By Todd Carpenter, Director of Digital Engagement, National Association of REALTORS®
Does anyone remember the first time you heard the term “FICO Score?” You know, that number, determined by some fancy computer algorithm, that determines how likely you are to pay back a loan on time? What was the first thing that came to mind after FICO was explained to you? Come on, be honest. It was, “I wonder what *my* FICO score is.”
Why do I bring this up? Well, there’s a new fancy computer algorithm out there called Klout that’s starting to grab the attention of many online agents. Here’s their elevator pitch: “The Klout Score is the measurement of your overall online influence. The scores range from 1 to 100 with higher scores representing a wider and stronger sphere of influence. Klout uses over 35 variables on Facebook and Twitter to measure True Reach, Amplification Probability, and Network Score.”
I know what you’re thinking right now. It’s okay. Go ahead and check your own. What was it? Mine is a 60. That sort of sounds like failing to me, but it’s apparently well above average. I admit that the idea of being able to assign an influence score to an online profile is an idea I find interesting, and I occasionally find myself checking my own score. But as much as I like the idea, paying too much attention to this number or using it to identify people you should network with is really not a good idea.
Going back to FICO, we all know it’s just one small factor in a borrower’s financial health. Job history, income, down payment, and reserves all play into an underwriter’s stamp of approval. No one gets a loan based solely on their credit score. Remember when we tried this? It didn’t work out so well, did it?
Klout tells even less of a story. It measures a person’s personal Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn profiles to calculate its number. Then it looks at how often other “influential” people react to one’s comments on these channels. In other words, it gives high scores to people who talk to each other a lot online.
Todd Carpenter, Managing Director of the Data Analytics Group at NAR
I'm a twenty year veteran of the real estate and mortgage industry, focusing on technology that fosters relationships between professionals and consumers. I am a subject matter expert in data analytics, online consumer trends, enterprise social media strategy, listing data, agent ratings, and public facing MLS portals.