Klout: 2.5 Million Profiles Deleted? Maybe 10,000? Who Knows?


Dutch blogger Martijn Linnsen has reviewed 18,000 Klout profiles captured prior to November 1 and found approximately 2.5% were no longer active as of December 1.  This could mean hundreds of thousands of Klout profiles have been deleted by users since the “delete your profile” option was finally offered by Klout on November 1.  I was going to add this as a comment on Social Media Today, but I think it deserves a post of his own.

Linnsen has published his results on his blog this weekend, in a post e  ntitled “Klout-O-calypse-2.5 Million People Can’t Be Wrong.”

Assuming Klout’s claim of 100 million profiles is accurate (and who really knows if that’s true?) this would mean something on the order of 2.5 million accounts of real people were deleted form Klout in November. Of those with Klout scores between 50 and 80, 4.5% of accounts were deleted by Klout–all of this despite Klout hiding the “delete your profile” function four levels deep in their site with no obvious link to it.

In an interview with me two weeks ago, Klout CEO Joe Fernandez said that since the “delete your profile” option was first offered on November 1  ” total opt-outs (were) less than .01% of our registered base.”  Note that Fernandez said, “registered base,” which I take to mean people who actively signed up for a Klout account and connected their social media networks like Twitter and Facebook voluntarily.

Klout also creates profiles of people without their knowledge or opt-in.  No one outside of Klout knows how big the number of registered users is versus these “non opt-in” profiles.  But even if it’s 50% of the 100 million Klout boasts, Fernandez was saying the total number of “opt-outs” was less than 5,000.  Linnsen’s review suggests the number might be 100 times larger.

Some profiles could have been deleted by Klout because they were private Facebook accounts un-intentionally grabbed from posts by public Facebook accounts.  Maybe some deleted profiles were minors, though Klout has not specified if and how they can identify accounts of people under the age of 18. (See my post, “Five Questions Klout Can’t Answer.” November 29)  But even discounting the raw numbers 10 times you still get totals vastly larger than what Joe Fernandez claims.

Linnsen acquired a list of 20,000 Klout accounts from University of San Francisco marketing professor Christopher Penn.  Linnsen first  deliberately eliminated any profiles with a Klout score of 10 since many of these “10s” are phony or abberant–so his sample of 18, 523 included only those with scores of 11 or above–in other words, active accounts.  (You can see a graph of how many scores per number from 0-100 in his post.)

These 20,000 scores were captured prior to Klout’s October 26 algorythim update, hence the scores are higher than we see post October 26. This explains why 17% of the scores were above 50, versus Fernandez’s statement only 6% of Klout scores are 50+ today.

But the important point is that Klout scores in the 50-80 range shown in Linnsen’s research are the most active individuals in social media outside of those named Obama or Gaga.  And Linnsen shows 4.5% of those profiles turned into puppy dogs by December 1.

What’s the truth about the number of people who have deleted their Klout profiles? Who knows?  Maybe even Joe Fernandez doesn’t know.

But it’s not “less than .01%of our registered base.”   And now there’s evidence the number could be  much, much larger.

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About Rohn Jay Miller

I'm a strategic designer who works with clients who are transforming their business models because of change brought on by the Internet. Solving disruption is often a problem and an opportunity at the same time. Previously I was a founding partner of Ikonic/USWeb in San Francisco, and Senior Vice President--Product & Technology for Knight Ridder in San Jose.

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