PeerIndex: Rating Authority and Relevancy

Since Analyzing Twitter Lists-Follower Ratio As An Indicator Of Influence, I have been occasionally checking out Klout as the least followers-driven and interesting influence tracker on Twitter. Now, there’s a new kid in town in the influence measurement space and more – PeerIndex.PeerIndex Logo

Coverage of PeerIndex on Guardian, VentureBeat, and TechCrunch Europe focused only on the influence measurement aspect. Azeem Azhar, founder of PeerIndex, is a former Reuters Innovation Head, who’s also worked with The Economist, Guardian, and BBC. This rich media background drives the topic-based approach of PeerIndex and distinguishes its vision from Klout.

Comparing Ranking Methodology with Klout

Klout Score is a normalized ranking based on:

  • True Reach: The people who regularly pay attention to what you say.
  • Amplification Probability: How far (and often) your content spreads.
  • Network Influence: The influence of your engaged network.

PeerIndex Score has a fundamentally different approach. Rather than calculating a global score first, it defines topics and then calculates an Authority Score in that topic. The rationale behind this is sound: that experts in one topic are not necessarily experts in another.

The PeerIndex Score is a normalized ranking based on:

  • Authority: Quality of the links you share and content you recommend.
  • Activity: How active you are in a topic based on relevance.
  • Audience: Number of people you can reach after discounting spam/gamed/inactive accounts

The key difference between the two approaches is:

PeerIndex also analyzes quality of content you share, rather than just monitoring Twitter activity.

MyPeerIndex

Influence Tracking vs. Relevancy Rating

While Klout is focused solely on Twitter mechanics, PeerIndex also focuses on relevancy of content shared in the context of a topic. Azeem tells me that they are presently tracking over 100 topics, and more topics will be made public in phases.

LinkedIn and Facebook Integration

PeerIndex integrates your LinkedIn and Facebook profiles in scoring, while Klout only works with Twitter. I think this is a huge difference that will affect the usefulness of such services. If you have a Facebook fan page with lots of fans, and are connected to other influencers on LinkedIn, Klout won’t take that into account, but PeerIndex can.

At present, it only considers raw number of connections, but may use more engagement metrics from these services in the future.

Blog Integration

Another interesting factor is the ability to add your blog or website to your profile. At present, there is little effect of adding a blog on one’s PeerIndex score, but it is a step in the right direction. It will be interesting if PeerIndex can assess the authority of your blog and factor it in its ranking.

PeerIndex Add Blog

People Focus: No Brands

The team has made a conscious decision to keep brands and organizational accounts out of its site. The focus is on finding people, exclusively. So, @TechCrunch and @Mashable may have high Klout scores, but they don’t have a PeerIndex.

[Update: As Azeem clarifies in the comments, brand scores are kept internal to the system, just not made public.]

Valuing Curation: Oversharers Penalized

I had written in March about oversharing in social media and how curation increases your reputation. Now, PeerIndex puts this principle in action: there is a cost for oversharing. Noise in your feed reduces the relevance of your shares, hence your ranking goes down.

Challenges: Real World Influence

As with any web service, the challenges for PeerIndex are that there is no standard way all influencers use the social web. For example, authors of real-world books, who may in fact be really influential, may not be active users of the social web. Some may not use Twitter at all. In the end, these services are really useful only for people discovery on the social web.

Future: Authoritative News Aggregation

PeerIndex plans to sell a premium service to brand marketing and PR, to help them identify which influencers their clients should target. More interestingly, Azeem also shared with me the idea of collating the opinions of different authorities to create an aggregated newspaper.

The possibilities are fascinating. Imagine sections from Flipboard – like FlipFinance or FlipTech being powered by topic-based authorities from PeerIndex. According to Azeem, their topic model is not constrained and can be extended to any number of topics. What we have here is an Open-ended Authority-cum-Relevance Ranking Engine.

API? Coming soon.

Azeem’s Interview With Scoble

Do check out this really insightful interview by Robert Scoble with Azeem Azhar.

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