Customer care software specialist Lithium Technologies recently acquired social sharing firm Klout, in a move Lithium hope will be a game changer in its sector.

We spoke to the company's CEO and President, Rob Tarkoff, to find out more about what the deal could mean for the industry.

TechRadar Pro: What are the details of the acquisition?

Rob Tarkoff: Lithium Technologies has announced that it has acquired Klout, a pioneer in using big data to measure online expertise. Lithium is the recognised leader in engaging on social networks and building online customer communities for the world's best brands.

TRP: Why did Lithium buy Klout?

RT: Lithium's acquisition combines its community and social response expertise, enterprise scale, and brand relationships with Klout's deep consumer understanding and agency ecosystem.

Lithium's vision is to build an open, transparent exchange between brands and passionate consumers, powered by the world's best digital reputation engine. Rather than a conversation about 'who's in control', Lithium aims to provide both brands and consumers an environment of greater transparency, with clear measures of trust, expertise, and online impact

Today's digital engagement can be confusing for consumers who do not always understand what their online engagement gets them. The digital landscape is equally confusing for brands and companies unsure when, how, and with whom to engage to protect their reputations and grow revenue.

Lithium with Klout aims to solve this issue for both sides—and help consumers manage how they appear to brands, giving them more control over their online identities.

Together, the companies reach more than 500 million consumers across 10,000 specific interest areas, and 300+ branded communities.

TRP: What does Klout do?

RT: Klout has established one of the first and most robust online reputation systems to help consumers and brands better understand each other. Klout has scored more than half a billion online profiles and the company analyses and tracks more than 10,000 Klout topics.

Klout has also pioneered a unique online rewards system called Klout Perks, rewarding loyal fans with access and products that fuel their individual passions. Since Klout Perks launched, the company has delivered 1.25 million Perks.

These innovations have distinguished Klout as the leader in connecting online consumers more intimately with the brands they most cherish.

TRP: What does the acquisition mean for Lithium?

RT: With Klout, Lithium fully delivers on its vision of building a trusted online connection between consumers and the brands they care about, trust is the currency online.

For consumers, a trusted expert provides greater confidence in making purchases and getting advice. For brands, building a trusted reputation allows them to better find and keep customers.

Lithium's platform now solves these challenges for both consumers and brands. Like the most compelling models on the web—such as LinkedIn, Yelp, and eBay—the company brings together both trusted people and trusted content. Lithium now has created an exchange of shared value and a more complete measure of reputation.

TRP: How does the acquisition benefit Lithium's customer brands?

RT: For brands, this means they can:

  • Build a more complete profile of their customers and their needs.
  • Establish clear feedback on how consumers value brands, products and services.
  • Engage consumers more effectively and enlist their participation in growing the brand and the business.
  • Leverage experts for opinions and trusted content.

TRP: How does the deal benefit consumers?

RT: For consumers, this means they can:

  • Discover which people and brands to trust.
  • Enjoy a better, differentiated experience from brands they value.
  • Receive rewards and recognition from brands for their loyalty and engagement.