Thursday, July 22, 2010

The New Empire Avenue Inside and Out

Empire Avenue (EA) launches the new look of its website, as you can see from the pic. For someone who has seen the previous webpage, I have to say this is an improvement in terms of conciseness, as you can now see most of the site in one go. But as far as joining EA, it's still an invite-only affair, as the Create Account button will only work if you supply an email address that's been invited to the beta. That pretty much solves the mystery to me of why the Invite Key box at the lower right still remains. But I feel that there wasn't enough information about EA still being in invite-only mode that an average user could end up confused, a bit turned-off even, that they went so far as to click the Create Account button only to find out they don't yet qualify. And the information at the sign-up page isn't really much of a help either. I guess if you aren't that eager to join, you wouldn't even consider going back to check and find out that there's this Invite Key thing at the bottom.

Inside, the List thing has been implemented, to replace the Follow feature. It's a good thing that you can add one person to several lists. How useful this setup is still remains to be seen. Personally, I find that there's more than a handful of default groupings already. Since it has a Recommended Buy portion, it just might be another one of those "recommend me, I will recommend you" sort of thing. The good thing is, if I am not mistaken, they've already removed the Achievement related to the number of Followers that you have. It jut might be that this time around, the Recommended Buy feature may be used more responsibly.

Welcome as these changes may be, there are some other developments that I would be more interested to see in the future. I'll discuss that in a future post.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Road to "Follow"

As posted in EA's blog, the concept of Follow will soon be revised to make it more meaningful and orderly. The question is: is it really necessary?

As someone fairly new to EA, one of the very first thing I noticed, and many would have also, is how eager people would like you to Follow them. A closer look at the Achievements would show that it is more out of a desire to get the Leader of the Pack set of Achievements, a total of $3,000 value. So the tendency is to Follow anyone with the hope that they will Follow you back rather than linking to individuals with similar interests.

Now, what will happen if you remove that set of Achievements? You now have natural reasons to Follow a certain individual, which can include potential investments and simply because you like their content. Within the context of EA, there is limited reason for putting in Categories like "Family and Friends", etc. Even categories like "Recommended Buys" and "Recommended Sells" could likewise be triggered by existing alert systems. And given our human limits, I doubt if anyone would Follow more than a handful of other Influencers.

Still, the categorization would be quite a welcome feature for orderly individuals, and I don't think it would hurt others who've been using the Follow feature reasonably. But I doubt if it could be used as a way to curb rampant Following.

On the lighter side, I decided to have fun with the Follow feature yesterday, knowing that it would be changed soon anyway. Turns out I can only Follow a certain number of individuals, which I think can be expressed as (3 x Followers) + 1. If you can confirm this, please let me know.

Lastly, don't forget to Follow me! And buy my shares!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Of Influencers and Investors

A couple of thoughts on the two primary roles that each member of EA plays: that of an Influencer and an Investor.

The Influencer part is already a given, and since it is the primary premise and goal of the game, it is understandable that EA has put in considerable energy to develop and continuously refine the algorithm to measure influence. Still, there is a lot to be desired, although I am not sure how far can EA go. The challenge as I see it is in being able to measure only meaningful activity. I mean, if a person posted three times in a day that he is simply having breakfast, lunch, and dinner respectively, and another post only once a day about an article or a meaningful thought, who would normally have greater influence? But since we have a machine measuring the activity, I doubt that such quality can be considered.

Another equally interesting role is that of the Investor. Much like in a typical stock market, you want to make the best investment. Stock prices are affected not only intrinsically (by one's activity), but also technically (by promoting yourself and having people buy you, which can create a sort of herd mentality). So each one can invest in a manner that fits his style and availability. Those who can hang around for longer periods of time may opt to invest in a stock that's currently generating buzz, regardless that the person does not show any significant activity, and then dumps the stock when he already made a profit and before it begins to go down. Or you can be like me that only has one or few times a day to visit the site, so I will choose investments that show that the person will have consistent activity (such as having regularly updated blogs and tweets).

I know that EA is still in beta, and people have been pointing out some areas to improve on. I will be posting about these in the future. Hopefully EA will continue to improve and have new features, especially as it nears commercial release.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Empire Days

So, it's been over a day already for me at Empire Avenue. I've done the customary linking of my online "outlets", like my blog, Twitter, and Facebook, since as I understand, that's where my Influence will be measured. Bought a couple of shares from fellow Influencers (seriously, I think they need to have a "fun" version of this official title), especially my friends. Also "followed" a number of members, especially those who "followed" me first.

I've also seen my share price drop after a day of no online activity. My portfolio value has gone up, as several Influencer shares I own appreciated. Which raises the question of whether or not you can consistently keep your share price up. I guess that since the underlying premise of your influence is your online activity, it follows that reduced online activity would affect your share price adversely. But what if you have no online activity for a day or more but during those times when say, your blog keeps generating interest in the form of comments and interactions? How much more important is that than your own activity to negate the temporary non-activity?

In the span of about a day, this blog also got DENIED for upgrade to blog status, despite having 3 endorsements already, and just waiting for 2 more. On the other hand, my chess blog got upgraded to blog status in record time (I don't think it even got the required 5 endorsements). Why it turned out that way I still don't know, but maybe it has something to do with the fact that my chess blog is already several years old while this blog has just started. I've deleted it for ow, but hopefully it's not against the rules to have it resubmitted for consideration.

But the real question has to do with value. The underlying premise of EA is that those with more influence should rise to the top. But if I can't view the value of one's activity because I am restricted from doing so (as in I am not connected to that person in Facebook), what value do I get from that? I hope that EA has plans in store where the value of one's activity can be measured, so that activity for the sake of activity will be minimized.

Hope to learn more in the coming days. And while were at it, you may want to consider buying my shares. Especially if you see that I am fundamentally a sound investment :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

My First Step at World Domination!

Well, that's how the folks at Empire Avenue (EA) regularly refer to it. Enough to make me wonder if they really mean it. Wouldn't it be cool if we are all world dominators? Although I wonder how the economics of it would turn out.

So, how does it work? So far, this is how I see it. You create an account, either as a person or a website, and from then on you are considered as a stock commodity (you even have a ticker, much like in a stock exchange). You are set an initial price of 10.00 Eaves, the currency of EA, which is supposed to go up and down as people buy and sell you. There's even a market-maker feature, which I have yet to explore. The guiding principle is that your price is determined by your Influence. Because in Empire Avenue, everything is about Influence. How's that, I have yet to find out.

Yes, there really is much to know about this "game", and I would be posting here from time to time. Do help me to get the word out for this blog by endorsing it so I can get it listed on my profile (you have to be an EA member first, though). And oh, buy me! My ticker is NOELG. It may just be the best investment you made.

Now, on to World Domination!

p.s. Empire Avenue needs me to put this verification code for this blog to verify that I own this. Now, move along, there's nothing to see here.