were brilliant. We got played, all of us and me included.  Here is the latest article I wrote on the topic "Stop the Social Puppetry for Klout & Other Influence Metrics" 
http://www.pammarketingnut.com/2011/10/stop-the-social-puppetry-for-klout-and-other-influence-metrics/#

Question: How do I delete my profile? I do not have an option at the bottom of my settings page to delete it?? I have sent a question to Klout for such and of course have not received an answer. 

Good and empowering post! 

I guess someone at Klout read your article... because you no longer have the option to delete your account.

Seriously... I just did a search in their Help section. They said exactly what Jay said to do to delete your account. The phrase "If you would like to delete your account, click here" has been removed from the edit profile page.

Wow that's crazy! I think they JUST did this. After reading this article yesterday I also decided to go in and delete my personal account. I was able to do it easily the way Rohn explained it, but today I tried to do the same with my company account and the link was no longer there. They probably noticed a large number of people deleting their accounts. In my opinion, this should'nt be legal for them to do, but it sure proves Rohn's point about how shady they really are.

but we'll get mesuared anyway by Klout if we're not registered for Klout...
what to do about it? 

Alas, you have to register for Klout in order to delete a profile they compiled about you without your permission.

Log in with Twitter credentials, follow the delete profile directions in my post, then go to Twitter and revoke the permission you gave to Klout to log on.

Thanks-RJ

See below posts - they have deleted the delete button!!!!

Now what? I've emailed them - waiting for a response...

 

 

I've been thinking about Klout for awhile now too and had decided that it did me no good whatsoever. No harm, but no good. So I'm trying to delete it, but can't find a delete button. I won't give up, though. I'm deleting. Excellent post, btw, thanks.

I've found a far more fun way to do this. Don't delete your account, just cannibalise your profile description:

Mine now reads: "If you believe someone's influence can be measured by an algorithm like Klout you are frankly stupid."

Have fun with your own and then share using the twitter hashtag #altkloutprofiles

Ha! I'm still for deleteing profiles entirely in order to try to gain a critical mass of cancellations.  

But this strategy comes in a close second.  #altkloutprofiles noted.

Hi Jeremy, it looks like your account has been deleted after all. Your profile link redirects to:

http://klout.com/#/static/disabled

Today Klout stopped allowing accounts to be deleted.  I just checked the Klout "profile settings" page for someone else, and the option "If you would like to delete your account, click here" has been removed. Here are the official instructions posted last week by Klout on how to delete your account: http://support.klout.com/customer/portal/articles/227013 

If you go to the "profile settings" page you will see the option has been removed.  

There still technically is an "op-out" page, but it's been disconnected from "profile settings," so the only way you can get to it is if you have the direct link.  If you complain to Klout about this, they will send you this direct link.  

I guess we all do have some "klout" after all.  Thx-RJ

It's not clear to me that I need to delete my Klout score, however, I can choose to ignore that I have one. The other issues that may turn into an entire subscription include but are not limited to, will I ever get asked why I don't use Klout, and will it matter at that point.

I feel it's easier instead of taking the time to delete my score/profile entirely, I can simply choose not to play the social media game.

I like Klout, it's not perfect, but it provides me a lens that I don't otherwise have to gauge influence. It's generation 1 for sure, but helpful. I wonder if this will increase my klout?  :)

RJM, Thanks for slapping our faces. I have followed your lead on this one. It was rather difficult though. One must follow the link you provide as they have completely blanked out the Change Profile page.

 

This morning Klout restored "delete your account" link to the "profile settings" page. Yesterday Klout dis-connected the link after receiving a large number of deletion.   Please, please do.  @consultclay, no face slap intended, but glad you hear the clarion call.  

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