Klout, the $US200 million website that measured how important you are on social media with one number, is shutting down

Instagram / KloutKlout employees beneath a sign in their California headquarters.

  • Klout, a startup that measured how important you are on social media, is shutting down by the end of the month.
  • It was bought for $200 million in 2014.

It’s the end of an era for social media influencers and wannabe-influencers.

Klout, one of the buzziest tech startups circa 2011, announced on Twitter on Thursday that it was shutting the eponymous service down.

Klout was founded in 2009 by Joe Fernandez, partially as a way to get a job at Twitter, according to Business Insider. But ranking people by importance or influence turned out to be a strong enough idea to raise four rounds of venture funding from top-tier firms totaling $40 million.

Eventually, it was sold in 2014 for $200 million to Lithium Technologies, which is the company that is shutting down the service later this month. Lithium is a private company that makes digital marketing tools.

Klout enabled users to share their Facebook and Twitter data, and parsed that data through a vague algorithm to give users a simple popularity metric between 1 and 100, called the “Klout score.”

Here’s a screenshot of the software, taken on Thursday:

Klout

To be fair, Klout scores are probably not aligned with anyone’s long-term strategy, unless that involves becoming a huge Twitter star. Over the years, Klout scores became a punchline for techies and the Twitter-obsessed. “Klout has been one of my go-to punchlines for some time now,” TechCrunch founder Michael Arrington wrote in August 2012.

Klout also arguably inspired one of the most disturbing “Black Mirror” episodes.

Here’s the entire farewell announcement:

Hi,

I’m writing to let you know that Lithium has made the decision to sunset the Klout service, effective May 25, 2018.

Lithium is committed to providing you with the technology and services that will enable you to differentiate your customer experience. Our recent launch of Lithium Messaging is evidence of our focus on this mission. The Klout acquisition provided Lithium with valuable artificial intelligence (AI) and machinelearning capabilities but Klout as a standalone service is not aligned with our long-term strategy.

Our goal with these AI and machine learning investments is to improve our customer care capabilities across the board, whether that’s self-service, peer-to-peer, or direct-to-brand. In the near-term, for example, we will be looking to improve agent productivity within SMM and improve the overall user experience in Community through the application of AI, while we are also planning the launch of a new social impact scoring methodology based on Twitter.

Should you have any questions or concerns about this announcement, please feel free to reach out to [email protected] We are honored to be your partner in delivering digital customer care experiences that delight your customers and we look forward to sharing news of ongoing innovations that support you in this journey.

Thank you for your business.

Pete Hess

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