Friday, October 28, 2011

You Can't Spell PRO Without PR

Whew!  What a week. In case you missed it, PROskore was featured on two of the largest technology blogs in the world (TechCrunch and Mashable).  In fact, the article on PROskore was the most popular article for the entire day with over 2,000 shares originating from the Mashable website alone.  Pretty impressive for a company that didn't exist 3 weeks ago.  

Read Article
Read Article

To put this kind of PR exposure into perspective, I've generated some reports (graphs) that illustrate the increase in activity immediately following the coverage. Check out the increase in a). New Profile Creates  b). Logins (prior members)  c) New Profile Wizard Completions...   as of 4:30 PM EST today.  Pretty impressive.

Thanks to everyone who just joined us this week... and to Mashable and TechCrunch for recognizing us so soon.  I'm already looking forward to next week..  Update:  I also just got off the phone with Robert Scoble, the #1 technology evangelist in Silicon Valley.  Next week already started. :)


Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Take a Deep Breath... You've Still Got Klout!

This afternoon, Klout - the standard for measuring social influence, made a change to their scoring algorithm.  The fallout from this decision has been interesting to watch.  One only needs to read a few of the comments on their blog... or the constant stream of angry Tweets pouring into TweetDeck to see that the world is obviously coming to an end. Here's a few of my favorites:

"More accurate scoring my ass. I get over 100 RTs a day and my amplification dropped from 74+ to 9. That is not accuracy, that is a mistake!"

"Looking at these comments, Klout just got a 'klout' in the teeth from these ridiculous changes. EXCELLENT time to jump ship to another similar service measuring influence in a consistent way. So long, thanks for nothing."

"I'm a social media professional.  This affects my business! I'm fuming with anger here."

And I could go on and on (but I won't).  Instead, I would rather that everyone take a step back for a moment... take a deep breath... and look at the big picture.

First of all, in Klout's defense, measuring people's social influence is no easy task as there are so many factors that go into determining a meaningful score.  I commend Klout for making these changes to their algorithm.  As the 'standard measurement for social influence' they bear the responsibility to their members and more importantly, the big brands they are attracting to  'get it right'.

Its important to remember that measuring social influence and more importantly professional reputation is not an exact science, especially when you consider ranking people on a scale from 1 to 100. One thing we (PROskore) spent a lot of energy on is looking at both sides of the coin. On one side, PROskore also takes into account your ever-changing social graph - albeit with a focus on the business aspects of your social graph (fans on Facebook, connections on LinkedIn... and yes, even your Klout score)... While on the other side of the coin are the non-variable aspects of who you really are and what you have accomplished in your life (e.g. your resume, your expertise, your circle of colleagues who recommend you, etc.).  It's at this intersection of social and the 'real world' where we believe the true score of a person becomes most accurate.

As Klout continues to update their algorithm - you will continue to see these major fluctuations because they are 100% dependent on variables (your ever-changing social graph). Meanwhile,  we'll continue to focus our efforts on those non-variable aspects of who you really are in an effort to find you a true score - a PROskore. 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Trending Nicely

With exactly three weeks under our belt, PROskore is trending nicely across most of the major metrics we're following.  Typical for a 'social network', we're relying heavily (if not entirely) on the viral tools we've built into the platform - all designed to encourage our users to help us spread the word through sharing, etc.  For PROskore to be a success, we'll need these three graphs (below) to continue trending upward.  Note: The red line indicates October 4th, the day of our official launch. All activity during pre-launch was our final testing phase (Beta).

1. New Profile Creates
This is the number of brand new users creating PROskore profiles for the very first time.

2. Logins
This is the number of existing profile users who log back into their profile to engage with the network (update profile, check inbox for leads, make connections, etc.).  
3. Profile Completions
This is the number of people who have completed our new Profile Wizard designed to help members improve their PROskore and generate new business leads.

Onward and upward...

Update:  PROskore was featured in TechCrunch this afternoon.  These graphs do not reflect the nice 'bounce' we received from the added publicity.  Stay tuned tomorrow (next blog post) to see how our updated graphs look.  It's impressive.

