Remember WeFollow? Back in March 2009, Digg creator Kevin Rose unveiled his social influence startup as a side project that attracted a lot of attention. Along with a team that included site engineer Jeff Hodsdon, Rose launched WeFollow to rank the most influential users of Twitter across all topics, industries and imaginable categories.
The site started out by tying influence directly to follower counts, a measuring stick that soon became meaningless as millions of users gamed Twitter to gain fake or quid-pro-quo followers rather than real audiences. WeFollow responded with an update that included a more sophisticated approach to measurement — but then, sometime in 2010, the project was more or less abandoned. It was rolled into the increasingly struggling Digg and never heard from again.
Now with 1.3 million users, Wefollow has grown in 4 years to a diverse online community of people that have listed themselves under more than 225k discrete interests—people have told us they’re interested in everything from film and fashion to cooking and climbing. Over the last few months we’ve been quietly working, building a new Wefollow on this unique user submitted data, and, in doing so, realized something powerful. Using our unique algorithm, we are able to accurately sort and rank users based on their prominence in any interest. Rather than simply ranking them by number of followers and social activity, the 1-100 Prominence Score is a more meaningful metric that ensures you find exactly who you’re looking for.
Like other influencer tracking tools from Klout to Traackr, the new Wefollow can incorporate data from multiple social sites, including Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, to determine “prominence.”
What I like about Wefollow is that it is organized around areas of interest rather than personalities. The focus on egos (and ego-stroking) is a big reason why Klout and Kred often seem more like games than usefool tools for marketers. LinkedIn hasn’t been much more helpful with its introduction of endorsements, which has quickly become spammy and meaningless in LinkedIn’s headlong rush to achieve 1 billion recommendations by any means necessary. (“Click once to endorse six people you barely know now!”)
Of course, Wefollow is weak tea compared to hardcore influencer-relations tools, but those tools aren’t free. Traackr, for example, is excellent — but will run your company or agency more than $20K per year for a subscription.
Wefollow is a different animal — which may mean neither fish nor fowl. We’ll see.