Measuring a person's social impact is a hot topic at the moment, courtesy of the explosion of social media and our collective desire to analyze and measure the world. Now comes Identified, the "first product to measure how 'in demand' you are to companies right now," according to its press release. It is, practically, a score for how hot a property you are as a professional—an enterprise, and much more personal, layer of influence than social media-centric measures like Klout or PeerIndex.
The company is coming out of beta today, and has revealed that it will be "providing free and open access for companies and the public to the Identified Scores of over 50 million professionals worldwide."
The system works like this: By accessing Facebook for whatever information people are prepared to share publicly, a basic Indentified profile is made. Then, when an individual signs into the service, they are offered the chance to enter more information about themselves—from their current jobs to their sports and leisure interests. This information is used to add to and refine their score.
Companies have a separate access portal to the system, which offers a "channel of communication between companies and professionals that doesn't exist on LinkedIn, job boards, career centers, or résumé databases." Individual users also get a summary of which companies have been looking at their profile, hence "Identified is the first tool to provide people with real time, interactive feedback on how companies evaluate their professional information." Which means if you're in the market for a job your Identified score might be a key to unlock certain doors, and the entire process could let you refine how you present yourself in order to make yourself more attractive.
But the key to all this working well is ubiquitous personal data, something users can be wary of sharing (with Facebook's frequent privacy debacles as exhibit A). We spoke with Identified cofounder Brendan Wallace about this, and he thinks this won't be a problem for his service.
"What we've found is that it's incredibly addictive—it's a data point people can't get elsewhere," Wallace says. "They want to know how companies perceive them. So people are inputting a tremendous amount of information into Identified. We use Facebook as our starting point, but we're seeing over 85% of our users are adding in professional information that doesn't exist in Facebook, doesn't exist in LinkedIn, doesn't really exist anywhere other than probably their résumé."
The added information comes from perceived trust, Wallace says, but notes that "it's also interactive. One of the things when you go on LinkedIn or you create a résumé, you don't know what happens—it's this 'black box' sensation. And on Identified we tell you instantly: 'Hey Brendan, we know you went to Princeton—if you tell us you majored in Economics, we'll tell you if that makes you more or less attractive.' People want that instant feedback."
To avoid controversy about how the site's scoring works—a problem that's recently plagued Klout—Wallace explains that, "The score has three components. An education component and a work component, which are kind of tried and true, and we've also seen that people's networks are actually in demand. For example, sales companies when they look for particular sales reps, they actually look for people that tend to have large networks. So your network is a component of the score as well. The score is a sum of the three, and it's completely live—it varies on a daily basis, and we recalculate our algorithm three times daily."
Privacy is key, of course, and while all the information is public: "you can obviously delete the information." Identified does automatically build profiles for people (another controversial move for peer companies recently) Wallace notes "we only share that information with the people they already share it with on Facebook...We're very sensitive to what people want to share about themselves, because people's professional information is very sensitive, and it needs to be treated in a very sensitive way." This automatic sharing is "totally dependant on what the person has already selected based on their Facebook privacy settings."
LinkedIn will likely take note of the apparent frictionless way Identified works, and the rich analytical information it can share with individual users and companies. "What companies want, when they search for a sales rep or an engineer, is they don't want to see 60,000 candidates," says Wallace. "They want to see 10 of the best candidates—they want to know who they should be talking to. Our score, which is not perfect, is an approximation of what we think is most relevant right now. It's like the back end of Google PageRank—we're ranking people based on who we think is the most relevant for a particular search right now."