klout_logo_2011.jpgHave you been building up your Klout score through social activity, informative posts and connections? If so, you could be a Klout Expert, someone wise enough to get your content to the top of search engines thanks to a new initiative by the measuring company. 

Spheres of Influence

How many people signed up for Klout, just to see what their score was and never bothered using it again? If you are serious about your social value to the Internet, then that might have been a mistake, as the company is now driving an effort to create an elite league of  Klout Experts whose social standing and knowledge on particular subjects will see them propelled to the top of search results for those investigating that particular topic. 

Klout has signed a deal with Microsoft to put the results of these Klout Experts at the top of Bing search results, placing that knowledge and expertise above the usual paid-for click-bait, the usual suspects on any topic and so on. So, if someone searched for "what's the best smartphone for shooting video at night?" (Answer: Nokia's Lumia, if you believe the marketing), then a Klout Expert's opinion would provide an unbiased answer. 

Coming hot on the heels of the March Klout for Business initiative, the company is starting to wield its users' power in creative and beneficial ways that will hopefully provide more relevant results to users and put the right knowledge in its rightful place, with spammers shut out due to three years it has taken for Klout to build up its top influencers.

Microsoft Looking for Answers

The deal gives Microsoft another chance to make Bing look different to its rivals beyond the pretty pictures and social touches. But, given the rapid pace of acquisition and feature relaunch (See Google's Wavii deal for example) that rivals like Google and Yahoo are going though at the moment, it could be a matter of weeks before search rivals have a matching feature in place. 

For Klout, the move gives it another rung up the ladder of authority and may make those users who abandoned it rethink their choice. Rivals in the social influence market, like PeerIndex, will perhaps have to rethink their strategy or come up with comparable schemes to retain interest. 

Both Klout and PeerIndex offer rewards for growing your score, but it will likely take more then some discounts on goods or free access to services to convert the billions of social media users into users who will worry about their perception beyond their field of immediate friends and colleagues. For those in the knowledge market however, this is a chance to boost credibility and make their information more widely accessible. 

However, this is only a U.S.-based trial for now., with a waiting list for those interesting in signing up. You can read more on the company's blog post. If the scheme goes according to plan then everyone wins and searchers get the answer they were looking for, and the Klout Experts get the kudos and satisfaction of a query well-answered.