Klout Changes ... Scores Drop and Complaints Rise

Mike Johansson
Mike Johansson Senior Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology and principal at Fixitology, RIT and Fixitology

Posted on October 26th 2011

Klout, the online social media influence rating service, made some big changes today that are sure to have people talking.

The changes, earlier described by Klout CEO Joe Fernandez as a "the biggest improvement to the Klout Score in our history" are likely to tweak many who use the service.

"This project represents the biggest step forward in accuracy, transparency and our technology in Klout’s history," says Ash Rust, Director of Ranking at Klout on
the official Klout blog.

The changes include a more-detailed look on the Profile and Dashboard pages.

What’s the biggest change for most people? Officially, the Klout line is that scores will now be easier to understand. Unofficially many have seen their scores fall – in some cases significantly. Although Rust says this won’t be the case:

"A majority of users will see their Scores stay the same or go up but some users will see a drop," he says on the Klout blog.

But a quick check of the comments at the bottom of that blog post and comments on the
Mashable story about the same subject indicate many scores dropped and some dropped significantly.

My favorite comment? From someone called Dolpher:

"I think Klout just pulled a Netflix... Most people have experienced big drops. Any bit of insight into human psychology would state that in general people do not like to see their 'worth' drop sign..."

Another … this from Peter Alderliesten:

"Some scores seem not to have been influenced at all, others seem to be totally 'devastated'. To keep faith/trust in this scoring algorithm, I think Klout should explain the scoring system more fully. Transparancy maybe? "

As with all change it won’t be easy for users to accept. The big question is this: Will the changes stick? In other words will people stay with a service that just knocked them down a few – or in some cases many – pegs?

What do you think?

Mike Johansson

Mike Johansson

Senior Lecturer at Rochester Institute of Technology and principal at Fixitology, RIT and Fixitology

Mike is a strategist and teacher who helps businesses and students understand and get the most from social media. He currently is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Communication at the Rochester Institute of Technology where he teaches advertising, public relations and journalism (all with a social media twist). 

See Full Profile >


Posted on October 26th 2011 at 4:51PM

I don't take my Klout scores too seriously, but a 5 point drop overnight is ridiculous, especially with a lousy justification. So, I'm out!

Posted on October 26th 2011 at 6:31PM

They definitely need to explain how the system works. There is an explanation page but it it hard for anyone to understand what the algorithms actually mean, particularly when there are random changes like this. It probably won't harm them too much as the service is said to be beta and even then is quite good; but some transparancy is definitely a must. 

Posted on October 27th 2011 at 11:44AM

My scores have dropped by 10.. Is deflating - I had questioned Klout's ability to recognise true stats previously having tweeted one tweet about Jeremy kyle and for 3 months according to Klout I am an expert on the famous talk show host.. mmm not what I would like to be known as expert at in any form or way.. SO KLOUT YOU ARE OUT

Posted on October 27th 2011 at 1:58PM

there are some things, i don´t understand:

  • the change of the algorithm came out of a sudden, without any warning. 
  • klout is telling us, that they have a reliable score today. but didn´t they tell us the same thing yesterday?
  • the "trending" within the last month showed a slow, but steady rising - after the change it pointed straight down (and not only with my account). but since yesterday, my network raised about +200 people.
    strange, don´t you think?

generally, for me, this is no problem at all, because i´m not "into social media because of trying to reach a high klout". i´m trying to get connected with people. for private and business reasons.
but especially in the US, lot of people have to "rely" on that score, because of it´s semi-standard (remember? klout say, that you can believe in it). but it´s getting meaningles, if they change the algorithm from one day to the other.

yes, i think it had to be changed (i was ranked to high for my opinion).
fine, but why that way?

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 1:46PM

Alll they did was move the bell curve a little, essentially. Why are we all so upset about it? Get off the computer and get back to the real world.

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 2:08PM

My score went up a bit.. so I am fine with the changes.

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 2:12PM

To be fair, this is a score...I repeat a score. Not an aggregation of your life's work on the internet. It's merely to show direction of influence... and as most of you know:  Most data reports,  need regression testing and continued analysis  to ensure accuracy. It can't be right for everyone. It just needs to show direction. If you're down today, continue working at it...It can only continue to get better.  

I don't think I can agree that they pulled a "Netflix"...For those who are say they are out? You have a tool that finally, maybe even artificially justifies your "social media" title and you're complaining.  What's your alternative?

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 2:23PM

Klout began by rating twitter users. Then it went to Linkedin and Facebook. And now it's ranking everything. So a big question is: are there different types of rating systems for each type of social media...and how do they then get joined and rated? My score dropped from 17 points in about an hour. How can I rely on such a serendipitous resource? It's kind of like a random massacre - or something!

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 2:45PM

I used to think highly of Klout until this happpened.  They didn't warn us this was coming and when my score dropped 12 points in one day I thought something was wrong with the site. They should have explained it better before and after it happened. 

I actually now don't even think the scoring is accurate, as they also say I'm influential about two subjects which I am not influential about at all. I maybe have mentioned them in a few tweets, but that's it. 

Klout has definitely lost credibility after that drop.

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 2:45PM

If you don't like a bubble getting smaller, don't live in a bubble.

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 3:37PM

It goes further than that. I was "adjusted" from 74 to 61. And while I don't hold a massive amount of faith in it's accurancy (especially now) it does give our industry a barameter. Even more aggrevating is it doesn show my past month as falling from 74 to 61 but that I've been in the 60's the whole time. It's one thing to have your chart drop you from your previous number and adjust you and it's something else when they now show that you've always been here. That's not transparent at all, that's sloppy.

They'll find their way though this debacle until something comes along that will be better and adjusts them right out of usage. Count on it. We have no choice but to accept it at this point but to have Beiber at 100 and his brand protection mavens not having even signed him up seems skewed. No question Justin is the world social stream but WTF? This will all be comical in six months anyhow.

Posted on October 28th 2011 at 4:42PM

I heard it was coming but I think it is bogus since they have other bugs to work out first - such as enabling people with self-hosted Wordpress blogs to link to Klout. Wordpress hosted users can and it seems 'unbalanced'. (If you don't know what I am talking about, you can read my post about it: http://www.charlenechronicles.com/social-toast/klout-selfhosted-wordpres... to change the scores without options for some users, and without fixes on other areas first, makes me agree with many of the previous posters.

Posted on October 31st 2011 at 5:42AM

Since a while, Klout was used by people willing to be visible.

Having a high klout score was a way to get more visibility (they though).

So they used Klout daily and tried any action that would have made this score higher and found some ways to do so artificially.

I could myself get one of my score raise by 2 point in 2 days by retweeting hundreds my posts with another account of mine (one of the basic think that a lot of people did)

This was clearly making KLOUT irrelevant and inaccurate, but popular !!

Klout was a sort of game and people were comparing their Klout like children.


Question: Is it what Klout team is trying to change ?

If YES, then Klout popularity may decrease, but relevance & accuracy increase.

If YES, Klout may become what they pretend to be : a real online influence measurement tool that rate how you really influence people.

… until some will find the way around …