One week before re-launching social influence calcuation site Kred, PeopleBrowsr CEO Jodee Rich was on Hood River in Oregon, kiteboarding with techies from around the world. He was promoting Kred to the kiteboarding community, which has a high-contingency of first-adopters, and taking time to interview with reporters, including myself. I’m skeptical of the social influence space, and it’s clear in the video above. But Rich addresses the criticism facing companies like his and gave me new reason to believe there might be hope.

Kred, which just like its well-known competitor Klout, calculates a person’s online influence based on data collected from social networking sites, such as Twitter and Facebook, and offers a score that can be measured against others. Kred takes a more visual approach to presenting the information aggregated from across the web, much like social aggregator RebelMouse. It provides real-time streaming of social media posts. And it breaks down the information so that you can see who is interacting with someone most, in which communities they’re most active, and even their offline activities if they’ve uploaded pictures.

Kred is also transparent in how it calculates the score, with an openly published scoring system. That’s a big way the company is setting itself apart from Klout at the moment, aside from the visual stream. Not knowing how scores are calculated is one reason people have been pissed off about Klout, but there’s no secret when it comes to Kred.

As Sarah wrote last week in her post on Klout’s new features, “Joe Fernandez…does not come across as a guy comfortable with pissing people off. But his company, Klout, has done just that pretty much since inception.”

But that’s not Fernandez’s intention. He, too, just re-launched his site, in an effort to include more data, including Wikipedia pages, and weighting sites such as LinkedIn much higher. It’s still facing some backlash on Twitter, however, as people don’t want to be seen as influential in areas such as “mangos”, simply because they Tweeted what they had for breakfast. It’s one area where Rich contends Kred excels, although both companies have access to Twitter’s firehose, which provides real-time data.  Rich says that Data crunchers go back 1,200 days to ensure they’re truly gathering only the areas a user talks about most, and they create communities based on not just the keywords and hashtags in a person’s posts, but also their Twitter bio.

But Rich has an uphill battle trying to overtake Klout. Kred is the No. 2 in a space in which some question whether there should be even one player, let alone two. Do people really care about their online influence? A better question might be, who cares about anyone’s online influence score except for reporters?

Okay, Klout has proven that some brands do care and they’ve been willing to reward key customers for promoting their brands online. Beyond that, I don’t know anyone who consistantly looks at these scores. Although, I do know one person who figured out that you can increase your Klout score simply by Tweeting more. I tried that on Kred, and it’s not possible to manipulate your score in that way.

If we’re even questioning why people would even care about these scores, and the true value they have, it’ll be interesting to see whether the value gets muddier as Kred is focusing more on creating vanity pages as a social media aggregator. At least for me, I found one way to use Kred’s information, to paint a video portrait of Thrillist CEO Ben Lerer ahead of his participation in a fireside chat at our most recent PandoMonthly in New York. Kred does the work of aggregating the latest moves of people we write stories about, and performs the analytics.

Take a look: