Six ways to make money from Empire Avenue

Have you heard of Empire Avenue? It seems to have caught fire and is the latest social media blog-darling.

In short it’s networking, gaming, aggregation and social media status in one fun little package.

You link up your social accounts through your Empire Avenue account (currently  Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, LinkedIn and Flickr with Foursquare being lined up).  Through a combination of your social media activity and participants buying shares in you, you end up with a share value, creating a personality-based stock exchange.

Your personal share price rises and falls based on your ongoing social engagement, and the activities of your “shareholders.” If you want to rise on Empire Avenue, people need to buy you and if you stop engaging through your social networks your price will also fall. By the way, I am currently a freaking BARGAIN at 29 “eaves.” What are you people waiting for?

Just what we need.  Another way to be rated in public, right?  A cottage industry is already springing up around this platform like a Facebook forum chatting up which people are good “buys.” Sounds a little creepy to me.

Still, this thing has a good chance to take off …

It’s sticky. The most common word I’ve seen associated with this platform is “addictive.” It’s like playing the stock market with people. I can see why competitive people can go down the rabbit hole and get hooked!

It rates people. People like to rate each other and compare against each other. They just do. And this is user-driven, not an algorithm like Klout.

Not easily gamed. At least I think it would be difficult to game the system since even a fake account would have to have social media credibility to rise up the rankings. But those SEO dudes do love a challenge so I imagine this will become a target now.

Real-life benefits. The founders are trying to line up sponsors so you can eventually buy real goods and services with your fake money. Nice.

Why it probably won’t take off for a lot of people:

  • Do you have time to play online games?
  • I don’t see much personal value in this.
  • There aren’t going to be many surprises.  Who is going to be at the top of the charts? Hmmm… let me guess. The same 10 middle aged white guys who headline every social media conference.  Why bother?

Now for the big question: How do you make money on this thing?  Here are some ideas:

1) Networking

This is a fun game that encourages “shout outs” and interaction.  There are also very active chat rooms. Undoubtedly a good place to make some new contacts. Some new folks have “bought me” so I’m curious to get to know them.

2) Promotion.

A couple of observations:

  • I noticed that Jay Baer is offering free books to people who “shout out” The Now Revolution. Why not?
  • When you invest in a person you see their Twitter feed on your Empire Avenue Portfolio screen.
  • You don’t have to sign up as a person. Your company can be involved too and join in the fun. Companies like Ford and Rackspace already have a presence.  I can see companies connecting “investments” with promotions. Buy Empire Avenue “stock” and get a prize?
  • This could be an entry portal for small businesses. Making a purchase in others opens the door to communication.  Small brands don’t have to wait for others to discover them, they can go buy shares of folks, and strike up the conversation with a simple, “Hey Welcome to EA, bought some shares to give you a boost.”
  • Empire Ave has a built in Advocacy Loop. If you ‘own’ shares in a company, it’s in your best interest to get others to buy it, and to tweet and FB about them to increase the value.

3) Headhunting

This could provide important insights and connections for executive recruiting.  EA provides a window into a person’s social media presence. How they play the game may reveal important personality traits. Are they curious? Are they helpful? Do they engage in conversations?

4) Find influencers

Some people think EA is a competitor of Klout (I don’t agree). But the fact is, it might be a way to identify influencers who are engaged in a particular topic.

5) Advertise

EA has integrated advertising opportunities into its site by allowing “investors” (you) to earn more shares by engaging with brands and shopping on its site.

6) Partnerships

As I mentioned, EA is looking for partners willing to provide real goods and services as investing rewards. But EA also offers an Open API, meaning that companies might find ways to create related applications to augment the EA experience. Think about Farmville’s success on Facebook. Could there be new games and applications surrounding Empire Avenue? Could you integrate this game into other social media platforms? Company promotions?  Mobile apps?

So that is a quick take on Empire Avenue and the buzz is growing on this platform. Have you tried it out?  What do you think?

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  • I have never heard of Empire Avenue… But I think it’s interestig.

