With all the consternation over accurate algorithms and how many PhDs work down in the basement at Klout, it occurred to me that I should test things out. Guess what - Klout scores are garbage. They were garbage before, and they're garbage now. I just proved it.
Dimensions of Garbage
Let me explain - because the term "garbage" has so many dimensions, and I'm only going to explore one of them.
A couple of weeks ago, I created a fake Twitter account. I followed a few thousand users at random, and unfollowed people every few days.
Along the way, I tweeted almost 50 times - retweets of other people's comments. Nothing interesting, original or engaging.
In other words, I created an imaginary person (named John) who says nothing, ignores any messages, doesn't send any messages, and simply retweets a few times a day. I've created someone who has zero influence. Zero clout. Zero engagement. His picture is even modelled after someone with zero clout - Homer Simpson.
But Lots of Klout
Imagine my surprise when "John" signs into Klout today for the first time...and discovers that he has a Klout score of 37 - which I'm guessing puts him in the top 20% of all social influencers, even though he has no Facebook page, no Google+, no LinkedIn or anything else.
Anything This Simple Isn't "Gaming"
Now, there are people who will criticize me for trying to "game" Klout. I hardly call 4 retweets a day and following a few thousand random people and not doing anything else "gaming". He even follows almost twice as many people as follow him - a classic sign of someone with low influence.
And Scores are Meaningless
Klout - say what you want about having the most scientific algorithm, or the most PhDs on staff - if I can create a "37" this easily, your algorithm is useless and your scores are meaningless.
If you're still panicking because your score dropped 5 points, I wouldn't be worrying very much. So next time you get all proud about your 37 (or whatever you are), take a pill and rejoin reality. John is nothing, his K-37 is nothing, and your K-score is nothing.
And What Are Advertisers Paying For?
I'm sure the Advertisers and/or "Sponsors" pay a lot of money to Klout in return for access to what they think is a valuable and vetted list of social media heavy hitters.
Maybe they're not exactly getting what they paid for.