Clarification, Upon closer reading, it seems that we're on sort of the same page. So I didn't take the "polar opposite postion". I just think that Perks have a chance to be a really cool thing.
Gahlord, As always, a well thought out and well written piece. Ironically, I wrote a post about Klout today too, taking the poloar opposite position as you! http://sethsiegler.com/2011/11/you-are-missing-the-point-of-klout I'm sure this topic will be debated for years to come, and both sides will likely have valid points. As for the concept of measuring influence, as a whole, I see your point, and we can all agree that it's not even close to functionally accurate yet. But what I see value in, is the "areas of influence". That seems to be something that, once accuracy improves, could make Perks more viable and useful to the users and the businesses offering them. After all, if I'm influential about skiing, that likely means that I talk about it and probably enjoy it. I'd love a discount on a lift ticket if it were available to me as a "Perk", and like most positive experiences, I'd probably tweet about it afterward. It's going to take time to improve accuracy. But I can see Perks being a viable form of advertising as well as a pleasant bonus for users, in the future.
I actually wrote a post on this topic a few months ago here: http://sethsiegler.com/2010/12/a-real-estate-groupon There was some good discussion in the comments section. Since then I tried everything to get in touch with both Groupon and Living Social. I finally resorted to calling them out on Twitter for ignoring me. That got me a quick response from both. Groupon said: "Since we can only feature a limited number of businesses, our schedule is carefully constructed to highlight a variety of business types, locations, sizes, and price-points. At this time, we don't see an opportunity to feature your business." I interpreted this as "we don't want to play with real estate" Living Social responded via twitter and said to apply on the website. (Of course I had already done that) I responded to both with the outline of what I'd be offering but neither ever responded again. My idea was to have my brokerage offer a limited service, pre-paid, listing and marketing package for $1000 or so. Have it tip at 10. You could offer MLS entry, a sign, a simple website, photography, showing coordination, etc. With some volume, it could be easy money. The key is that mailing massive Groupon mailing list and easy checkout system though. Housetipper is a great idea. I like the idea of working with an established company like Trulia to access their mailing too. That could be key.