  • I have never heard of Empire Avenue… But I think it’s interestig.

  • My first thought is “Great! Another social platform I can totally fail at!” I mean it does sound a bit like fun, but the horror of a cheap price would put me off, lol 🙂 If I’m feeling reckless or something I might give it a try.

  • I signed up this weekend and purchased 2 shares of Pete Cashmore ( I think it was Pete) Anyway, as I started to look at the level of involvement and time commitment I just signed out and have not been back. This is not something that you can take lightly if…you want to be successful. I would rather put my energy into something that has real value. Of course I may change my mind by the end of the day and decide this does have real value.

  • This sounds like fun Mark. But, it seems like more fun for people with already large number of followers.

  • I started playing a few weeks ago (TCSAM).. it reminds be of HSX (Hollywood Stock Exchange) where you bought shares in entertainers, movies, etc. I don’t spend much time in it on a day to day basis but it’s fun for what it is. Just bought shares in you.. hadn’t seen you on there when I checked earlier 🙂

  • Gotta try it. Sounds interesting.

  • Thanks for the overview, Mark. I’ve heard Adriel Hampton talk about this a lot and from what I understand, he sees great value in it for his work and his brand. I like the options you’ve offered for small business entry and potential for not just networking, but recruitment, promotion and partnerships. I’m afraid I’ll have to wait a bit before jumping in, but when I do, I’ll have this for a reference! Thanks!

  • Yeah, I get tired just thinking about it. But you never know … this might be right for you so no harm giving it as try!

  • Agree. It is going to take time and study. The people who are immersed in it have quite a fanatiscm about it. Almost has like a Dungeons and Dragons kind of vibe. Thanks Tom.

  • … and a lot fo time on their hands. Intersting that most of the board “leaders” — never heard of them. Could be a function that they are the early adopters. Still, it seems like a guy Brogan with a huge following who will also buy stock in him is kind of set up to be at the top without as much effort. But who knows. I’m sure they will tweak the game to try to reward effort or people will become disheartened.

  • This looks like fun, but the word ‘addicting’ scares me off. I need to focus on trying to build a real business and feel that involvement in Empire Avenue might divert me from that. Also, the people I am trying to network with are educators – I am wondering how many of them will be attracted to this.

  • Well aren’t you Ms. Early Adopter? : )

    Thanks for buying me. I’m glad SOMEBODY did!! Appreciate the comment Kristen!

  • The one thing about all of these platforms — there does seem to be a reward for early adopters. Seems like if you’re ther first, you’re a de facto leader. If you’re a leader, people follow you, friend, you buy you, whatever and you stay there. A weird economy! : )

  • Very interesting financial potential Mark, thanks for the update!

  • I own 200 shares of you Mark, does that mean I have a control power of this blog ? *evil laugh*
    As you know I love to test everything, I have too much times sometimes and I’ll say that EAv is a great tool to connect with new people. I connected with a lot of people on EAv recently. Added them on facebook, linkedin and followed them on twitter.

    Recently some players are taking it to the next level by building a community on facebook too, great way to engage with people on EAv.

    Btw Mark, don’t forget to buy my stocks, its still cheap at 85.65 a share. 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Re: the same “Middle Aged White Guys who headline the same social media conferences.”

    I am not interested in participating for the following reasons: (1) I don’t consider myself middle-aged – even though I am 40, I plan on living to be 120; (2) while I am White, I am also 1/16 Cherokee, which doesn’t qualify me for much other than a slight possibility that I may be a distant cousin of Tiger Woods (should have cashed those shares in three years ago); and (3) the last Social Media Conference I headlined, Bingo Night at Our Lady of the Wafting Sedatives in Ashtabula, Ohio, found me being upstaged by a woman who owned the equivalent of 1/3 of Kansas on Farmville.

    Oh, and the last time I was playing with social currency, I owned 1 Million Shares of some startup that’s now worth $.000001. Score!

  • LOL. Brilliant commentary. Thanks!

  • I did buy stock in you. You probably have too many shareholders to notice a little guy like me!

