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Empire Avenue – Social Media Or A Game?

Posted by on Oct 17, 2011

After kind of being cajoled into taking a look at this thing, I finally decided to join Empire Avenue so I could get a sense of what it was all about.

What I was told was that it was a system that would help you measure your social media status because it would allow people to buy “stock” in your online performance. What it’s turned out to be is more along the lines of BlogShares, something I signed up for years ago, where people would buy stock on the progress of your blogs, with the intention of helping you get people to visit your blog and thus increase your visits and, ergo, your blog’s worth.

BlogShares seems to have fallen on hard times somewhat. I say that because it says I’m worth $146 billion (yup, you read that right) and I really haven’t done much over the years, and somehow when I went there a couple of months ago I didn’t even own any stock, including in my own blogs. It may or may not still be viable, and thus it’s probably how something like Empire Avenue jumped in and has taken off… to an extent.

Why do I say that? Well, I’ll say this; there are some fairly active people on the site. However, there aren’t as many people there that I thought I’d know. As a matter of fact, overwhelming people are buying stock into my site that I have no idea who they are. And when I try to find out more about them, I notice that many of them don’t even have websites, let alone blogs. That’s kind of freaky, but it’s not needed.

That’s because as long as a person has an account on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, they’re good. They can also have an account on YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr and a couple other sites and still be considered as legitimately taking part in social media.

I’ve been a part of it for two weeks now, and I’ll say this; it could probably be addicting for many people, and I know by reading some of the messages in the Facebook group for EA, as some of the folks call it (that makes me think of Electronic Arts so I probably won’t use it again) that some folks are taking it way too seriously. See, you buy shares in people whose stock price seems to be rising, just like the real stock market. But the other side of it is that some people will sell stocks if someone seems to be falling, and some of those folks are losing their minds thinking other people aren’t being, well, loyal. Y’all know how I am about loyalty, but it’s a game. And let’s face this fact; if you don’t know those people, then when was loyalty ever built?

To this end my stock price has risen pretty quickly, and it says I have a pretty good net worth. I think where I’m benefiting is that it lets you list up to 5 blogs and I have 5 blogs, 4 of which I write something fairly regularly. You earn a certain amount of points for every blog post; rather, they call them “eaves”, though truthfully I have no idea what this means.

For that part there’s a lot of things said on the site that I have no idea what they mean. And I guess it doesn’t matter. I’ll tell you this much. The site will give you a chance to get backlinks to your sites, including your blogs. You can check people’s About page to see if they have blogs, as some people will check yours, and if you’re lucky they’ll endorse your blog. If they actually visit your blog after that, it’s all good; I don’t endorse any blog I don’t look at first.

The site has what it calls “community pages”, which is more like lots of forum pages where you can join one for things that interest you. I’ve only joined two, one for Syracuse and one for books, and for now that’s all I’m joining because it’s hard following conversations; I don’t like that part, and wish it was more like a true forum where, if you click on the link that tells you someone responded to you or wrote on a topic you wrote on that it took you directly to that topic; nope.

I’ve also found that it’s hard to engage a person on the site. They have kind of an email system but I don’t want to use their email since I have my own. They also have what they call the “shareholder’s email”, which I think you have to pay for in either real money or eaves; I’m not really sure what that’s all about either but I turned that off.

In any case I’m hoping it might turn into something that actually becomes more social as much as a game, but I’m doubting it. I can tell you this; the site hasn’t cracked the top 25 for any of my blogs as far as referral traffic coming my way, which tells me that many people are endorsing my blogs but not visiting them. Hey, whatever floats their boat, right? If you go to the site think of it as a stock market game and nothing else, at least for now; then you might enjoy it for awhile.
 

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14 Comments »

John:

Thanks for the nice and informative review. To me, EA Is a social game with some realy nice networking features, and not a social platform with some gaming features.
John recently posted…Ex Girlfriend SayingsMy Profile

October 17th, 2011 | 10:18 AM

Mitch I haven’t tried Empire Avenue yet, but many of my friends have.
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October 17th, 2011 | 8:08 PM

Mitch sorry for leaving such an abbreviated comment but I was recording a tutorial using your blog as an example – in a good way of course. To be honest I really don’t have much to say about Empire Avenue at this point. I do know one of the guys who works on the team – Aaron K. White is a really bright and talented guy.
With that being said, if you want to take a look at the tutorial I left the link in CommentLuv. Cheers!
Ileane recently posted…Tricks and Tips For Promoting Guest Posts with CommentLuv PremiumMy Profile

October 17th, 2011 | 10:05 PM

No problem Ileane; you I know. lol And I got to be used as an example in a video; how neat!

October 17th, 2011 | 10:28 PM

I haven’t also tried Empire Avenue, and haven’t heard a lot about it, so it was really very interesting for me to read. Thanks for sharing
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October 18th, 2011 | 4:15 AM
John Dilbeck:

Hi Mitch,

I play Empire Avenue as a game, but I don’t play it much. I spend maybe 15 minutes a day there, buying stocks with my earnings and now and then meeting someone whom I follow and/or interact with elsewhere, such as on a Facebook page.

I’m really not interested in the social aspects of the game, itself, as much as meeting a few new people with similar interests.

I also don’t use it for backlinks and referrals. I need to check and see if I have enough endorsements on my blogs to add them. I don’t know how to do it, but it probably is pretty easy.

