Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket: How Will Klout Survive Twitter?

Twitter - Who to followLast week, Mashable reported on Evan Williams announcement at the Web 2.0 Summit in San Francisco that they had their own version of Klout. And who’s surprised by that? After all, when you log into the Twitter, you can see that there are suggested follower lists (perhaps a better recommendation system than the infamous Suggested User List from a few months ago). This algorithm seems to function very similarly to Klout and is this another example of the microblogging giant taking down a third-party application that impedes on its territory?

Remember their developer conference last year? In fact, this was around the time when Twitter acquired Tweetie and then proclaimed that they can easily create their own apps and bring it in-house instead of relying on third-party developers.

Well that sent shockwaves throughout the community and eventually blew over. And now it seems that another third-party application is about to take a huge hit…or are they? After all, Klout is known for being known for analyzing your Twitter influence, along the likes of Peer Index and others. So how can Klout possibly survive this announcement? It’s actually not that surprising…it’s not right that a company should try and ride on the coattails of just one company and depend solely on their service to help them generate money. And it was only a matter of time before Twitter was going to announce something that would be advantageous to them. Was Klout looking for an acquisition by Twitter? How could they compete without being kicked to the curb once Twitter unveiled their own algorithm and shut out?

No longer on borrowed time

A few months ago, I wrote another post that affected another third-party service that many thought was in the same position as Klout. That company was Seesmic and it has shown remarkable resilient to being dedicated to a “we leverage the Twitter platform exclusively” mentality. In fact, they’re growing and are adding much more plugins to their arsenal to become a truly social dashboard for the desktop. In fact, rather than being an outlet that allows people to tweet, they’re now letting people control what goes into enterprise tools like Salesforce.com, pushing content to Facebook and a slew of other applications, even integrating with Klout!

So how does this apply to Klout? Simple…it’s that Klout isn’t putting all their eggs in one basket. They’re diversifying and not solely relying on Twitter. In fact, it doesn’t seem like it’s worthy to even say that they’re measuring Twitter influence because all along, Klout has been known as a measurement of your social graph. If that happens to be solely Twitter, then that’s fine, but the truth is that it isn’t just Twitter. It’s everything that is considered social media and where you have your conversations – Facebook, MySpace, comments, YouTube, etc. and while right now, your influenced is measured based on Twitter and Facebook, I’m sure that Klout will be evolving to be a complete measurement tool to help offer companies and individuals a true assessment of how “influential” they are.

Don’t be part of the entourage

In the world of social media, there are some big movers and shakers that are developing great applications that many of us are using to this day. With companies like Facebook, Google, Apple, Twitter creating monstrous platforms, it would only make sense for developers to create supporting applications that would help make your life easier communicating and updating your account & profile. But do you necessarily design something that will only work with Google? Or Facebook? Or any other of the countless services and tools out on the Internet? Of course not…be prepared to scale and understand that while you have your hey-day and can be considered an awesome application for a major platform, there are three options to consider:

  1. You can get acquired by someone, which for entrepreneurs, this might be the way to go
  2. You go out of business because the service you took advantage of, built a stronger and integrated application like yours in-house, leaving people to move away from you
  3. You scale and continue to innnovate and not be complacent

Which is the option for you? Are you going to be someone who doesn’t just sit around and wait for the notice to drop that your services are no longer relevant and have become obsolete? Or will you continue to innovate and continue your ideas, but without relying on the benefits of others?

4 responses to “Putting All Your Eggs In One Basket: How Will Klout Survive Twitter?”

  1. Peter Avatar

    nice post. However, isn’t Zynga solely tied to Facebook?

    1. Ken Yeung Avatar

      Ahh…you raise a good point, but Zynga has started to move their games away from Facebook, haven’t they? Before you only were able to play their games on Facebook. Now you can play it on Zynga’s website and I imagine soon you’ll be able to play other social games on other platforms.I think relying on Facebook’s platform is a flaw that should be corrected – if you look at it, a huge benefit of having it on Facebook is the chance at taking advantage of 500 million people – that’s a lot of customers that you can get quite easily in one giant network!

      1. Peter Avatar

        Yes, there are always exceptions. We’ve seen similar platform strategies in the past, most notably Microsoft, notorious for killing ecosystem partners by developing their own versions (IE killed Netscape, MS Money tried unsuccessfully to kill Quicken), etc. At least FB has come out and publicly said they will not get into social games but we will see if this strategy holds if Zynga gets too big and making to much profit relative to FB. Fun to watch though!

        1. Ken Yeung Avatar

          Facebook, in my opinion, is a bit of an abnormality because what they’re trying to do is build their own version of the Internet within the confines of the web…a mini-universe, if you will. They’re rolling out things that are pretty self-contained within their platform and people will be drawn to spending their entire time online in their network – from reviews, business, selling things in the marketplace, classifieds, messaging, email, forums, etc.- it’s all there!

          Will Facebook swallow up social gaming and make it its own? I don’t think so…at least right now because Zynga seems to be the bigger dog in that niche. Facebook can surely try and start acquiring all these small games, but Zynga is a big player compared to looking at Klout and Twitter or Twitter and Tweetdeck, Seesmic and all the other third-party applications. I think Facebook would have a really hard time kicking Zynga around and pushing them off the proverbial playground swing.

          Zynga and all social gaming companies probably already know that the social aspect should motivate them to go towards other platforms as well, including mobile apps, MySpace (yes, still relevant) and other stand-alone sites that allow gamers to synch up with other players and share their experience.

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