Is Empire Avenue the next big thing everyone in your social networks will play with?
I stumbled onto Empire Avenue after reading a Tweet from someone proclaiming she had just unlocked the newbie badge on Empire Ave and imploring me to click on this link so that I, too, could do the same and find fortune and fame (just kidding about that last part, though maybe it’s true…) on Empire Avenue. I had not seen any of my early adopter friends mention this new thing so, naturally, I was very curious and clicked on the link. (Yes, I am a marketer’s dream demographic.)
Empire Avenue is unlike any other social networking tool I’ve seen so far. In fact, I’ve been waiting for something like this for a long time. When you join Empire Avenue you’re given a virtual share price based on the level of your social networking activity and engagement- a true virtual social measurement of your worth. People can invest in you, which makes your virtual stock more valuable. Their investment in you will drop in value (just like a real stock investment would do) if you’re not active and engaging with others in your social networks because the purpose of this game is to connect with highly engaged and highly active people in social networks. Empire Avenue (EAv) is not measuring your influential index by the number friends, followers, fans you have but on the level of engagement and activity you have with those people – which are called “value relationships” (I like that term!). Pretty simple.
Why bother opening your free account and allowing Empire Avenue access to your social networking profiles so they can get you going in the game? I will attempt to answer that question in this post.
What IS Empire Avenue?
When you first land on Empire Avenue, you feel like you’re a commodity, with real people investing virtual shares in you and when you get down to the nitty gritty nub of this, you really are a commodity. Here’s what Empire Avenue says it is:
“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!”
The more active you are in your social networks, the more valuable you become to your “investors” because activity + engagement (conversations) equals influence, according to Empire Avenue. (If I haven’t hammered that into your head yet you must not be paying attention.)
How Does Empire Avenue Work?
To begin playing, sign up for your free account and add your social networks. Empire Avenue includes the top most common places that most people are virtually hanging out in these days: Twitter, Facebook (Fan page and Profile), LinkedIn, YouTube, Flickr and Empire Ave. Yes: there are people who are positioning themselves as the movers and shakers of Empire Avenue as we speak (become an early adopter of this new game and you’ll have many advantages).
You can earn virtual credits, known as EAVES, by actually purchasing them with real money; or by partnering up with Super Rewards, which is run by AdKnowledge, an advertising company that specializes in reaching consumers in “hard-to-reach” places such as email, search, domains and social networks. Or you can earn EAVES by inviting your friends to play Empire Avenue.
Empire Avenue says it “allows you to ‘buy’ virtual shares in registered users as if the user was a company on a real-world stock exchange, and similarly allows others to buy virtual shares in you. In effect, Empire Avenue is granting you a license to hold virtual shares in a profile for as long as you are a member of Empire Avenue’s web site and abide by our Terms and Conditions of Use. Having virtual shares entitles you to receive ‘dividends’ in virtual currency from a profile’s virtual ‘earnings.'”
By now, if I were reading this, I’d probably bail after reading you can earn virtual credits or purchase them in the Super Rewards section because I would probably assume that Empire Avenue is like Farmville or Mafia Family – those virtual games that suck you in and, to “non-believers”, seem like a huge waste of time – but don’t judge Empire Avenue yet….give it a chance. At first glance, it does seem like it’s going to be a “huge waste of time” but didn’t you think that way about Twitter and Facebook before you started getting familiar with them? I didn’t even know about the Super Rewards until I thoroughly researched to write this post. (Now you have an advantage over many other people who are just starting to play Empire Avenue.)
Badges, Badges, Badges
Empire Avenue developers believe in the “everyone’s a winner” and “everyone gets a badge” mentality because practically every action you take gets rewarded with a badge. Psychologically, these badges do affect how you feel about playing – makes you want to stay in the game. Since I started playing on Empire Avenue, I’ve accumulated 75 badges in three weeks – way more than FourSquare, which works on a point system to win/unlock badges. You have the option of choosing to Tweet or post your latest badge or not. This is actually a pretty smart marketing move for Empire Avenue because that’s exactly how I discovered them – someone in my Twitter Timeline won a badge and broadcast it to her network. By the way, I have to disclose that by simply writing a blog post about Empire Avenue, I will win another badge. I was already intrigued enough by Empire Avenue to want to write about it. But I have to admit, it will be sweet to win that blog badge.
The Benefits of Using Empire Avenue
Since I’m fairly new to Empire Avenue or “Eav,” as it’s affectionately known as, I’m still figuring out the benefits but my first impression is this: I’m already active and engaging people in my social networks so I might as well raise my virtual social capitol by coming here on Empire Avenue and getting people to invest in me and by investing in others, too.
- Depending on what YOU want to get out of it, Empire Avenue can be “just a game” that you play with friends and see who can build the most valuable virtual portfolio and rule the world.
- Or, if you own a company (IRL – In Real Life), you can use Empire Avenue to measure your virtual social capitol, thus, attracting brands and people to become investors, who associate with you because of your value. These are called value relationships. When you have a high Share Price people are more attracted to you because they know you have long-term commitment to your social networks. Empire Avenue says this about your Share Price: “The social media component of your share price, and especially your Influence Scores, are based on your long-term activity trends on up to 5 of your most active social networks, including Empire Avenue. Heightened or depressed activity on any given day will likely not have an immediate effect on your Share Price or Influence Scores, but sustained activity and sustained engagement with your networks will see steady gains.” (Emphasis mine).
- Or you can use Empire Avenue to measure how well you’re doing as you network in social networks. I’ve used Empire Avenue in this way and it’s made me try harder in the social networks that I THOUGHT I was doing relatively well in, as far as engagement. But, it turns out, I was actually doing well BROADCASTING (just posting and not taking time to have more conversations). When I took more time to converse with people, my value shot up like a rocket, which made me want to keep trying.
If you can’t tell by now, Empire Avenue is my latest virtual crush. Those crazy Canadians (well, they’re not all Canadian but that’s where the company is based and I always wanted to use the phrase “those crazy Canadians” in a loving way) who invented this social networking game get a loving pat on the back from me because it’s about time that someone scores us on our long-term level of activity and engagement and not just on the numbers or some mysterious algorithimn known only to the developers who update their database every 90 days. Plus, whoever wrote all the Web copy on Empire Avenue is a clever and fun dude, whose writing is enjoyable and refreshing to read. Empire Avenue is a true delight.
What Do You Think of Empire Avenue?
Today’s post hardly sweeps the surface of Empire Avenue (I didn’t want to overwhelm you). It’s a richly layered game, very well-thought-out and delightful to play. Now go out and start building your Empire and let me know what you think of Empire Avenue. I love it when you talk back to me.