Home Twitter User Ranking Company Klout Hires Product Hot-Shot

Twitter User Ranking Company Klout Hires Product Hot-Shot

Klout, a high-profile startup offering technology to rank the influence of Twitter users, announced tonight that it has hired Philip Hotchkiss as the company’s Chief Product Officer. Hotchkiss previously lead BigCharts.com, a financial information provider that sold to Market Watch for $166 million.

Klout data is valuable because marketers, PR people and others want a way to quickly prioritize which Twitter users they should respond to among many mentions of a monitored brand. Twitter is uniquely well-suited to programatic analysis of topical influencers, as it is rich with interlinked, publicly accessible user profiles.

“The holy grail is being able to enter a topic, see who the most influential people are *and* who they are influenced by,” says big social data geek Pete Warden about the sector Klout is in. “Very often there are lesser-known specialists who are read by more popular writers for story ideas, and those sources may be an easier route to getting your stories to those mainstream influencers than approaching them directly.”

Klout said tonight that more than 750 companies are currently using its Application Programming Interface (API) to incorporate Klout scores into their software. Virgin Airlines, for example, used Klout scores to offer free flights this Summer to highly influential Twitter users.

The down side of such products may include that their analyses can be a black box, can depend on a variety of arbitrary decisions and potentially, that they facilitate elitism in an ostensibly democratic social media world.

“Phil will be overseeing our product with a focus on making the Klout score rock solid from a data perspective and that we continue to establish ourselves as the standard measurement of influence,” Klout founder Joe Fernandez wrote tonight.

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