Searching for Standards: Klout & the IAB…

There is a theme to this post: If you are going to be, or purport to be, some kind of standard-bearer in any industry or professional pursuit, you had damn well better be good.

And set a valid standard while you are at it, meaning that it fits the confines of the subject, is applicable to all, and defines an actual “standard” that the majority of people will validly recognize as being just that.

In the case of these two entities, I reject that occurring at this moment, at least as defined within the discussions below. A clear-eyed assessment of each follows.

I’ve railed extensively in other places about the non-relevance, and/or validity, of the so-called Klout “score.” It is one they try hard to push as a “standard”, but yet is so intrinsically flawed, it amazes me anyone pays it any attention.

As one example, I admin at least 5 Twitter accounts actively; some for myself in varying lifestyle segments, some for professional pursuits, and some for other companies/brands I do work for. That alone would put me at probably a 250+, or some other crazy number score…if they tracked it. But they can’t. So with my fairly large footprint…a key tenet of Social Media principles as some of us know…I am not even on their radar at Klout, rendering them utterly useless.

I do similar things with multiple accounts/pages in Facebook, and with other social media vehicles. The fact that Klout cannot comprehend of such users working in this way, let alone being able to track them as part of their Klout score “standard”…is laughable. Yet tragically, it has gained ground among many out there…including in career evaluations, no less!…who might want to look closer, and ponder on what they are getting here from Klout. Or not.

And so it may also be, even if in a different sense, with the new Digital Media Sales Certification exam process, from the IAB/Internet Advertising Bureau.

In the case of the IAB, note that we are here really only talking about this new exam from them: the DMSC for short, or Digital Media Sales Certification. Being even more precise, we refer to the exam itself, and the process involved in taking it, not the point for having the exam. This said, we know it’s a young new event, and so will evolve.

Note that I also don’t see anything wrong with having a standards-based exam [I willingly paid for, and took it myself], or have issues with the other great work done overall by IAB. We also have the DMSC logo placed on this site.

With that, let me say here at the outset, that I’ve taken [and passed] the CA Insurance License, Notary Public, and NY State Real Estate License exams, and the Foundation Level certification for Sommeliers in the wine world. All very tough exams, all with very low ‘pass’ rates, all on a first take. And I passed this DMSC exam on first try, too, so I am very clear on these issues when I delve into the following critique.

Now, it’s one thing to make an exam difficult. Tricky even. Nothing wrong there. But when an exam is trying to become a new standard, thereby holding an inordinate amount of sway [and/or say] in your pending career moves, it had BETTER be spot on in its approach. This one is not, for now.

I naggingly learned this exam would be problematic right from the start, with the ‘Practice Exam’ they offer [since it is likely I signed a form that in part prevents disclosure of exam particulars, some of what follows will be vague or partially changed to uphold that.]

Without too much detail, let’s just say that one of the very first ‘test’ questions [not an actual] asked is about a type of “model” [as in economic-type model]…that was nothing of the sort. The item in question was a program, software package, utility, or database function. NOT A MODEL, in any sense of the word. Already this is not off to a good start, and we are still weeks from taking it, being still in prep/review mode here.

And yet, based on this error, you were [of course] still supposed to answer the question, which then really amounted to nothing more than guesswork.

“Nothing more than guesswork.” Hmmm, yes. That term signifies also, much of what is wrong with the rest of the exam. Why? Because it wasn’t, from what I can see, assembled by persons solidly familiar with the process [more on that in closing.] What uh, happened?

In almost every single one of the ‘situational’ questions asked, I found at least 3 of the 4 answers from which you had to choose only ONE of…that could be the right answer. So in that sense, it doesn’t matter what answer THEY wanted…I’ve lived these, and know what the answers are. Or could be. Even when questions of order or sequence were involved, again…I could think of a dozen situations where all the answers have been used by me [and millions of dollars sold in the process, I might add.] And, since no further context was offered on most, you were left with? “Nothing more than guesswork.”

Anybody could pass, or not, based on that, sorry. Unlike my Real Estate or insurance exams, this is not an suitable exam structuring. Or an adequate one.

And…it continues. The process by which you take this exam, is nearly hilarious. You take it at some strange Pearson/VUE Test Center, at which you need two forms of ID, and then they take your photograph. Ready to go? Hardly. Read on…

Then they make you sign a bunch of forms, put your keys/phone/brain into a locker, and go to the room. Except you don’t go IN the room yet…until they scan your fingerprints. And you’re still not done, because then come your palm prints. BOTH palm prints. I am not making this up.

For an exam on Digital Media Sales, let’s just say this process was far, far outside what is realistic. It was so far past what would be commensurate compared to other fields [nothing like this occurred for the other exams noted above], that this alone made the entire process nothing short of strange.

Did someone not tell them that IAB has nothing to do with NSA, CIA, or FBI? [Snicker – maybe that should be an exam question?!?]

In retrospect of taking DMSC, the exam bears at best, some mild resemblance to the real world of people selling Digital Media. The exam is not as well done as I would have expected, in all the ways outlined above.

And at least some of the committee members [not from IAB itself, but outside committee members] need to be ‘optimized’ themselves in response to the level of thinking here; i.e. away certainly from such prestigious, visible positions on such a board for which they clearly are not qualified. That, along with the focus of the questioning, to ensure a better test in the future. The standard this exam is aiming for, demands it.

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~ by MindOnMediaSales on June 7, 2013.

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