From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Klout logo.svg
Type of businessSubsidiary
Type of site
Social Networking
Available inEnglish
United States
Area servedWorldwide
OwnerLithium Technologies
Founder(s)Joe Fernandez
Binh Tran
Key peopleJoe Fernandez (CEO)
Emil Michael (COO)
Current statusClosed

Klout was a website and mobile app that used social media analytics to rate its users according to online social influence via the "Klout Score", which was a numerical value between 1 and 100. In determining the user score, Klout measured the size of a user's social media network and correlated the content created to measure how other users interact with that content.[1] Klout launched in 2008.[2]

Lithium Technologies, who acquired the site in March 2014, closed the service on May 25, 2018.[3][4]

Klout used Bing, Facebook, Foursquare, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn (individuals' pages, not corporate/business), Twitter, Wikipedia, and YouTube[citation needed] data to create Klout user profiles that were assigned a "Klout Score".[5][6] Klout scores ranged from 1 to 100, with higher scores corresponding to a higher ranking of the breadth and strength of one's online social influence. While all Twitter users were assigned a score, users who registered at Klout could link multiple social networks, of which network data was then aggregated to influence the user's Klout Score.


Klout measured influence by using data points from Twitter, such as the following count, follower count, retweets, list memberships, how many spam/dead accounts were following you, how influential the people who retweet you were and unique mentions. This information was combined with data from a number of other social network followings and interactions to come up with the Klout Score.[7] Other accounts such as Flickr, Blogger, Tumblr, Last.fm, and WordPress could also be linked by users, but they did not weigh into the Klout Score. Microsoft announced a strategic investment in Klout in September 2012 whereby Bing would have access to Klout influence technology, and Klout would have access to Bing search data for its scoring algorithm.[8]

Klout scores were supplemented with three nominally more specific measures, which Klout calls "true reach", "amplification" and "network impact". True reach is based on the size of a user's engaged audience who actively engage in the user's messages.[9] Amplification score relates to the likelihood that one's messages will generate actions, such as retweets, mentions, likes and comments. Network impact reflects the computed influence value of a person's engaged audience.[10]


In 2007, Joe Fernandez underwent a surgery that required him to wire his mouth shut. Because he could not speak for three months, he turned to Facebook and Twitter for social interaction. During this period, he became obsessed with the idea that "word of mouth was measurable." Pulling data from Twitter’s API, he created a prototype that would assign users a score out of 100 to measure their influence. Midway into 2008, he showed the prototype to some friends, who told him it was "the dumbest thing ever."[11]

In May 2018, Klout announced that it would cease operations on May 25, 2018. The closure had been planned for some time and was accelerated by the entry into force of the General Data Protection Regulation.[12]

Business model[edit]


The primary business model for Klout involved companies paying Klout for Perks campaigns, in which a company offers free services or products to Klout users who match a pre-defined set of criteria including their scores, topics, and geographic locations. While Klout users who had received Perks were under no obligation to write about them, the hope was that they will effectively advertise the products on social media. Klout offered the Perks program beginning in 2010. According to Klout CEO Joe Fernandez, about 50 partnerships had been established as of November 2011.[13] In May 2013, Klout announced that its users had claimed more than 1 million Perks across over 400 campaigns.[14]

Klout for business[edit]

In March 2013, Klout announced its intention to begin displaying business analytics aimed at helping business and brand users learn about their online audiences.[15]

Content page[edit]

In September 2012, Klout announced an information-sharing partnership with the Bing search engine, showing Klout scores in Bing searches and allowing Klout users to post items selected by Bing to social media.[16][17]


Several objections to Klout's methodology were raised regarding both the process by which scores were generated, and the overall societal effect.[18] Critics pointed out that Klout scores were not representative of the influence a person really has, highlighted by Barack Obama, then President of the United States, having a lower influence score than a number of bloggers.[19] Other social critics argued that the Klout score devalued authentic online communication and promoted social ranking and stratification by trying to quantify human interaction.[20] Klout attempted to address some of these criticisms, and updated their algorithms so that Barack Obama's importance was better reflected.[21]

The site was criticized for violating the privacy of minors, and for exploiting users for its own profit.[22]

John Scalzi described the principle behind Klout's operation as "socially evil" in its exploitation of its users' status anxiety.[23] Charles Stross described the service as "the Internet equivalent of herpes," blogging that his analysis of Klout's terms and conditions revealed that the company's business model was illegal in the United Kingdom, where it conflicted with the Data Protection Act 1998; Stross advised readers to delete their Klout accounts and opt out of Klout services.[24]

