An Investment You Can Afford – Empire Avenue

Here's Another Site that Will Consume Your Time!

While lunching yesterday with fellow social media strategist/blogger Tim Tyrell-Smith he told me about this social media adventure called Empire Avenue. According to its website,“Empire Avenue is the Social Media Exchange, where you can buy and sell shares in any social media profile, meet new people, unlock Achievement badges, and earn boatloads of virtual cash by being active and social online! Buy shares in your friends, your followers, people with similar interests, brands you love, celebrities – anyone! All using a virtual currency and all for free!”

Tim was really excited about this social ranking website, mostly because it has a game-like component to it.  He wrote an in-depth blog post about it here and you should definitely take time to read it.

So, I had a few minutes yesterday and decided to check it out for myself.  And it’s really quite fun and I could see that for some social media types – Empire Avenue could be addicting. That is if you are one of those who is concerned about how you rank as a social media influencer. I don’t know about you, but for some reason I am concerned about my scores on Empire Avenue and on other such social media measuring sites like Klout and Peer Index. And I’m not too proud of that fact and would like to send this warning. Don’t let these sites trip you up so that you consume too much time or cause you to change your communication plans.

There are ways that you can increase your scores through little tricks like posting more on Facebook and sending more tweets to ratchet up your scores. I would like to forewarn you not to get caught up in all that. But in the end, does it really matter? These are not official rankings and not a true measurement of one’s success.

JOLLY GOOD FUN

There some things about this site which are impressive. The site exudes quality in every sense and presents numerous options to keep one interested.  It resembles the stock market and as such, it fun to buy and sell and evaluate stock in other humans, places and things. And the best part is that it’s not real money. You’ve got nothing to lose. It’s like a Monte Carlo event for online. And if you’re feeling really generous I’d love you to invest in me…the ticker symbol is THE RONZ.

Even though I’m not making money, Empire Avenue is. Empire Avenue has cleverly integrated advertising onto its site by allowing “investors” to earn more shares by engaging with products on its Shop Section.  Empire Avenue’s currency is called “Eaves.” You can earn additional Eaves by twittering and posting on Facebook and by shopping through its store.  Eaves can be acquired free or through real money.  You can watch videos, buy magazines, take surveys and purchase some through PayPal.

What I also like about Empire Avenue is that it allows me another opportunity to network online and become better acquainted with others I know.  I was really excited to invest in TRADERBECK, an advertising reporter friend of mine, and a few others fellow bloggers.

I was pleased as to how effortlessly Empire Avenue connected all of my social media activities into my profile. I was able to add in my blogs in the profile too and others are able to endorse them. As a blogger, I love that it helps spread my efforts to a new network of social media friends.

So the connections are good. The site is polished. And if I consider my time on Empire Avenue to be used as break from work, then its worthwhile.  If I think of it as a game, then I don’t feel as guilty investing my time.

But…there are some things on the other side of the coin that I have to look at like…

WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT

Finance is not my strong suit.  When it comes to the stock market and portfolio management I have a pro who looks after mine. So, I wanted to check this out with a friend of mine who’s a financial wizard of sorts. He loves the thrill of buying and selling and does a great job of it so I wanted him to tell me his opinion. When I called him to ask him about Empire Avenue he said that he doesn’t participate in such activities that resemble the stock market for fun. He said that there are other sites that represent this area and those sites are chock full of ads from investment firms and funds.  He said the main reason these sites exist is to help others start to understand the stock market and become more comfortable enough with it so that they start real online accounts. I do see his point. I don’t think this is the case for Empire Avenue – but, clearly this site is about earning a profit. If you dig a bit deeper in the “Shop” area, you will see that’s an integral part of the site…to buy sponsored products.

We all need to make money and that’s how Empire Avenue collects their paycheck through its Shop section.  They hope that a participant gets so excited about buying and trading that they will want to earn or buy more Eaves. And if a user engages with a advertiser they probably get a take of it as well.  And although, I’ve noticed this…I do appreciate that our home pages on Empire Avenue are commercial free.  The advertisers are only seen when you visit the Shop Section.

Empire Avenue also has a foursquare component to it where the user earns badges.  On foursquare it is quite difficult to earn badges, but not so on Empire Avenue. In 24 hours I’ve earned 55 badges. That’s a bit too much don’t you think?

A Partial List of My Achievement Badges Earned in Less Than 24 Hours

Also, every time you earn one of their achievement badges, they want you to tweet it out. If you do, you get three more Eaves.  Because of  this, Empire Avenue can become the Farmville of Twitter.  I tweeted a bit too much about this stuff wanting to earn Eaves before I realized how I was cluttering up my brand on Twitter and potentially infuriating my followers.

I did not intend for this post to be a downer about Empire Avenue. I really think you should check it out. But, in doing so, just be careful not to get too carried away by your personal score or by over-messaging to increase your “unofficial” social media ranking.

I’d love to hear your thoughts about such social media measurement sites. While they are fun…are they really not anything more than a waste of time? What’s your thoughts?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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5 thoughts on “An Investment You Can Afford – Empire Avenue

  1. Hey Cindy – Great review and I enjoyed your take on the site. I totally agree that while Empire Avenue is a game, trying to “game” it or any other influence site is silly. :-) Influence is only one result of blogging and communicating with others online. So makes sense not to get too caught up. But it is fun, right?

  2. Yes, I’ve been enjoying it Tim, but really dislike how they want us to tweet out their achievement badges and other mentions. Thanks for the comment!

  3. Thanks for the post, Cindy, and glad you’re enjoying it :).

    Yeah, we’re absolutely cognizant of the fact that tweeting every achievement or share purchase can get annoying… we have a tip on the popup that says as much :). Ultimately, of course, as you note, it’s up to the individual user to do so or not, and we hope that users are smart about which trades they share. Less shares = more value for each one.

    As for the point about not getting too caught up in it, totally spot on! :) Part of what we wanted to do with Empire Avenue is to ensure you don’t HAVE to be constantly engaged on the site to get value out of it. Once you’ve connected your networks, you could just let it do its job, checking back occasionally to do buy-backs or just to check out your stats. On that front, you might be interested in checking out the Facebook app — it’s currently in invite-only mode, but as you have an account on the main site, you can access it. Check http://apps.facebook.com/empireavenue. The stats in there should be quite helpful for anyone who’s monitoring a professional social media effort, and you can take care of it alongside Facebook efforts :)

    If you ever have any questions, just let us know!

  4. Tom,
    Thanks for the additional pointers engaging with Empire Avenue. I’ll definitely check them out and especially the pop-up for tweeting. Plus as I mentioned on Quora, I do respect how quickly your responded as one PR pro to another. And will note this a great example of someone on top of their game. Also, a Southern California curler, I’m always partial to Canadians. Thanks a million and now I’ll invest in you.

    Cindy

  5. Hey Cindy,
    Great review. You’ve captured some of my concerns about the game here as well. I’ve stopped seeing the do you want to tweet this (buy or whatever it is) notes, so I thought they’d been 86d. I was tweeting them a lot until I realized how that was coming through on my Twitter… spam…
    Also, the Empire Avenue earn by participating in sponsored promotions aspect bothers me a bit. OTOH, after a month of playing, I’m approaching my second million in the game without buying or participating in sponsored deals, so being successful in the game certainly doesn’t hinge on that. And, I’ve made new contacts and seen a lot of good content on blogs etc. through my EAV interactions. Overall, I’m impressed.

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