Thursday, July 7, 2011

Klout's Algorithm Appears To Be Compromised By Social Media Credential Fraud

Is Klout's algorithm compromised by Social Media Credential Fraud? At this point, it appears that Klout's algorithm is unable to accurately measure influence because it is not able to accurately determine who has real online and/or real world influence due to Social Media Credential Fraud.

According to Klout's website, the factors in its algorithm include: "List inclusions, Follower/Follow Ratio, Followed Back %, Unique Senders, Unique Retweeters, Unique Commenters, Unique Likers, Influence of Followers, Influence of Retweeters and Mentioners, Influence of Friends, Influence of Likers and Commenters.

Follower/Follow Ratio which appears to be a major component of the algorithm is being manipulated by those practicing Social Media Credential Fraud. If the Follower/Follow Ratio can be manipulated, it appears that the Followed Back % is also compromised. On April 26, 2011, Klout's Public Relations Agency (Best Public Relations) informed me that Klout's website was recently relaunched. When I reviewed the relaunched website I noticed that the Follower/Follow Ratio and the Followed Back % were major components of their algorithm. Therefore, I immediately contacted Best Public Relations to let them know that Social Media Credential Fraud is affecting its client's ability to accurately claim that its service is able to measure one's online social influence.

Klout's PR firm responded back to me with a link to Klout's website that did not answer my question so I contacted them again to let them know that this is a very serious issue that has the ability to destroy Klout's credibility. I have not heard back from either Klout's PR firm or from Klout. Therefore, either Klout's PR firm did not relay my message to Klout's senior executives or they decided to look the other way about my concerns.

As Klout and other websites vie to become the modern day Nielsen Ratings for the Social Media Age they will have to find a way to factor Social Media Credential Fraud into their algorithms. Klout needs to follow Google's lead to penalize those who try to game their algorithm. Last year, a company called DecorMyEyes gamed Google's search rankings by intentionally encouraging bad publicity so that the company could obtain a high organic ranking on Google. After a New York Times article on this practice, Google updated its algorithm. Earlier this year, JC Penney was accused of gaming Google's search rankings before last year's Christmas Season and Google subsequently penalized JC Penney for its behavior.

Since Google has the clout to punish those who it deems are acting in an unethical manner to increase their search engine ranking, Klout should do the same for those who are intentionally gaming its algorithm by participating in Social Media Credential Fraud and other forms of misleading and unethical social media behavior to increase their Klout score. I challenge Klout along with the other services who claim to be able to measure online influence to follow Google's lead in penalizing those who to try to game their system.

To learn more about this issue you may contact me at http://shearlaw.com/attorney_profile.

Copyright 2011 by the Law Office of Bradley S. Shear, LLC. All rights reserved.