Moving from an influencer to an advocate – great example from United

I am a big fan of Peter Shankman, I count him as a friend. He was part of the Kred leader’s program in 2012 and continues to be a great sounding board for us at Kred.

I also love his Facebook updates – you never quite know what he is going to do next.

Today’s update looked like this.


Now I know Peter flies a lot with United – he would probably be played by George Clooney in a movie about frequent fliers…er that’s already been done.

What Peter’s update shows is that United really do have a strong influencer program.

They know that not only do they have a loyal customer, they have one who is really influential in the areas where the decision about which airline to fly is made.

Amazingly, even though Peter pays a great deal of money every year to fly with United, they have actually got him to “work” for them for a day for free.

Smartly, they understand that for a frequent flyer like Peter, more flights isn’t always what he is after. Also what is the “shrareability” of a free flight?

What IS sharable though is exclusive access to behind the scenes of an airline.

What United is also doing is ensuring guaranteed coverage by a key influencer.

Well played United, well played!

Below are just some of the shots Peter has been sharing on his Facebook page about his experience.

You can’t buy publicity like this, and United haven’t had to. They just asked Peter to tag along with them for the day.




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PeopleBrowsr and Twitter settle Firehose dispute

Today, Federal District Court Judge Edward Chen ruled in favor of PeopleBrowsr and returned Peoplebrowsr’s case against Twitter to the San Francisco Superior Court.

PeopleBrowsr wins a TRO compelling Twitter to continue firehose access
In November 2012, PeopleBrowsr won a temporary restraining order compelling Twitter to continue providing full Firehose access. The court rejected Twitter’s contention that the application was without merit.

Twitter attempts to bring the case to Federal Court
Twitter then attempted to change course to remove the case from San Francisco Superior Court to the Federal Court on the basis that “PeopleBrowsr’s complaint is based on federal antitrust law”, and antitrust cases must be decided in federal court.

“Twitter’s inconsistent representations to the State and Federal Courts reinforce our case. Last week, they said this was a contracts issue. This week, it’s an antitrust issue,” said Rich.

Twitter filed a ‘Notice of Removal’ to Federal Court on the eve of the December 4 discovery hearing, claiming this is a federal antitrust case to determine whether the Federal Court has jurisdiction.

PeopleBrowsr wins against Twitter: Case returns to State Court
The Court agreed with PeopleBrowsr that the complaint relies solely on state law and that it does not have federal jurisdiction over the case.

The Court noted that “The fact that the removal shortly followed the state court’s issuance of a TRO suggests that Twitter’s decision to remove the case was born out of a desire to find a more sympathetic forum.” The court rejected Twitter’s arguments as “novel”: “Twitter’s removal lacked an objectively reasonable basis for seeking removal. It was based on a novel legal theory…”

Costs awarded to PeopleBrowsr
The Court also granted PeopleBrowsr’s request to pay for reasonable costs and expenses, including attorneys fees, incurred as a result of Twitter’s improper removal of this case.

The next step now is discovery, followed by a state court preliminary injunction hearing. In the meantime, PeopleBrowsr’s temporary restraining order against Twitter will remain in place and PeopleBrowsr continues to have full access to the Firehose.

Follow the case on Twitter using hashtag #PBvTw

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The Santiago Swallow experiment proves that fact checking on social media is now becoming even more important

You’ve probably never heard of Santiago Swallow, Expert on Inauthentic Identity, Author of “Self’”.

I had not heard of him either until last week when I came across an article in Quartz titled “How to become internet famous for $68” by Kevin Ashton, known for inventing the term “The Internet of Things“.

I am presuming that Kevin is real, but I have no way of proving this…

In summary, Kevin created Santiago, gave him a Wikipedia entry, an official looking website, and bought him thousands of Twitter followers to make him look real.  He even faked the “verified” logo on his Twitter bio to appear legitimate.

The @SantiagoSwallow episode shows us that now you have to do your fact checking on social media as well as for all other forms of media – you just can’t believe everything you read on social media…

What the article highlighted so well is what those who work in the industry have known all along – you can game pretty much anything – even life.

People have been gaming things long before the internet – we call them “con artists” and they exist today.

The article also reminded me of the adage “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog“, first coined as the caption of a cartoon by Peter Steiner published by The New Yorker on July 5, 1993.