PROskore: Where Everyone Gets In The Game

Although PROskore is only three weeks old as of today, people in the media are already comparing us to Klout- the company that measures influence by analyzing people's overall popularity on a variety of social networks, most notably Twitter.  The comparisons are warranted in the sense that both companies do attempt to measure influence and/or reputation through their own unique scoring system.  However, that's where the similarities end and the differences begin.  To keep things real simple (for now), I've decided to outline three major differences between PROskore and Klout.  
  1. PROskore profiles (all of them) have been created by people.  Each user is highly engaged and eager to use their PROskore to do business.
    Klout profiles (the majority) have been imported from Twitter.  Most people on Klout are unaware that they even have Klout.
  2. PROskore scoring is about measuring professional reputation*.
    Klout scoring is about measuring social influence.
  3. PROskore is a business network that benefits everyone who is trying to sell.
    Klout is a rating system designed to benefit large advertisers.
In other words...
On Klout, your score benefits Klout.   
On PROskore, your score benefits YOU!

* As discussed in a prior blog post, the PROskore scoring algorithm is designed to verify a persons professional reputation.  The score is determined by a combination of:  1). Social Influence - with particular emphasis placed on activity happening on LinkedIn and Facebook Fan Pages  2). Professional Background - with emphasis on past work and educational experiences  3). Activity happening on PROskore - including recommendations received and connections made.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

PROskore Schwag

Over the next few months, PROskore will begin offering business related 'perks' to PRO's with high PROskores.  The idea is to not only reward our most influential and active users but to also provide a medium for leading brands to reach many of you with unique opportunities.  We're in the process of brainstorming much of this (including what to call it, what to offer, and more).

In the meantime, for those of you already boasting a PROskore of 75 or higher... we're rewarding you with... (drumroll please)....  a Free PROskore T-Shirt!   PRO's interested in receiving this free gift, must email us your name and shirt size. 

It's All Relative

We've been receiving questions from a number of members asking us about their PROskore.  The question I have been hearing the most is, "What constitutes a good score?"  The answer:

It's All Relative

The first thing you need to understand about PROskore is that each score has it's own context. Similar to a test in school that is graded on a curve, there are members with high scores (and low) who determine the overall ranking (and context) of each person's score.

For example, a web designer in New York City with a score of 45 is quite different than a web designer in Valdosta, GA with the same score.  Chances are, the web designer in New York City is competing with thousands of other web designers who have the potential to raise the bar.  Therefore, his/her score of 45, although better than the global PROskore average of 22 (currently), may not rank high among other web designers in New York City who are scoring in the 70's.  Whereas a score of 45 for the web designer in Valdosta, GA may rank him/her in the top 10 by virtue of less overall competition in that region.

Additionally, the degree to which a region and/or industry is social media savvy can play a large role in understanding the context of a score.  For example, Internet Marketers in San Jose, CA are inherently going to have much higher scores than Insurance Agents in Lexington, KY.  The marketers in San Jose are probably early adopters and heavy users of Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Klout, etc... Remember, outside influence plays a role in determining an overall PROskore.

When viewing a persons profile it is also important to take the time to view their PROskore Score Card (graph)  The PROskore Score Card provides an illustration of how that persons score ranks in the context of the overall PROskore network of 125,000 members and how they compare to other members in their region.

Lastly, knowing what the average PROskore across the entire network is at any given time (currently 22*), is a good way to gauge how active a member is.  Chances are, if their score is below the current average, they have not completed the basic steps required to begin earning points (i.e. completed basic profile information, etc.).  In other words, you're probably better off spending time reaching out to members who have above average scores.

*Note:  A large percentage of our 125,000 members have yet to complete the new Profile Wizard.  Completing the wizard is what begins the scoring process for members who joined PROskore prior to our new scoring algorithm.  PROskore will soon begin encouraging these members to complete the Profile Wizard. Consequently, the overall average of the network should increase.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

PROskore Power Rankings - October 2011

Below is our first-ever Top 25 list of the top PROskores on our network.  Keep in mind, the people ranked in our Top 25 have the highest scores across the entire network of over 125,000 members (currently).  We expect this list to change dramatically in the weeks to come as more and more members join the network and complete our new profile wizard.

