Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn have some new company. The Klout API is launching a new service to "sign in with Klout." Called KloutPass, it gives developers access to user influence data at the moment someone signs in. It also gives Klout the opportunity to be a stealthy player in the coming identity wars.
There's been a proliferation of "sign in with Facebook," "sign in with Twitter" and to a lesser extent "sign in with LinkedIn" buttons. The reason developers leap for these is because they work. There's a lower barrier to login and app owners often get a wealth of information from these APIs after authentication. As Klout notes in its announcement post, developers using its platform are after an important piece of identity: influence. Getting that in a single login is certainly a benefit to the developer.
On the user end is probably the bigger challenge for Klout, because Facebook and Twitter clearly have the advantage in the number of users. The 100 million Klout scores even takes into account non-claimed accounts. On the other hand, Klout Perks, where users can earn discounts and freebies due to their influence, encourages users to claim their Klout scores. And much like LinkedIn has found its niche logging users into business-focused sites, so may Klout with the heavily-sought influencers.
An influence layer is the aim, according to an email from Klout's Tyler Singletary:
We're not looking to replace or compete with Twitter or Facebook's identity services. KloutPass is a compliment to applications where those already exist and developers are looking to recognize and reward influential people. For example, offering a VIP account or free shipping at checkout. The focus is on setting a foundation, through OAuth, for offering other pieces of the Klout experience wherever the user may be.