Mike Isaac

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Klout Quietly Launches Cinch, a Companion Q&A App

iTunesKlout really wants to make you care about your online influence.

That’s in part why the company has, with little fanfare, pushed out Cinch, an iOS application that pairs questions asked by users with other “experts” on certain topics, based on their amount of knowledge of the area in question.

The idea is basically leveraging the value of Klout’s flagship product, which purports to rank people in terms of their influence in certain areas. I, for instance, tweet a whole bunch about Facebook and Twitter as companies, so it would make sense for a product like Cinch to pair a person’s Facebook-related questions with my answers.

I can’t tell you how good Klout’s pairing abilities are, because I haven’t seen them in action yet. But in The Next Web’s initial testing the idea works well enough.

The whole point, it appears, is to prove to consumers that, yes, Klout does indeed have a consumer value outside of knowing how “cool” you are online. As I’ve long argued, Klout’s justification as a business intelligence service seems like an easy argument; if a brand can identify the people who matter that tweet and share about a product, that brand will be able to monitor and ultimately court these high-profile users.

I’m not sure how well this whole Cinch thing will go, and it seems to still be in an early testing phase, just as Klout’s “Experts” program was when it launched in a limited capacity in May. I’ll be keeping an eye on it for a wider release.

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Just as the atom bomb was the weapon that was supposed to render war obsolete, the Internet seems like capitalism’s ultimate feat of self-destructive genius, an economic doomsday device rendering it impossible for anyone to ever make a profit off anything again. It’s especially hopeless for those whose work is easily digitized and accessed free of charge.

— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work