As many of you know, to achieve a high score you must have a strong combination of:  1). followers on other networks like LinkedIn, Facebook,  etc.  2). a high level of connections, recommendations and overall activity on PROskore  3).  a strong overall professional background that has been verified by PROskore.

It will be interesting to see how this list evolves from month-to-month.  In the meantime, I would suggest taking a minute to connect to these influential people.

PROskore Power Rankings - October 2011

Paul Green from paulgreen.bizPaul Green
Finedon UK
StockCoach McLaughlin from DayTradersWin.comStockCoach McLaughlin
Laguna Niguel CA USA
David Waller from Storeboard.comDavid Waller
New York NY USA
HuB Sarasota from The HuBHuB Sarasota
The HuB
Sarasota FL USA
Coach Denise Brimmer from Ask Coach Denise  Social Media CoachCoach Denise Brimmer
Ask Coach Denise Social Media Coach
Naples FL USA
John H. Lee from Bizivents.comJohn H. Lee
Philadelphia PA USA
Lee Brogden Culberson from Professional MojoLee Brogden Culberson
Professional Mojo
Dennis Lundin from VideoXite TechnologiesDennis Lundin
VideoXite Technologies
Sydney AU
Randal Dehart from Business Consulting and AccountingRandal Dehart
Business Consulting and Accounting
Lynnwood WA USA
Lenny Robbins from LifeNet Insurance SolutionsLenny Robbins
LifeNet Insurance Solutions
Redmond WA USA
Ginny Lee from America's Best AgentsGinny Lee
America's Best Agents
Naples FL USA
Michael Novilla from NOVA 535 Unique Event SpaceMichael Novilla
NOVA 535 Unique Event Space
Saint Petersburg FL USA
Jason Grilli from Perfect Pitch Marketing GroupJason Grilli
Perfect Pitch Marketing Group
Orlando FL USA
Brian Gosur from Expert InnovationsBrian Gosur
Expert Innovations
Canton MI USA
Jim Martin from Captivation Media GroupJim Martin
Captivation Media Group
Sarasota FL USA
Nela Krangle from ''Mason J. Krangle, CPA, PFS, MBA, ChFC''Nela Krangle
''Mason J. Krangle, CPA, PFS, MBA, ChFC''
Arvada CO USA
Christa Pierce from The Clique AgencyChrista Pierce
The Clique Agency
Marietta GA USA
Chuck Bankoff-Digital Marketing from Kreative Webworks, Inc.Chuck Bankoff-Digital Marketing
Kreative Webworks, Inc.
San Clemente CA USA
Gregory Panos from Panos CreativeGregory Panos
Panos Creative
Malvern PA USA
Mike Salom from AdvoconMike Salom
Plano TX USA
Trent Partridge from 10EdgeTrent Partridge
Lauderhill FL USA
Martin Weisberg from Commercial Capital Group, LLCMartin Weisberg
Commercial Capital Group, LLC
Sarasota FL USA
Ginny Lee from America's Best AgentsGinny Lee
America's Best Agents
Naples FL USA
Debi Cristiano from Evolving Wellness Debi Cristiano
Evolving Wellness
Sarasota FL USA
Kimberly Pettinato from Send Out CardsKimberly Pettinato
Send Out Cards
Atlanta GA USA

Honorable Mention:  Steven GreeneKaren SilinsLinda BryanLori DennyBecky BoydDarlene RagerRisa B. HoagJonathan ResslerDonna PriceGeorge BusegeanoBob Weiss

In addition to this overall Top 25 list, we will be featuring niche Top 25 lists based on industries and regions.  Note: You can already login and view the Top 100 PROskores in your particular city.  Make sure you're doing everything you can to improve your score!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

A Look Inside

If you haven't completed our new Profile're missing out!   Here's a sneak peak at what your PROskore profile should look like once you've completed the tasks required to improve your score.  Some of the more obvious changes we've made to the new profile include (from left to right):

    1. Top Navigation - Now limited to two functions. a) Managing your PRO/skore  b) Searching and Connecting to other PRO's.