As with the real stock market, people buy and share stocks for reasons of their own. I’m not trying to win the game or become a gazillionaire. As much as anything, it’s just fun “buying stock” in people I know and like.

People such as you.

(grin)

JD

October 18th, 2011 | 12:49 PM

John, I believe I’ve had a few people from Empire Avenue that have decided to follow my FB page, but other than that I don’t believe I’m getting more traffic to this blog or any of the other blogs. As you said, if I treat it more as a game then it’s all good. But I have seen in the Empire Avenue group on Facebook that some people are taking this stuff personally, and that’s too bad. Actually I guess I could see feeling disappointed if everyone suddenly decided to bail on me because of stock price. But there seems to be things one can do to keep their stock price up that aren’t all that hard, such as writing in your blogs and communicating with others on some of these social media platforms, something we do anyway.

October 18th, 2011 | 1:29 PM
John Dilbeck:

I agree, on all counts.

It doesn’t matter where we go or what we do, we’re going to run into people who take things personally and want to fight and whine about it. I don’t see the point, but that’s the way some people choose to act.

If someone isn’t willing to use the social media tools and sites upon which the eaves are earned and stock prices are determined, they’ve picked the wrong game to play.

JD
John Dilbeck recently posted…John Dilbeck selected as Sitesell Featured Fan on FacebookMy Profile

October 18th, 2011 | 5:12 PM
Carl:

Never heard about this website before, probably I will test it, just out of interest, yeah the thing that it is happening with this kind of website mostly is endorsing or voting, without visiting the actual website.

October 18th, 2011 | 8:54 PM

Hi Mitch. Thanks a lot for sharing this. I haven’t tried this site yet. But I’ll pay a visit there to see what kind of website it is actually. And I think, if I’m going to use it, I’ll take it only as a game.
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October 19th, 2011 | 12:15 AM
Mitchell Allen:

Hi Mitch,

You know that the game lover in me applauds all experiments. To get at the heart of your post question, answer it with a question:

“Would you order pizza on Friday night and invite six of your game-playing friends to a session of Empire Avenue?”

Let’s not get into the rhetoric of game genres, assume for the sake of discussion, that your friends will play most games in your collection and will not beat you over the head with the box – unless you broke out Candyland.

If you would do that, then you must consider it a game. Otherwise, it’s a diversion, like FourSquare, OneTrueFan, Klout (yeah, I said it! LOL) or BlogShares.

Cheers,

Mitch

October 19th, 2011 | 6:18 PM

Hi Mitch,

You’re assuming I have six game-playing friends; truthfully, I only have one. Not even my wife will play games, and I’m not a big games guy either. Still, I’ll go with you on diversion instead of game based on your criteria. However, I had thought it would be something different; I thought the level of engagement would be higher. But it’s not, and that’s disappointing. They have this feature called ShoutOut where people can send you a message; almost all the messages have been “thank for buying my stock” or “I just purchased xxx of your stock”; heck, if that were on my blog I’d delete it as spam.

Still, it’s piquing my curiosity for the moment, and that’s enough to keep me engaged for awhile more.

October 19th, 2011 | 7:14 PM
Mitchell Allen:

Mitch,

I’ve played various stock market games – spanning 30+ years of fun and tedium. Ignoring the lip service in Monopoly (From sale of stock…) and LIFE, the first one I ever played was on a time share computer in 8th grade. That was a boring, but tantalizing introduction to simulations. It had three stocks and you bought and sold and pretty much watched random values change – a waste of printer paper, actually.

Later, most of the games that had stock markets included them as a side-game, a diversion which sought to separate you from your money.

One really cool game isn’t a stock game at all. Pit is a commodities card trading game that resembles Old Maid on steroids.

I discovered that investing in the stock market is not as much fun as being an active trader. Board and card games like Settlers of Catan, Basari and Pit present the essence of markets that IS fun.

If Empire Avenue wants to be fun, it should take a look at some old-school PC games and figure out what worked. Here’s something I would do:

Every player gets a pretend web hosting account and maybe some seed money. They must create a product, a distribution center and a marketing plan. All this would be abstracted in a series of simple choices. Once they have things set up, they make announcements to the other players.

Now, each player can choose any number of other players’ companies to invest in – or take over, or run out of business. The stock market now becomes a yardstick measuring the impact of all this tomfoolery.

If Empire Avenue could tie this interaction to your actual blog (for updates and whatnot, using a toolbar or widget), well, maybe I would play. LOL

Cheers,

Mitch

October 19th, 2011 | 11:41 PM

Mitch, I’m not totally sure what it is they’re hoping for the game to be. There’s a group on Facebook that someone added me to and I’ve read some of the stuff, but my mind can’t put it all together. As I said, some folks are losing their minds, some bolt, some fuss and some go along with the flow.

Last night I noticed my stock price had gone down and truthfully I have no idea why it went down. But I thought about it and figured that’s how real stocks work as well, so I did my thing and went about my business, and this morning it was heading towards the positive side of things once more. A part of me believes that once you’ve been around for awhile the activity in your account slows down and probably no matter what you do you’re going to start to tumble some; heck, even Chris Pirillo’s stock price is falling the last couple of days.

So, it’s a game, one that probably really can’t be won by anyone, and for now it amuses me. But I’m not addicted to it; maybe I’m past those days? Nah! lol

October 20th, 2011 | 12:01 AM