While it is not yet a crime to buy twitter followers or Facebook likes, those people who want to appear more popular, and hence (in their own eyes at least) more valuable to prospective employers, clients or brands, are engaging in these deceitful practices, because they believe they can get away with it.

Back in February 2013, the Wall Street Journal published an expose titled

The Mystery of the Book Sales Spike - How Are Some Authors Landing On Best-Seller Lists? They’re Buying Their Way

What the WSJ investigation proved was that even an age old process such as the best seller list can be gamed – in an offline way just by buying lots of books just before it goes on sale.

In a follow up to the WSJ article, Soren Kaplan, the author of the book “Leapfrogging” who was quoted in the article, came clean in his own words and admitted that yes, he had manipulated the sales to claim bestseller status.

So we can probably assume the “bestseller scam” has been going on for years, and now people are turning to social media to buy fame – just as Kevin’s article proved.

When we talk about social media popularity and fame, the discussion inevitably turns to social media influence.

As Kred was mentioned in Kevin’s article, as the CEO, I thought it appropriate to respond directly to what Kevin found in his experiment.

Kred is the only influencer platform that is completely transparent. We not only publish our rules to show exactly how we score (no-one else does this), we also show on every Kred profile every single interaction. In short – I could see @SantiagoSwallow gaming the system.

On other platforms, you can see that Santiago Swallow has a score, but unlike Kred, you have no idea how that score has been developed.

While Kevin asserts that his creation of @SantiagoSwallow fooled sites such as Kred into believing he was influential, Kred can be used to weed out the fakes as well.

A quick glance at the Kred profile of @SantiagoSwallow shows quite clearly that there has been a massive influx of flowers – from zero to over 74,000 almost overnight.  To even an un-trained eye, something does not look quite right here, and would be worthy of further investigation.


Because Kred publishes every single public interaction on each Kred profile as an activity statement, with a few more clicks, you can start to see very easily that this whole profile is one big con. Click the image below to see the evidence – look at the large influx of followers in batches. You can see this for yourself at


The other giveaway that Santiago is not real can be detected by looking at his community scores.

While his global Kred influence score is a reasonable 754, when you zero on his community scores (as any well-educated brand manager would do to see where this person has influence), you see that he has very low influence in his top listed communities.

In the examples below, in Santiago’s top 3 communities, he has woeful community scores of just 150/1 for Reporters, 125/1 for Marketing and a “why bother” score of just 54/1 for publishing.  In under 30 seconds on Kred, I knew Santiago was a fake.


What this whole experiment has shown is that yes, while you may think you have fooled someone by having lots of followers, or likes, or an apparently large Kred score, you’re only fooling yourself.

Santiago’s low outreach score of just 4 is also a giveaway that he has no real influence – he doesn’t really engage with his community.

On closer inspection of his Kred profile, Santiago has 75,000 raw Kred points, and as can be seen from this double-logarithmic chart from our rules page, it is increasingly harder to increase your global score.


Those who show signs of real global influence have a Kred score above the 850 mark, where you need hundreds of thousands of raw points (vertical axis), and Santiago cannot do that by just buying more followers.

He would need to have real influence, by interacting with his community, and his community interacting with him in an authentic and sustained way.

As the CEO of Kred I see first-hand people telling me how influential they are, only to then see the same person unleashing hundreds of fake twitter profiles, who each have exactly 4 followers, using software to automate retweets by these profiles of the same message tens of thousands of times to try and increase their Kred score.

At Kred we know we cannot stop people gaming our own, or any other system. Instead, we focus on transparency and education to allow the early detection of “twitter fakes” when working with our clients so they don’t have to waste their time on those who try and artificially increase their social footprint.

Sadly, even some that appear on top “influencer” lists (and best-seller lists) openly boost their profile and score through well-known techniques such as the ones detailed above. It is an open secret in the industry.

Those of us with integrity ensure that brands don’t use these people in their influencer and advocacy programs, however I cannot get to every brand manager and agency person in the world to educate them on the pitfalls of picking the person with the “highest score”.

Experiments such as the one undertaken by Kevin highlight the dangers of relying on influence scores on their own.

Last year I wrote an article titled “Employers need to understand the dangers of influence score myopia” in response to news that Salesforce was hiring someone who as a minimum had to have a Klout score of 35 or higher.  These scores are meaningless unless you know WHERE the person has influence – not just the score.  As has been proven above, one look at Santiago’s Kred profile shows he has no real influence at all.