    2. Left Navigation - Profile Edit tools,  Inbox, etc.  Hint:  completing all of the Profile Edit tools will help your score.

    3. The PRO/skore - Get your number up.  It's the cornerstone to getting ranked high.

    4. PRO+ Member Button - Showcase your membership!

    5. Your PRO/skore graph - Compares your score to others in your region and globally.

    6. Content - No more tabs! Your company information, professional bio, videos... are all shown in a scrolling format.

    7. Recommendation Buttons - Other members can recommend you - Each recommendation helps your score.

    8. Larger Profile Pic - make sure you upload a quality head shot.

    9. Embedded Social Media - sync your other accounts, display more content - watch your score go up!

    10. Recommendations - view people who recommended you.

    Other items not shown on this particular profile include:  1). Profile Verification Badge (coming soon) - A badge for PRO+ members that validates your reputation across the entire Internet. 2). Your requests to hire/partner/connect to people based on skills and services you need.  3). Facebook and Twitter feeds (embedded widgets) - displaying the most recent content you have posted on those networks.  4). Connection Request / Send Message Buttons.  5). Advertisements - Yep.  No Ads!  We focus all of the attention squarely on you!

    Complete Your Profile:

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Secret Sauce

The buzz around the launch of PROskore has been intensifying here at the office as people have started creating their PROskore profiles for the first time.  You can already hear people talking 'smack' about having a higher score than others which is leading many to start asking the obvious question, "What determines my PROskore?"  

In short, we've created a highly intelligent algorithm that analyzes three major aspects of your professional life that goes well beyond just looking at how often you tweet or how many friends and relatives you have on Facebook.   The PROskore takes an in-depth look at the following:  1). Social Media - with an emphasis on your professional activity on LinkedIn (including connections and recommendations), Facebook Fan Pages (as opposed to just your personal profile), Twitter Influence, and more.  2). Professional Experiences - with a focus on where you went to college, degrees you've earned, past job experiences, job titles, etc.  3) PROskore Activity - where we look at who is recommending you, how many connections you are making (and to whom), frequency of logins (remember, this is a business network where you need to be engaged.  The cream rises to the top).  

In summary, the PROskore secret sauce includes: 

Outside Social Influence
LinkedIn Connections/Recommendations + Facebook Connections (including Fan Page Popularity) + Twitter Following + Klout Score, Blogging Activity, etc...

Activity on PROskore
Completeness of Profile + Connections Made + Recommendations Received (and by whom) + Content Analysis, Logins, etc...

Real World Experiences
Current and Past Work Experience + Educational Experiences + Overall Web Reputation / SEO, etc...

Note:  Each aspect of your score is weighted differently to determine your overall score.  So for example, just because you have a high Twitter Following (i.e. Klout score) doesn't necessarily earn you a ton of points with PROskore. Remember, your PROskore goes much deeper into your professional life than simply your outside social media influence.  Our algorithm helps bring an overall level of confidence and trust to to the entire PROskore network as people make decisions about who they should be connecting with in order to do business.
Stay tuned as we continue to reveal more about the secret sauce behind the PROskore.

We'll Do It Live!

I've launched a number of businesses over the past 10 years.  One thing I've learned as a result of each experience is that you're never 100% ready to go live.  You'll always find a reason to delay the launch.  Whether it's coming up with additional features (known as scope creep) or wasting countless days focusing on the most minor of details.  You can literally drive yourself crazy.

We're at that point right now.  We've spent the last few days agonizing over some minor details... most of which we can tweak at a later date.  

Are we where we plan to be?  Not even close. 
Are we good enough to start competing for market share?  Absolutely.

So with that being said... in my best Bill O'Reilly voice,  "We'll Do It Live!"
Without further ado I give you (insert drumbeat)...