Measuring Results, Social Media

Why Danny Brown is NOT an Influential Shepherd – The Klout Debate

photo credit from

Klout is one of the most controversial and yet extremely convenient ways to measure social media presence on the internet today.

There have been plenty of arguments as to why Klout is the best, why Klout sucks, why Klout is completely inaccurate, and why Klout is a stupid program that can be gamed to get a better score.

My readers know perfectly well that I am a Klout supporter, but that doesn’t mean that I don’t read and understand other opinions on the tool. And one in particular caught my eye that I would like to share.

Make Yourself An Influencer By Playing The Klout +K Game is a post by Danny Brown, and is one of the most popular arguments against the +K system. If you’re not familiar with Klout, please click here first.

But for those only unfamiliar with +K, it is a new feature that allows you to let Klout know directly who has influenced you and on what topic. (For instance, you might go to my Klout profile and give me a +K for “social media” because that is what I talk about here. My readers on The Schmittastic Vlogs might go to Klout and give me a +K for “video” because that is 90% of what I do over there.)

Danny used this feature to game the Klout system to show he was an online influencer in “sheep” (please see my conversations with Danny in the comments section for a correction to this statement that I found out is not entirely true), thus proving his point that you can manipulate your Klout score to reflect whatever you want and it is not an accurate measurement system for social media.

Interesting experiment (and quite hilarious actually… you should watch his video if you haven’t already), except Danny Brown is ALREADY an online influencer who has shared his negative thoughts about Klout previously. So he had plenty of readers/advocates on his side to help him achieve his influential shepherd status. So this argument is totally bogus for me because he wouldn’t have been able to pull this stunt off without the help of the people he has already influenced through his social media and blogging advice on

I especially knew his take was a little off because he stated in the post that he is one of the people who doesn’t find real value in Klout because he doesn’t feel “you can measure influence purely by what you do online.”

Huh? Who said anything about that?

Klout clearly states in their bio that they measure your online influence — NOT the entirety of your influence as a human being.

If Klout has an algorithm that measures how many people click my links, retweet my posts, like my status updates, and share my stuff with their networks, there is CLEARLY value in that statistic for me. The first step to making a sale is getting people to respond to your call to actions. What you do from there is up to you. What you do from there cannot be measured by Klout.

If you build trust, relationships and engagement online that lead to an influential online presence and then can’t close the deal by making a sale or getting their e-mail address, that has nothing to do with your Klout score. But having this scoring system as a way of getting started to see where you need to make improvements in your engagement is absolutely priceless to help you measure for success in the long run.

Keep in mind what Klout was built to do and don’t expect it to be the end all be all of your online marketing measurement.

Full Disclosure: I am one of Danny’s readers and respect his opinions a great deal. This one in particular, I just don’t happen to agree with. What do you think about his thoughts on Klout? Do you think he’s right about the +K system?


Amy Schmittauer Visit Website
Amy Schmittauer is Founder and Face of Leading the charge in video blogging for business, Amy has grown a following for the site that has amassed more than 1.2 million video views and become a vital referral source consultancy and public speaking career. She is a proud beagle mom, coffee addict and shares most of her life via video and on Twitter. A true social media frenzy. Connect with her on Twitter.
Related Posts
Facebook Measurement: It’s More Than Just Fans
PATH = Passive Aggressive Tweets Here
Fri. Oct. 14th :: Top 5 Stories in Social and Tech

I have no idea about Klout actually, it sounds new to me but it finds me interesting. Well, thank you for this great information about Klout and I learn something new right here. Thanks!

Latest blog post: Abs Diet Recipes


Klout CEO, Joe Fernandez, claims ‎"People put Klout score on their resume."Why would you hire someone who spends all day keeping Klout scores up? You don't. You hire someone to get your work done! Klout scores could hurt your chances of landing a job.

Danny Brown
Danny Brown

Hi Amy,

Great counterpoints, and I actually agree - you can measure your online impact, and take steps to see if that can be improved. So on that, we definitely agree :)

The problem I have with Klout is that they themselves declare their system to be "The Standard For Influence". Not *online influence*, but influence full stop (see the linked screenshot below, taken from their home page just before commenting here):

That's a dangerous statement to make because it makes Klout sound much more than it is. Because of this, we're already seeing crazy decisions, like companies hiring people based on their Klout score (as opposed to their actual qualifications). Or hotels give preference to people with higher Klout scores than other guests, in the hope they receive favourable reviews.

Sorry, but for me, that's encouraging elitism and something I want no part of. Who's to say that I should get a better hotel room, because I have a bigger Klout score than a couple that have saved for months to get their special weekend away from their everyday problems but don't have a clue what Klout is?

The funny thing about the sheep expert knowledge is that I had no idea about it until people started tweeting it at me. I still don't know how it happened - I'm guessing because I wrote a post with the "sheep" and "shepherd" in the title. But if that's how Klout defines influence, then I'll continue to question their methods.

I will give Joe Fernandez kudos for the way he's responded to criticism of his service. However, when the system lowers your score because you haven't tweeted in a couple of days, then there's something wrong with it. That's basically saying Seth Godin isn't influential about marketing because he eschews many of the popular social networks.

Anyhoo - I've taken up enough of your time as it is. :)

Thanks for the post and the thoughts - always great to have opposing views. It's be boring otherwise. Cheers! :)

PS - It's - the site is one for a Minister in the US. Probably woudln't want to be associated with some of the stuff I write. ;-)


I think a lot of people are starting to recognize what Klout is, and not just social media experts. I find when you give people "K" for the first time they get excited about it and usually want to learn more. I enjoy the service, even though it has a few massive bugs.


The reality is, very few actually know what Klout is outside of our industry and is not what I would say very important. Now, it is a great way to gauge yourself and go from there. Have done several posts and videos on the topic of influence and Klout.

Good to see another person with a similar opinion and not the typical response saying if you don't have a good klout score, you're not influential.

Nice to see you're using Livefyre, Amy!