SeedRef Launches a Klout Score for Your Character

April 3, 2013

9:00 am

After Klout launched in 2008, social media users flocked to the site to find out their Klout score, supposedly a measure of their influence online. It’s hard not to be curious about how you stack up against your friends and followers. But it’s hard not to, in the next breath, wonder what’s the point of all this – hence the cries of “superficial!” and meaningless!” volleyed in Klout’s direction.

SeedRef, launching in public beta this week, hopes to create a Klout-like score that is actually meaningful – a “credit score for your character,” says CEO Eddie Earnest. It’s based on job reference letters that you input and ranges from 0-100.

“I think Klout is missing the boat just a little bit when it comes to measuring people,” says Earnest, who cofounded seedRef with Jesse Zook. “I would argue that what Klout is doing is much less valuable than measuring one’s character.”

The way he sees it, Klout is useful for hiring decisions when “influence” is part of the job requirements; seedRef would be useful for any hiring decision.

Your seedRef score increases when you submit more references. The site also analyzes the content of those references to tell how positive or negative they are. And coworkers writing references are required to indicate the skills that you could improve on, so they can’t ignore the negatives.

Beyond the score, seedRef will be a free platform for managing your job references. You can send requests to your managers, then add a link to your seedRef profile on future job applications. Recruiters can log into the platform and follow up with your references. Earnest saw some of the difficulties that hiring managers had while working at HigherNext, and he hopes that seedRef will make the evaluation process much smoother.

Five years later, Klout is still measuring influence. But in five years, seedRef wants to be measuring something more than just job references: your character. They could figure out how to pull in ratings of your job performance, Craigslist or Amazon transactions, and even day-to-day interactions with friends. In the end, it could impact not just hiring decisions but who-should-I-spend-my-time-with decisions. And that’s certainly not meaningless.

Eddie Earnest is a contributor at Tech Cocktail. 

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Kira M. Newman is a Tech Cocktail writer interested in the harsh reality of entrepreneurship, work-life balance, and psychology. She is the founder of The Year of Happy and has been traveling around the world interviewing entrepreneurs in Asia, Europe, and North America since 2011. Follow her @kiramnewman or contact

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