Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why does Klout undervalue Google+

Let me start off by saying that I'm a fan of Klout. I think that they are a very interesting metric of social network activity. I like the idea of an attention based economy and I think that Klout is a potential model for how that could begin. Plus there is the Scala factor. Given the I am a Scala zealot I love that Klout not only uses Scala but that they write about it in their engineering blog. I think they give great publicity to the language. I am also very much looking forward to having Klout include other networks in their scores. Specifically, I would love to see the inclusion of YouTube and Blogger.

Having said all of that, there is one thing that has been really bothering me. I feel that Klout dramatically undervalues Google+. To illustrates this we can look at the my profile and the network breakdown on Klout.


You can see that Klout says that most of my score comes from Facebook followed by Twitter and then Google+ right behind that. They also provide some summary information for what they base this on including friends, followers, and interactions on the different networks.

One of the things that Klout isn't showing under the Network information is how many people have me in circles on Google+. I find this very odd given that they do list number of friends for Facebook and number of followers on Twitter. So you can see in the figure above that I have less than 200 Twitter followers and under 600 Facebook friends. To compare this to Google+ I've included my CircleCount page here.


You can see from this that I have over 8,500 followers on Google+. I'll be the first to admit that I don't have a lot of engagement with the vast majority of those followers, but I typically get 10+ notifications of some type of engagement every day. I probably get a bit more engagement on Facebook, but I have much, much less on Twitter.

So my question is, why does Klout say that Twitter is slightly more significant than Google+ and that Facebook is more than 6x as significant? Is there something about the API that Google provides that prevents them from getting the needed data to consider Google+ appropriately or is their formula simply messed up? I'm hoping someone working at Klout might see this and comment. Maybe even look into it and consider tweaking that part of their formula in the next major revision. I realize it is very hard to compare across networks and that probably leads to differences, but this seems a bit extreme to me. I also feel for the Klout developers as they look at how to integrate Blogger, YouTube, and others.