Influence Measurement Tools: A Big Topic (Announcement & Request for Help!)

Influence Measurement Tools: Much Drama, Little Information
The Influence Measurement Tools Drama: Holy Grail, Sheer Evil or Just a Game?

I think I’ve bitten off more than I can chew.   Or rather, more than I can finish without a little encouragement from you, and the pressure that I’ll create for myself by announcing that I’m actually doing this.

So, I’m announcing The Realtime Report’s Guide to Online Influence Measurement Tools — a guide for brands, agencies, developers and anyone interested in understanding the rapidly evolving, innovative, controversial and potentially very disruptive field of influence measurement.

Online influence measurement goes way beyond Klout and the current raging debate about scores, algorithms, perks and privacy issues.  There are at least five companies that measure your influence and assign you a score.  Each has a different methodology, uses different data sources and publishes different information about you.

In addition to these single-score tools, there are a set of very sophisticated tools that identify influencers across a given set of topics, find audiences specific to keywords, and  even measure opinions.  The analytics that are possible with these tools are pretty mind-blowing.

So right now,  I’m down the rabbit-hole doing research and collecting information.  What started as an idea for a simple blog post became a plan for a series of blog posts as I started mapping out the breadth of the material to cover.  Now I’m thinking it may even become an e-book, or a downloadable guide of some kind.  I mean, who wants to look at comparison charts in a blog template?

Here’s what I plan to cover.  Don’t get mad if I end up leaving some of this out, and please let me know in the comments if I’m missing anything important!

  1. Single-score influence measurement tools:  Klout, PeerIndex, TweetLevel, PeekYou, and Kred
    • how the profiles are created
    • how the scores are created
    • what else the tool measures
    • what data the tool displays about users publicly
    • follow the money:  what’s the business model
    • API and the key developer partners
    • privacy issues
    • key use cases for each platform
  2. A few fun comparisons of an influence profile for the same users  (I’m thinking Mark Zuckerberg might be good for one of the subjects, since he doesn’t believe in privacy…)
  3. Contextual influence measurement tools:  Traackr, Appinions, and SpotInfluence 
    • data sources and methodologies
    • screen shots & key features available to paid users
    • how brands can use these tools to define and target audiences
    • key customers
    • developer information
    • what’s in the pipeline:  many of these tools have plans for new features that will take this game to a whole new level
  4. Brands and Best Practices in Measuring and Identifying Influencers
    • If you’re in PR or marketing, what can you do with the free tools?  What are some best practices for how to incorporate them in your tool set?
    • What’s the justification for spending $500+ on a more sophisticated paid tool?
  5. Users and Influence Measurement
    • These tools are here to stay.  Is there a value in them to the user — or should you try and opt out of every tool you can find (we’ll have links)?
    • Is it a game?  Or a meaningful metric?  What’s really being measured?
    • We’re going from indexing online content, to indexing people.  What about the privacy issues?

Ok — see why I need some encouragement?

If I’m going to tackle this big of a project, I want to make sure that I’m doing something you’ll actually find useful (stop me before I spend much more time on this!), and that I’m not leaving out anything important.

So please comment & let me know what you think:  what do you want to know?  what are the big issues that need to get addressed?  and what am I leaving out?