The challenge for the influencer industry is how do you educate people who are in a hurry to find “influencers” that it is not always about the person with the highest score.  As mentioned above, we decided to be transparent from day one, and have seem none of our competitors follow our lead.

So next time you see someone quote a high influencer score on their profile, CV or pitch response, pop over to Kred and have a look in more detail – it might just be Kevin doing another experiment, or someone trying to improve their social capital in an artificial way.

Just a few moments on Kred could save you and your company from another “Santiago Swallow” moment.

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How Kred Works – We love this [INFOGRAPHIC]

Thank you Shea Bennett and our friends at Mediabistro and AllTwitter for this great blogpost and infographic.


Kred is a measure of influence that was created by San Francisco-based social media company Peoplebrowsr to help identify influencers within interest-based communities.

Built on the principle that “we all have influence somewhere”, Kred was the first social scoring system to provide a comprehensive score for influence and outreach, achieving this by valuing engagement and interaction over largely superficial metrics, such as follower count.

Check the infographic below for an overview of how Kred works, how to boost your score and how Kred can assist you in your own social media campaigns.” See this blogpost on Mediabistro.


How influential are you? Find out now on Kred


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Your Network is Your Kred – Friends of Super Influencer Hermione Way get 10K Kred points


Your network is your Kred,

Influencers are busy sorting information to absorb, events to attend and people to keep in touch with.

Being connected to super influencers means two things:

- You add value to your network and even very busy people want to be connected to you

- You can levearage your super connections to spread messages and inspire action in broad audiences

Hermione Way is a new media journalist, Reality TV personality, and entrepreneur in Silicon Valley and she is a Kred super influencer. Find Hermione on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and see her Influence Story.

Today, we are awarding 10,000 Kred influence points to friends that Hermione has met at conferences and events around the US and UK.

Have you met Hermione? Are you connected to the Silicon Valley super influencer?
Let us know today and get your bonus 10,000 kred points 

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Planning for a real time marketing moment using social media – can it be done?

Most people who work in or around social media will have heard about the “Oreo moment” at this year’s Superbowl.

To recap, the game was plunged into darkness for a full 33 minutes due to a power failure at the stadium, and the one brand that everyone remembers from this is Oreo thanks to the tweet below

Oreo’s “dunk in the dark” has been discussed on many blogs, including those of Ford’s head of social media, Scott Monty.

david-bHearing that agency 360i was behind this, I took the opportunity while having lunch with David Berkowitz, Vice President, Emerging Media in London recently to ask him more about the secrets behind the “dunk in the dark” tweet.

I first meet David at the Kred New York Influencers summit held in February, and was delighted to be able to catch up with him again in London.

I had heard a lot of information online about what happened to allow Oreo to master “real time marketing”, and wanted to hear it from the agency direct.

While David was not in the room during the superbowl, he obviously has first-hand knowledge of what went on.

Key to the success, David explained was Oreo had actually been planning for this moment for 2 years. While it would be near impossible to predict a 33 minute power outage that would stop play at the Superbowl 2 years out, Oreo has been training for this type of opportunity for some time.

Their daily twist campaign in 2012 to celebrate their 100th birthday was great practice at engaging in near real-time and being able to produce compelling and sharing content on a regular and sustained basis.

It also helped on Superbowl night that the 360i team and the client were all in the same room, and therefore able to monitor the situation and the mood, develop an instant strategy and creative on the spot and get it approved, and then sent – all before the lights came back on.

The risk Oreo took was twofold:

1. was the power outage going to last just a few minutes and not 33?

2. what if the cause of the outage was something more sinister?

Over the days following the terrible tragedy in Boston, where our hearts and prayers go out all those affected, we have seen that many brands simply kept tweeting their scheduled campaign messages, oblivious to the mood of the nation, or even more amazingly, used the tragedy to promote their products.

In the case of Oreo and the superbowl tweet, according to David, the team actually held off sending the tweet for several minutes even after it had been created and approved to check that the power outage was just a normal issue.

Is Real Time Marketing appropriate for any brand?

Since the Superbowl, we have seen many brands try and copy Oreo’s spontaneity, with very mixed results.

