Continuing the discussion in my earlier post, PeerIndex: Rating Authority and Relevancy, let’s look in detail at some of the challenges for PeerIndex and what lessons Klout can learn.
Challenges for PeerIndex
1. Get More Accurate Scores of the Big Guys
I saw several folks yesterday seeing their PeerIndex score as Zero. Apart from that, look at just these examples:
Something is clearly not right. These are two of the most influential people in tech and media. These are folks who can make or break a startup, and you better get their scores right if you’re to gain any credibility and leverage their influence.
2. Adapt to Different Content Curation Approaches
Different people use Twitter in different ways. For example, Louis Gray’s sharing is primarily through Google Reader, which is tweeted by @lgstream. Robert Scoble’s content curation is through his Twitter Favorites.
These are influential early-adopters, who consume and filter from a massive information stream, and have hence tweaked their Twitter usage habits to suit their needs. The use of their primary Twitter account is for conversation, while curated content gets a separate, dedicated feed.
PeerIndex probably needs to find a way to incorporate multiple Twitter accounts and Twitter favorites into its ranking.
3. Offline Influence Tracking
This is a tough nut to crack and I’m only reiterating it here for the sake of completeness.
Lessons for Klout
1. Diversify Beyond Twitter
If you’re not leveraging Facebook, you’re yet to capitalize on the social web. The Twitterverse is a significant, but small part of the social web.
2. Remember Your Promises
In January 2010, Klout announced that they will be releasing lists of the top influencers for a new country every week. By August 2010, how many country lists have been published? Three – Brazil, UK, and Germany.
3. Leverage Twitter Lists
For a startup aiming to build definitive influence ranking on Twitter, you would think you can readily follow top influencers by region, topic, etc. from their Twitter account. Here are the only lists Klout has created on Twitter:
This is a failure to capitalize on and leverage a core Twitter feature.
4. Don’t Sacrifice Functionality For UI
I have said it before and I’ll say it again: If You’re Removing Features, Please Tell Your Users!
In May, Klout launched a revamped site with a new classification system and UI. What was not announced was that you no longer had the ability to view the top influencers in a topic, or see the Klout scores of users in a Twitter List.
It is critical for users to be able to use Klout not just to check scores of people they know, but to aid discoverability, easily create Twitter lists using Klout and so on.
Both these startups are very innovative and doing some great work. These are my thoughts on some of the challenges they face and lessons they can learn.