The Measurement Menaces of the Month: Those Who Use Klout as Part of Their Audience Targeting Systems

Years ago I named anyone who used Klout a Measurement Menace of the Month, because Klout was a bogus score that was badly calculated and frequently misused (including in hiring decisions). It has since evolved to include a whole bunch of other sources, but is still overly relied upon as a measure of influence.

Today, the new Measurement Menaces are the developers and publishers that use Klout and other algorithms in their audience targeting systems. The results are so error-prone that they make for a very fuzzy and even ridiculous attempt at influence marketing.

These Menaces are the ones that have decided that I, because I search and write about “measurement,” would naturally be interested in a refractometer, whatever that is. ? Here’s an even more bizarre example. A while back I blogged about shopping at Goodwill, and some system somewhere decided I must be a fashion writer (actually that was my mother, Nancy White. In fact, were she alive, she would call me the anti-fashionista.) Nonetheless, I now get pitches and invitations to cover Fashion Week. While I’m sure a percentage of my audience may be fashionistas, it is hardly what my subscribers are paying to read.

This mistargeted targeting has gotten so bad that I now have an automated reply:

Have you ever even read my newsletter? What in God’s green earth has this press release got to do with measurement of communications? You clearly got my name from some smarmy list vendor. I am now blocking your site as spam.

I don’t use it all the time, but when I do I generally get a very apologetic response. I figure I’ve taught one more junior PR person to clean up their list before they spam journalists.

My point is that using bad algorithms and bad metrics devalues the whole concept of influence marketing. Congratulations to our Measurement Menaces of the Month. They render influence, well, uninfluential. ∞

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