Once I finally thought Klout was going to leave me alone and stop haunting my dreams… that’s when they go straight for the jugular = Gilt Groupe (a personal weakness since Freshman year of college).
I got an email this morning announcing that KLOUT and GILT would be co-founding a special sale today. I immediately logged into my Gilt account so I could start reaping all the benefits of being soooo Klouty.
To access the Gilt-Klout sale, you need a Klout account. So my first impression was like “K, this is bogus. Gilt is trying to get people to sign up for Klout”.
The sale is actually called “Klout Tastemakers on Gilt”, which is code for randos with high Klout endorsing products with their “stamp of approval”. This further supported my knee-jerk reaction that this sale wasn’t all it was cracked up to be… until I found this:
- 3/6: Klout score up to 20, user gets 20% off (so… just signing up = 20% discount)
- 3/7: Klout score between 21-40, user gets 40% off
- 3/8: Klout score between 41-60, user gets 60% off (that’s me)
- 3/9: Klout score between 61-80, user gets 80% off
- 3/10: Klout score between 81-100, user gets 100% off
Holy mother of Klout. More Klout = cooler clothes = more friends = more klout = more discounts = more friends… seems like a vicious cycle…
So what does this mean in the long run?
Quick history lesson:
In the 1950s, marketing strategy was “product oriented”. Companies banked on higher quality products = more consumers.
In 2012, rather than focusing on delivering high quality products, companies now focus on having powerful social influence (aka- LuLuLemon wants you to tell your friends how awesome their leggings are, in hopes of your friends turning around and buying those leggings).
Which brings us to March 7th, 2012. With the introduction of Klout and other measures of “social influence”, companies can now tell which consumers have the most influence among their friends. They can target these consumers deemed most popular by offering rewards to based on their social influence.
This is effective because it is EXACTLY like product placement in movies and TV shows. Except the stars on TV shows are now your friends on Facebook. Instead of looking to celebrities for buying-guidance, we rely more heavily on our friends and family, and considering the overwhelming amount of options out there… friends and family seem to be our safest bet.
It’s safe to assume that more companies will be offering Klout-perks in the future, but what are the implications of this new type of sale?
Well for one, Klout’s system for calculating scores is flawed (or so I tell myself at night when I am feeling restless about my 44). Aside from my personal speculations, loads of other of other blogs have criticized Klout scores as being inaccurate.
For two, this is basically an open invitation for people to be more annoying on Twitter and Facebook. We all know that girl who changes her status 15X an hour to various angsty/sappy/lame lyrics. Just try to imagine her wanting a pair of shoes on Gilt. Now imagine her trying to up her Klout score by liking more things and commenting more… yippee… Time to start buying stock in aspirin because the annoying Facebookers and Tweeters are going to get worse.
For three (kind of a 1 + 2 combo), Klout doesn’t measure the quality of your influence. Consider Klout’s criteria:
Going back to my second point, this means the more you do = the more klout you have. So the annoying person that likes and comments on EVERYTHING is rewarded with a ridiculously high Klout score. Case and point: Courtney Stodden.
Courtney Stodden is the 17-year old bride of 50-something Doug Hutchison. She currently has 89,384 followers but influential isn’t exactly an adjective I would choose to describe Mrs. Hutchison. Measuring influence based on a numerical criteria is problematic because it doesn’t account for why you accumulate followers. While Mrs. Hutchinson may be very popular on Twitter, she is not very influential. If she tweeted “@LizGarard hey girl buy these shoes #LikeSoCute”…. I would roll my eyes and wouldn’t dare touch those shoes with a 10-foot pole.
If companies start hiring brand promoters and offering perks solely based on Klout scores, then they need to start considering other factors, such as type of influence, which cannot be easily calculate into a mere numerical score. Furthermore, Klout needs to re-tweak their criteria and score calculations so that they cannot be influenced by “artificial” activity (aka me liking all 67 of your profile pictures).
**Sigh** I miss the days of high school when popularity was just a simple measure of wear you sat at lunch…
- Forget Money. Power is Social Influence. Thanks @Klout @GiltGroupe #wtf
- Get Discounts on Gilt Groupe Based on Your Klout Score
- Can Klout Reduce Your Gilt?
-Hugs, kisses, and klout