    You are such a great networker. I can see why you would enjoy this Aaron!

  • You’re welcome. And don;t forget to buy stock in me. I’m running a special. For each share you get 2-for-1 tweets and a “like.” : )

  • Very good point. It remains to be seen if this is “mostly fun” or “mostly networking.” I think Twitter or Facebook are more time-effective business networking tool for many people.

  • I figured I needed to buy you before you got too expensive 😉

  • So this is where you got the idea to buy 20 shares of Dino? Darn you Mark…do you know how creepy it is to wake up to a tweet saying “I just bought 20 shares in @dino_dogan on Empire Avenue at http://empireavenue.com/ipo/twitter/dino_dogan” ? Its pretty freakin creepy 🙂

  • Fascinating; where do you find the time and snoopage to be apprised of all these apps, channels, tools, games, and more? I’m hanging on by three threads to keep clients satisfied and then I see people saying “I spend 40 hours on this blog a week!” (We all know who that is, Ms. GD.)

    Kudos to you for keeping the community abreast of the next big trend. Not sure I’ll engage as that thing called time is such a craw in my side.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    We need a newsletter called Snoopage to review all these darn things.

  • Since time is money, I could see how the next blog post will be Six Ways to Lose Money from Empire Avenue
    1. Sign up
    2. Participate
    3. Get hooked
    4. Lather
    5. Rinse
    6. Repeat

    I think I’ll stick with making money doing business with clients.

  • Seems totally narcissistic to me. Sure businesses will find a way to make money out of it. But I can see a lot of people going nuts also.
    Anthony

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Yup. That’s kind of where I am. Basically the choice for me would be play this game or blog! Thanks Steve.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    Nice observation. Thanks, Anthony.

  • Mark W Schaefer

    I’m cheap and you know it. : )

  • Dino, if you are there I am off to register.

    Mark, you better surrender those Dino shares to me 🙂 (you had me at second paragraph, I gotta check it out!)

  • Oops. I think a point of clarification is in order. Constantin bought shares in Dino, but it was Mark who told him about Empire Avenue.

    I looked at the site. It seamed forced and trivial, but a an interesting concept overall.

  • This is so much fun. I own you and Mark both, well not really own but 20 shares of each 🙂

  • Go treat yourself to some Dino. Quite a value.

  • It does seem fun … if you have time to figure it out. Which I don’t. I have to have my fun spoon-fed to me.

  • I first heard about this over at InsidePr and have to admit that my heart sunk. Obviously the dark forces are trying to take over my business in new and dangerous ways, turning my head with shiny happy new objects.

    Please don’t buy shares in me anyone so I can sink without a trace and carry on getting the work done instead.

  • I didn’t know what I was doing there – but hey, since you were available, I bought you! 🙂

    The concept is nice but don’t see the exact utility (except as a game and as a cool way of monetization for the webmasters – they wanna invite brands and let users buy real services with their virtual wealth – that would be such a cool way to advertise and interact with users unlike spamming them with ads).

    Anyway – I own shares of you now. 🙂

  • Hilarious, Jon. Seems like there are endless ways to slice us and dice us! : )

  • Of course, I signed up immediately after reading your post this morning!

    [Exits ashamed]

  • Oh no, I’m contributing to your demise. Among other things. : )

  • Most awesome. I will try my best to out-perform the market : )

  • All work and no play… Then again, many people think of me as a dull person. They just might be right.

  • I guess I’ll find out in about four weeks!

  • This is a site I had better not spend too much time on. I can see purchased coming through as I type this comment. I was alerted to the existence of this site when someone I know purchased some shares in me. Pretty interesting all this.

    At the end of the day though I wonder how useful any of these “ranking” systems really are, including Klout. Having said that I continue to run into companies and hear about companies that are still approaching everything marketing and advertising in a purely numbers approach, meaning if you have numbers they think you’re hot shit. We know that numbers can be gamed or manufactured, but true influence goes well beyond some score a website gives you.