The brand tweets during this year’s Oscars telecast, covered extremely well by Jay Baer on his blog, point to how for some brands, this strategy is not right.

Poland Spring waited nearly a day to capitalise on their #watergate moment when during Senator Marco Rubio’s GOP rebuttal to the President’s State of the Union address, he awkwardly reached for a small water bottle in the middle of the speech.

Because the water bottle was placed way too far away from where Rubio was standing, it lead to a funny moment. We all now know that he bottle he reached for was Poland Water.

The brand at the time did not actually have a Twitter feed to respond from, although they do now – @Poland_SpringW, so it is probably correct to assume that they had not been planning for such an event.

The key learning from Oreo’s success is that you can’t just “jump into” social. It needs to be planned and supported at all levels in a company.

Going further, even when you are “doing social”, something as brave as a real-time tweet during a Superbowl power outage is not to be attempted without years of practice.

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Kred resonates at Under the Influence 13 – San Francisco

You don’t have to have a twitter account to understand that influence is a hot topic not only for consumers, but also for advertisers.

On the second day of ad:tech San Francisco, PeopleBrowsr Kred CEO, Jodee Rich (@wingdue) presented at the Under the Influence conference.

He joined other great speakers such as Gary Vaynerchuk, Bonin Bough, Brian Solis and Chris Anderson as part of the Spark Of Genius segment to speak about Kred’s view and vision on influence.

As at all Kred supported conferences, we set up a real-time leaderboard to allow those at #influence13SF to interact with Jodee and his talk, as well as other participants. Jodee tried a social experiment, and offered $20 flash cash to those who could answer his questions, as well as those who appeared at the top of the leaderboard.


You can view Jodee’s slides presented below.

Jodee also demonstrated the new Kred For Brands product that we launched at our London Influencer event last month. The feedback on the product in both London and San Francisco has been very positive, as it allows a brand or an agency to directly query the 500 million profiles in the Kred database and look for influencers according to a wide range of parameters.

Liam Rose who was in the audience definitely thinks Kred has influence sorted out.

A demonstration of Kred for Brands can be found at and if you would like more information, please contact us.

Below are just some of the tweets from the event during Jodee’s presentation.






At Kred, we’re just getting started on the next iteration of influencer identification. Stay tuned to the blog for our latest news.

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Giving back – helping to educate the digital CEOs of the future one lecture at a time

Recently I have been speaking with University and College students about influence, social media, social business and how to get hired using social.

In each case I have been extremely humbled that they would want to have me into their class to present either in person, or via Skype.

My recent string of lectures started in New York, when I met Lindsey Fair and her 3rd year marketing students from St. Lawrence College, Ontario at the Pivot conference in New York in October 2012.

I blogged last October about meeting these socially savvy students, and in particular Sabrina Eshoo who made a very convincing pitch to the organisers to be allowed to attend at a discount.

Below is a snap of the team in New York.


After I met with Lindsay and the class, I offered to run a session on Skype – which they took me up on and had me answer questions about influence and social media in general.

In February 2012, my friend and former client Raja Halabi (@rajahalabi) who has just completed a Sloan MSc in Leadership and Strategy at the London Business School introduced me to Sir Andrew Likierman, Dean of LBS. He in turn introduced me to Naufel Vilcassim, Professor of Marketing, who then arranged for me to present a guest lecture in the Advanced Marketing class run by Professor Nirmalya Kumar (@ProfKumar).

In parallel, the LBS Marketing Club asked me to present on social business as well, along with some tips on finding a job via social media.

You can see my presentations to the LBS students on my LBS lectures page (where I made my slides and references available), and if you jump to the 28:00 mark of the video below of my presentation to the Marketing Club, you will see the tips I provided on getting noticed via social media.

London Business School Marketing Club lecture 4th March 2013 from Andrew Grill on Vimeo.

In February, I was in touch with David Gerzof Richard (@davidgerzof) via twitter about doing a Skype lecture with the #ESM class at Emerson college (@EmersonCollege). Below you can see the view the class had of the lecture I presented on the 11th of March (I was actually in San Francisco at the time).

This was my view of the class (note everyone has a laptop open).


Last week I gave a lecture again via Skype to the Social Media for Marketing Communications class (#ritsm) at Rochester Institute of Technology run by Mike Johansson (@mikejny) and Raj Murthy (@rajsmurthy), and again the class asked a bunch of really interesting questions.

