Thanks to Zoli Erdos for the last bit to the title.
I’ve gotten worked up a bit about the Influence game in general and Klout in particular, resulting in a few posts of which “Klout. Nail. Coffin. Who cares?” was the last one. This post is a bit about Klout, but not really (wouldn’t want to break that promise, however tempting every now and then).
With Klout marketing themselves as the standard for influence, determining which people are Influencers, these socalled Influencers become nothing more than puppets in Klout’s hands. The real Influencer? Klout itself of course.
Mack Collier and Olivier Blanchard have been willing marionettes in their hands lately, telling them how they want to be puppeteered after they got a shiny present via Klout.
Of course it’s in the fine print that they don’t have to post or do anything, but been put on a guilt trip is rather easy when you receive e.g. a free PSP. Other than that, they give the brand(s) and klout and themselves exposure, so it’s a win-win-win situation, isn’t it?
No. No matter how much they object to what and how they got, they simply are under the Influence and love to be treated special – who doesn’t? First, they’re called Influential (ego boost one). Then, they get a present (ego boost two). And finally, they get to brag about it (ego boost three).
Predictable? I’d say so. Giving free exposure to Klout, free exposure to the brands, and all that for a combined following of 56,000 people – for only a few hundred bucks at most (no idea what Klout is getting paid for it of course, they are not the transparent kind: that is part of their 1.0 ways it seems). For a marketing company operating in a 2.0 world on the edge, they share very little of the 2.0 common habits such as honesty, transparency and openness.
So, “the standard for Influence” is indeed making name as the standard for Influence, no matter how crappy their underlying product and service. How? By puppeteering other marketing people into spreading their word. It’s pretty much like a computer virus, infecting willing hosts and bypassing the ones that are strong enough to withstand them. Even clear messages from people in the know, like Twitalyzer’s CEO, that these so-called Social Influence tools only measure Twitter use – it is all in vain, because the so-called Influencers labeled as such by Klout are vain themselves.
So far, the only influencer is Klout itself. They are breeding a willing population of puppets to do their bidding, and succeeding so far. In a year from now, if the Klout bubble hasn’t burst, they’ll determine who’s who and companies all over the world will reach out to them because they are perceived as the standard for Influence. Meanwhile, they’re keeping their puppets under the influence by giving them occasional toys.
Will their scheme work? Of course it will. The proof is out there.
But will companies get the desired effect? Before that gets measurable, I’m sure Klout will have sold out and laughing at everyone from a hammock on some sunny island.
Meanwhile, back home, the word “Influence” will have become tainted so much that it will be replaced by a new one, the so-called Influencers will pretend they didn’t make a fool of themselves, and everyone will carry on – or will they?
(Cross-posted @ Business or Pleasure? - why not both)