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Empire Avenue: Social stock exchange game or metrics tool?

3 min read

Digital Technology

This guest post is by Shashi Bellamkonda, social media swami at Network Solutions, a company that helps small businesses establish an online presence and conduct online marketing.

Empire Avenue is a social network that functions like a stock exchange. You can buy “shares” in the profiles of other members using a virtual currency called eaves.

A profile’s value can be influenced in two ways.

  • People buy and sell stock in you, thereby driving up your value.
  • Earn eaves in exchange for activity on other social networks, such as Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Users can buy shares of others’ profiles by accumulating eaves through activities including selling their own shares, unlocking rewards and buying eaves for real money.

As of this writing, my profile was worth 839,979 eaves. (How I wish that were real money!) I’ve been on the network for a few weeks, and I’ve noticed that Empire Avenue has a few interesting features.

  • Communication: You can send messages to shareholders or chat with other members in chat rooms according to topics.
  • Content sharing: You can share content by adding blogs and also Twitter and Facebook feeds. Or you can use Empire Avenue to post status updates to your Empire Avenue community and syndicate to other social networks.
  • Promotions: You can spend eaves to place advertisements that target your community, using a CPM model of advertising. Adding a badge to your website or blog and tweeting your Empire Avenue profile are other ways to get people to invest in you. You can also earn eaves if people join Empire Avenue from your profile, giving the site an affiliate model as well.
  • I think Empire Avenue can produce remarkable engagement opportunities for brands as the site becomes more popular. Brands such as Ford Motor, Toyota Motor and Intel are already connecting with fans through Empire Avenue. I think more brands should consider joining the network because it offers interesting benefits.

    • Audience exposure: Up-and-coming brands can use the game mechanic to introduce themselves because people buying and selling a brand on Empire Avenue might not be following it on other networks.
    • Engagement value: The network provides built-in incentives to engage other members. Conversations you have on other social networks also can be syndicated.
    • Research potential: The network can provide an interesting way of identifying and studying influential figures in a given sector. It will also be interesting to watch for trends in how shares of thought leaders are bought and sold.

    Of course, right now, the most compelling reason to try Empire Avenue is for fun. Even if you avoided social games such as “FarmVille” — I did — you might find it hard to resist indulging in Empire Avenue. “FarmVille” maker Zynga has more than 100 million users, and more than 40% of Facebook users are playing its games. Empire Avenue has the potential to capture Zynga fans and those who have stood on the sidelines of social gaming. And because the game is relatively new, you have a chance to get in early and maybe end up a millionaire — even if it’s only in eaves.