Ben Rothke concluded that "Klout has its work cut out, and it seems like they need to be in beta a while longer. Klout can and should be applauded for trying to measure this monstrosity called social influence; but their results of influence should, in truth, carry very little influence."[25]

Klout was criticised for the opacity of their methodology. While it was claimed that advanced machine learning techniques were used, leveraging network theory, Sean Golliher analysed Klout scores of Twitter users and found that the simple logarithm of the number of followers was sufficient to explain 95% of the variance.[26] In November 2015 Klout released an academic paper discussing their methodology at the IEEE BigData 2015 Conference.[27]

In spite of the controversy, some employers made hiring decisions based on Klout scores. As reported in an article for Wired, a man recruited for a VP position with fifteen years of experience consulting for companies including America Online, Ford and Kraft was eliminated as a candidate specifically because of his Klout score, which at the time was 34, in favour of a candidate with a score of 67.[28]

Notable events[edit]

  • September 2011: Klout integrated with Google+.[29]
  • October 2011: Klout changed its scoring algorithm, lowering many scores and creating complaints.[30]
  • November 2011: Klout partnered with Wahooly for their beta launch.[31]
  • January 2012: Klout was able to raise an estimated $30 million from a host of venture capital firms.[32]
  • February 2012: Klout acquired local and mobile neighborhood app Blockboard.[33]
  • May 2012: Klout announced growth of 2000 new partners over a one-year period.[34]
  • August 14, 2012: Klout changed its algorithm again.
  • September 2012: Microsoft announced a strategic investment in Klout for an undisclosed sum.
  • March 28, 2013: Klout announced inclusion of Instagram analytics in factoring Klout scores.[35]
  • May 13, 2013: Klout users had claimed more than 1 million Perks across over 400 campaigns.
  • March 27, 2014: Lithium Technologies acquired Klout.[36]
  • September 14, 2015: Engagement on YouTube content was factored into the Klout Score
  • October 29, 2015: Klout exposed inner workings of the Klout Score.[37]
  • May 10, 2018: Lithium announced that they would be ending the service on May 25, 2018.

Similar metrics[edit]

See also[edit]

  • Q Score, a rating system for brand/celebrity popularity
  • BitClout, a social network based on popularity with monetary value (cryptocurrency) assigned to each user