  • My take — it matters a lot. Pepsi, Nike, P&G are using this stuff as a marketing weapon and it will filter down to the local level. Doesn’t matter if you like it. It’s gonna happen. As people we can hate it but as marketers we should understand it.

  • First shareholder meeting and gamification roundtable with DUPS and JOWYANG and others at Altimeter Group in San Mateo today. With ATT, Ford, Intel and hundreds of other brands vying for position already in the last 2 weeks, this is a truly disruptive platform (likes disrupt). There are real stakes and big money coming into play now. The #SocialEmpire Facebook group is a hotbed of activity, just search the hashtag out within #EA and you’ll find us. .

  • Congratulations! Does it go without saying that we’re grateful they’ve been 500 GREAT posts?!?

  • David, so nice to see you here. Thanks! Love your blog and look forward to meeting you on my next trip to New York!

  •  I’d sign up for this, but I sold out years ago, so I doubt there are any shares of me left to trade.

  • This is the beauty of social media. The people who sell out the most seem to have the most equity. I predict a bright future for you : )

  • great blog! i learn few things in this post,excellent tips to make money, thanks for sharing.
    share tips

  • You should consider adding #EAv button in your Social Networking icons up there so people could easily buy you 😉 

  • joe

    If they find a realistic way to let people make real money off it, I would consider investing. In the US though, I could foresee legislators making it hard to fund/trade your account, similar to Intrade (which I would have made good $$ off of in this GOP primary if I had a safe, easy way to fund an account) Rrrgh!

  • I enjoyed your book ROI, this blog, and especially this post and the thoughtful and funny comments. I just bought 50 shares in you. You are still a bargain and a well-kept secret at under 100(e) per share (shhhh!) as of today July 17 2012.

    I think there are a few more ways to make real money (as if dollar$ are any more more real than eaves or monopoly money – but that’s for another post). I would be interested in hearing if your thoughts on this have evolved since your original post.

    Here’s two that jump out immediately, though there are more:

    1. Charge individuals to set up and administer their EAv accounts.
    It seems that lots of people on this post are saying they don’t have the time to invest in the set-up and on-going maintenance of the account. I agree. To do it well, it’s a full-time job. So today I brought in two college interns to do just that. I trained one to work on the social media aspects of the site, trained the other to work on the investments/portfolio side. Tomorrow they switch roles. In three days they should ready to monitor and administer my account remotely – from their homes, dorm rooms, the pool, the beach. I oversee it all, to be sure they don’t do anything too “dangerous.” The interns get paid “real” money to do this, and they are now ready to do it for others. This could be a nice additional income stream for SEO person who wants to get into the new “IEO” game (Influence Engine Optimization)

    2. Charge companies and brands to set up and administer their EAv accounts.
    With MISSIONS, a smart brand could easily get RTs, facebook/G+ likes, comments, Klout +K’s, comments on a blog post (this one, for example), whatever. Just hire someone to get started, then buy a ton of extra eaves and use it to drive missions. Pretty simple, very inexpensive, and very very effective. Much easier than trying to get likes and RTs the old-fashioned way. And certainly MUCH cheaper than taking out an expensive ad in dead media like newspapers, TV and radio. $100 dollars for 500,000 eaves certainly buys a lot of missions!

    Its only a matter of time before ad agencies, brands, CMOs at large F500’s etc get on this bandwagon. Get in now before the deluge starts, so when it does, your share price is high, you are throwing off tons of dividends, and have a high ROI. Most importantly, you’ll have NETWORKED with an incredible group of very nice people who are not in it to “win it,” but who know that this “game” we call social media is all about creating a virtuous circle of people who are helping each other (or their causes) to get more visibility in an increasingly noisy world. EAv is much more signal than noise.

    I’ll be back to buy more of you. Nice to get in on the ground floor of your social media rocketship. Thanks for being a guiding light in these choppy waters.

    Shameless plug: Buy me! My share price is affordable, my dividends are good, the ROI is reasonable, and I’m moving up the charts fast. http://www.empireavenue.com/BETHEMEDIA

    And connect with me everywhere here: http://xeeme.com/DavidMathison

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