When you talk about the world of measuring online network strength or online influence, there seems to be two favorites leading the pack, Empire Avenue (network strength) and Klout (influence). Some will bunch the two together into one category [of measuring influence], but they actually have two slightly differing paths and approaches.
What are Endorsements?
Empire Avenue allows users to connect their RSS feeds to their profile. Then, people can vouch for their feeds and content, validating those for others to see. In many ways, it also allows people to discover blogs of those users in a simple, handy way. Once you get 5 endorsements on a single RSS feed, you can convert it into a blog feed (just as long as it is a true blog of your posts). When the RSS feeds is upgraded to Blog feed status, new blog posts show up in the profile feed in near-real time. By doing this, more people will discover your blogs.
Currently, there are no limitations as to how many feeds you endorse on a given day nor when you make those endorsements. So, what does that mean? Well, you can endorse as many RSS feeds of others as you want. It is great that there are no caps on endorsing as it is great to be able to endorse when you feel the urge. At the same time, not having a limit also lends to a diminished perceived value of the whole endorsement feature. For example, if you can only endorse 15 feeds per day, you will most likely become more selective with your decision(s). As a result, you might spend more time truly examining the actual RSS feeds to ensure that they are in line with your philosophy or certainly at least something that you enjoy reading! Lastly, when dealing with blog feed status, an Empire Avenue profile can only upgrade 5 eligible RSS Feeds to blog status in order to count towards share price and dividend amount, but that certainly does not specifically affect the amount of endorsements one can give or receive.
Where are +Ks?
Klout, on the other hand, has something called +K. Basically, they allow you to vouch for somebody’s expertise on a given topic like social media, foursquare, reading, writing, or football. By default, Klout will calculate up to 20 [top] topics that somebody is influential about based on their social media activity on Facebook, Twitter, foursquare, and other platforms that are synced up. If a profile has less than 20 topics (or if one gets removed to get below the 20 topic maximum), that user or anybody else for that matter can add a topic to the influence list for a nominal virtual fee, but I will get to that in a minute.
Unlike the setup on Empire Avenue, Klout users are limited to the number of +Ks they get to use each day. Currently, I get about 10 +Ks to use each day. Less active profiles with a smaller Klout score might only get 5 +Ks to use each day. When you give +K in a specific topic for somebody else, you cannot give them +K in the same topic for about one week. However, you can give them more +K in other topics that they are considered “influential” about. As mentioned above, you can add topics to your own profile or to other people’s and brand’s profile that you feel they are influential about. The nominal virtual fee is 5 +Ks, so, if you are like me and get 10 to use each day, adding an influential topic to anybody’s profile will only allow me to give 5 more +K to others for that day. While I get frustrated by this daily limit, it makes me think twice before passing out +Ks – making me be more selective on the topics and people I give +K to!
Which is better?
Well, that is a good question. Each really has its own niche and place. Empire Avenue lets me connect with people’s blogs and niche social media channel feeds. I can put my one-time stamp of approval on the person [or brand’s various presences online] and then click on the related links to further engage with them on their blogs. On the other hand, Klout allows me specifically give people an endorsement of sorts on a topic or two. I might find that my friend or colleague is really great at using Facebook or Twitter, so I would give him or her some +K in that topic while not endorsing him or her in a topic like Atlanta or surfing. Klout +K allows me to drill down to that specific topic rather than having me endorse an entire feed or blog, so that is cool. But, I am limited as to how many +K I give each day. So, m verdict is to use both when applicable.