Thursday, 10 November 2011

Once bitten, twice shy? Klout scores get clouted again

Almost 1.5 years ago I showed how very, very flawed Klout's actually is. I made some nice screenshots and illustrated how Klout's scoring is statistically impossible, and how they magically manage to present you with two scores at the same time.
Today, history repeats itself, proving that Klout is still just as immature a product as they were in June 2010. Apparently, some need to fail more than once in order to learn something

The post I refer to is Get your act together! @Klout - very obviously directed at Klout, and it even got a comment from Megan Berry, back then (and still at the moment) Marketing Manager for Klout. The reaction was typical:

Our CEO actually wrote a blog post about this a few days ago.

The Twitter API was having issues last week and that affected some of our scores.

If you're account is having this issue please email and we'll fix it. Thanks!

-Megan Berry

Of course Klout needs to have access to the Twitter API in order to get their own scores calculated, that is understandable.
What is not understandable is that, when the Twitter API is only half-accessible, or drops the line on you before your result set is complete, Klout left their users with some half-baked result as a consequence.
Scores dropping by 50% or more overnight, sub-scores increasing a tenfold overnight, the results were awkward. My message to Klout back then:

Collecting scores like these is a chain-of-events of course, where each step has to be taken very carefully, and succesfully completed, before continuing. In IT this is called a transaction, consisting of multiple checkpoints or savepoints. If any of those fails, the entire transaction should be considered to have failed

Consider that a free advice on programming.
Was it followed up? Apparently, not. Today, only a week after the KloutoCalypse that started when Klout finally let their users unsubscribe, resulting in over 20% of profiles being dropped, Klout drops the ball again:

Looks familiar? Sure does - only now the difference between the actual score (42,56) and the score shown (10.0) is a factor 4 to 5, rather than a 20 to 30 percentage

It is redefining the meaning of clumsiness, and blatant disregard for their own product, as well as their users - even if most of their users are called "users" because Klout uses them for their service, in stead of vice versa. How on earth can you present people with one picture in which you show two completely different numbers? In my world, you can't. In Klout's world, it's a piece of cake, and so embedded in their product that they just can't root it out

I really hope that Klout will not lose the data / fact that a growing minority of people have explicitly deleted their profile, and simply add them again when Klout makes their next round on filling their user-base.
It would however absolutely not surprise me, nor the average Klout critic I think

How many failures can Klout afford before the majority of its users turns against it? Or how many more, before its customers get fed up with its volatile product? Or how many more, before their "top influencers" start deleting their profile?

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