  1. ^ Lauren Fisher (July 20, 2010). "How can you measure influence?". Simply Zesty. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  2. ^ "About Klout".
  3. ^ "Klout is shutting down, so your score REALLY doesn't matter now". 10 May 2018.
  4. ^ "Klout is now kaput". 25 May 2017.
  5. ^ "Frequently Asked Questions | Klout". Archived from the original on 2012-12-03. How does adding new networks on Klout impact my Score? | [...] Klout currently incorporates data from Facebook profiles, Twitter, Google+ personal profiles, LinkedIn, foursquare, Klout, and Wikipedia into the Klout Score.
  6. ^ Anthony Ha (March 28, 2013). "Klout Users Can Now Add Bing To Their Account And Include Instagram In Their Score". TechCrunch. Retrieved 28 March 2013.
  7. ^ Ben Parr (October 16, 2010). "Klout Now Measures Your Influence on Facebook". Mashable. Retrieved 22 October 2010.
  8. ^ Jennifer Van Grove (September 27, 2012). "Microsoft buys influence for Bing with Klout investment, partnership". VentureBeat. Retrieved 27 September 2012.
  9. ^ Susan Gilbert (July 28, 2014). Social Media Influence, How to Gain Exposure and Increase Your Klout. Amazon. Retrieved 30 June 2014.
  10. ^ Jim Duffy (July 28, 2011). "Klout Review & Rating". PCMag. Retrieved 30 June 2012.
  11. ^ Bereznak, Alyssa (2018-12-17). "The Influencer Who Didn't Influence: Luka Sabbat and the Fame Economy of 2018". The Ringer. Retrieved 2021-07-06.
  12. ^ Russell, Jon (2018-05-10). "RIP Klout". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2022-11-14.
  13. ^ Williams, Stephen (November 28, 2011), Chevy Gives 3-Day Sonic Drives to Those With Big Klout, Advertising Age, retrieved 15 August 2012
  14. ^ Peterson, Tim (2012-05-13). "Klout Perks Crosses 1 Million Claims, More Than 400 Campaigns Company considering sponsored answers product with Bing". Adweek. Retrieved 2012-05-13.
  15. ^ JP Mangalindan (March 20, 2013). "Klout launches business portal, is gunning for brands". Fortune. Retrieved 20 March 2013.
  16. ^ UTC, Pete Pachal2012-09-27 21:32:39 (27 September 2012). "Bing Partners With Klout, Marrying Search and Influence". Mashable. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  17. ^ UTC, Chris Taylor2014-02-11 02:40:36 (11 February 2014). "Why Klout Had to Change — and Why You Shouldn't Count It Out". Mashable. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  18. ^ "The Geography of Klout Scores". 2012-07-17. Retrieved 2012-10-11.
  19. ^ Shontell, Alyson (December 2, 2011), The TRUTH About Your Klout Score: How Your Phony Number Is Calculated, Business Insider, retrieved 15 August 2012
  20. ^ Miller, Rohn Jay (November 9, 2011), Delete Your Klout Profile Now!, Social Media Today, retrieved 15 August 2012
  21. ^ McHugh, Molly (August 14, 2012), Klout reveals a new scoring algorithm – and the critics are quiet, Digital Trends, retrieved 18 August 2012
  22. ^ "Delete your Klout profile and be more than a Klout score". 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2011-12-12.
  23. ^ Why Klout scores are possibly evil, at CNNMoney.com, by John Scalzi, published November 15, 2011, retrieved November 26, 2011
  24. ^ Evil social networks, from Diary: Being the blog of Charles Stross, author, and occasional guests; by Charles Stross; posted November 7, 2011; retrieved November 26, 2011
  25. ^ Rothke, Ben (May 16, 2012), Some Observations on Klout Scores, Infosec Island, retrieved 15 August 2012
  26. ^ How I Reverse Engineered Klout Score to an ~ R2 = 0.94 (How to calculate Klout score). SeanGolliher.com (2011-06-27). Retrieved on 2014-02-11.
  27. ^ "The Klout Score Methodology Secrets Revealed - The Klout Blog". The Official Klout Blog. Retrieved 2015-11-25.
  28. ^ What Your Klout Score Really Means. Wired.com (24 Feb 2014). Retrieved on 2014-04-28.
  29. ^ Sarah Perez (2011-11-22). "Google+ Now Impacting Klout Scores, Active Users See Scores Go Up". TechCrunch. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  30. ^ Ingram, Mathew (2011-10-27). "Should You Care How High Your Klout Score Is?". Businessweek. Retrieved 2011-12-13.
  31. ^ Todd Wasserman (2011-11-03). "Klout: Talk-Up a Startup, Get Some Equity". Mashable. Retrieved 2011-12-28.
  32. ^ Ingram, Mathew (January 4, 2012), "Like It or Not, the Reputation Graph Is Here to Stay", Technology, Bloomberg Businessweek, retrieved 15 August 2012
  33. ^ Rao, Leena (February 7, 2012), Klout Acquires Local And Mobile Neighborhood App Blockboard, TechCrunch, retrieved 15 August 2012
  34. ^ Pendleton, Keith (2012-05-25). "Klout Announces 2000 New Partners in One Year". Social Score Rewards Official Blog. Retrieved 2012-05-29.
  35. ^ Knibbs, Kate. (2013-03-28) Want a higher Klout score? Your Instagram photos matter now. Digital Trends. Retrieved on 2013-07-30.
  36. ^ "Klout acquired for $200 million by Lithium Technologies". Fortune. 2014-03-26. Retrieved 2020-02-11.
  37. ^ Klout Score: Measuring Influence Across Multiple Social Networks
  38. ^ a b c Hall, Sharon Hurley (January 14, 2013). "3 Dashboard Tools That Measure Social Media Engagement". The Daily Egg.
  39. ^ a b c Hall, Sharon Hurley (June 4, 2013). "Conversion optimization and A/B testing tips" [Don’t Like Klout? 12 Other Ways to Track Social Media Influence and Engagement]. The Daily Egg.
  40. ^ Perez, Sarah (February 5, 2013). "Influitive Acquires Social Inbox Startup Engagio To Aid In 'Advocate Marketing' Opportunities". TechCrunch.

External links[edit]