Klout, the social media scoring service that rates how influential individuals and businesses are based on their social networking engagement, has been acquired by San Francisco customer service firm Lithium Technologies, according to a report in Recode.
In a story with unnamed sources, Recode says the deal is yet to close and is worth at least $100 million in cash and stock. Lithium is a startup a little bit further down the financing road than Klout, and offers a software as a service platform to businesses looking to conduct customer service across web sites, social media, and mobile devices. It also has solutions targeting marketing, and e-commerce. Lithium lists its customers as including Autodesk, Virgin Atlantic, Best Buy, Future Shop, Sephora, Lenovo, Skype, and Time Warner Cable.
Klout has long been known for its initial business of scoring users from 0 to 100 based on their social media influence, and has endured its share of criticism over the years. Soon after its launch the service was criticized for collecting information about Facebook users – including minors – that hadn’t signed up for its service, for example.
In recent months Klout has expanded its service offerings. It launched Klout for Business, offering to help business users track who is sharing their content on social media. It also offered the prospects of identifying key influencers important to a business and providing ways to best connect with them.
Late last year, Klout launched another new app called Cinch. It focused on providing a Q&A service where users could ask questions and topic influencers would provide answers in a timely manner. The app seemed geared towards answering consumer-specific questions about product comparisons and other shopping tips.
ITBusiness.ca reached out to Klout CEO Joe Fernandez for comment, but didn’t receive a response by time of publication.