What really surprised me in each case was the fact that many of my peers (both in the influence industry and the broader social media community) don’t make themselves available to help educate our digital CEOs of the future.

I have made it a personal mission to make myself available (feel free to contact me direct), to universities and colleges to talk about any aspect of social business and social media. I believe that it is the duty of those of us in fortunate positions in these fields to help educate those up and coming “digital CEOs”.

I cringe when I hear that my peers don’t return messages about requests for interviews and lectures – what is 30 or 60 minutes out of your day?

Most of the lectures delivered above have been conducted on Skype on my iPad from wherever I happened to be – enabling me to fit it in with my normal schedule.  In fact I actually learn more than I can ever tell the students, because they ask such great questions with a fresh pair of eyes.

Back in 2001, when I was CEO of commercial property website PropertyLook, I wrote and delivered a paper titled “Who will navigate today’s leaders through the e-commerce minefield?” which was a follow on from some research from the same year from AK Kearney on “the characteristics of eLeaders“.

Simply swapping out the word “e-commerce” for “Social Media”, both papers are still relevant in 2013. Those students I have been speaking to will be in executive leadership positions in 10 – 15 years time.  I want them to have all of the digital skills well before then, so that we don’t keep hearing about the “unaligned executives” problem highlighted in the recent Altimeter report on the “evolution of social business“.

In this report, they found that 48% of social business initiatives were being hampered because the executives making the decisions had no real concept of what social media was and why they should be using it.

One social strategist surveyed shared, “Many of our board members and executive leaders aren’t even on Facebook, so social media is foreign to them.” We found that in organizations where executives do not use social technologies, social media as a business tool is often limited in reach and understanding within the organization unless a business case is made.

My personal mantra has become “To get social, you need to be social.”

We can’t force executives to all of a sudden change their personality and jump on twitter.  Instead, executives need to understand the potential business benefits and then surround themselves with those that do get social, and can “translate” this into a business benefit.

I don’t believe that the change we need in senior executives will happen fast enough, and so this is why I am helping to educate the digital CEOs of the future one lecture at a time.

Originally posted at

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Come see the PeopleBrowsr Kred CEO at the Under the Influence Summit

Are you going to be at the Under the Influence Summit?

Jodee Rich, the PeopleBrowsr Kred CEO is speaking at the Under the Influence Summit in San Francisco.

Come discuss The Future of Influence at the Moscone Center on Wednesday April 10th at 5PM.

Our team will be at Ad:tech Tuesday and Wednesday Find us at Booth UI05

Tweet about #Influence13SF to be on Under the Influence Leaderboard

Are you going to be at the Under the influence Summit?

What is the future of influence for you?

Please, let us know in the comments!

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Brand Managers, Kred for Brands is here


Brand managers have inspired us to create and optimize the Kred Platform, and for them we have created Kred for Brands

“Kred for Brands allows brand managers and strategists to identify, prioritize, and engage their most valuable influencers”
Jodee Rich, PeopleBrowsr Kred CEO

It’s for brand managers that Kred is:

Transparent – Brands want to see how influence is built and what generates the score
Community Based – Brands need to reach out to influencers in specific domains and netowrks
Double score for Influence and Outreach - Brands expressed to us that it’s important for them to know how much people are active in the community and how much they inspire action in others 

Brand Managers inspired us to create:

Kred Rewards - to recognize influencers and community leaders
Leaderboards - to explore influence ranking by location, community, event
Brand Health Reports - deep analytics to study social media presences, do strategic competitive research and optimize interactions.

Kred for brands sums up all the good work that Brand Managers have done with us to optimize the Kred platform. Thank you.

It is a visual analysis of a Brand social media presence: it gathers unmatched intelligence about competitors, fans and followers

It helps discover actionable insights: Interests, Influence, Demographics, Behavior: it digs deep in the hundreds of millions of social profiles in the PeopleBrowsr

It helps identify and engage key influencers on Twitter and Facebook to create successful word of mouth campaigns: it filters lists of influencers based on interest, network, connections, for brands to engage with the most effective brand advocates and community leaders, learn about them and activate their communities and increase social media ROI.

Are you a Brand Manager? Do you use social influence to optimize your campaigns?

Please let us know in the comments!

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