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When Is It Time to Quit Empire Avenue

Stop Apathy

Stop Apathy

 

by Jason Ramsey

When is it time to quit Empire Avenue? Wait a minute, did you ever sign up and play Empire Avenue? Do you still use your account? If not, did you delete it or just let it ride? Sorry to open with so many questions, but I have some unresolved issues. The last time I wrote a post about Empire Avenue I was asking what it was worth. Now unfortunately I think I know the answer, not much.

I’ve been ‘playing’ the social stock market game for a couple of years now. It used to be my favorite thing to do online. Now, not so much. It used to be a place to meet new friends with shared interests, and help each other promote projects. Most players were involved in marketing, advertising, or niche business. Tons of great people, but not anymore. Some reputable players still exist there, but they are few and far between, and most who still have their accounts aren’t active. Why?

There a lots of reasons. The main one seems to be gaming of social influence. This thread is a little stale, but none the less interesting. It’s from Pam Moore’s facebook page and she tagged many of my friends in it, some of which were kind enough to weigh in and leave their comments. I think the thread speaks for itself, so I’m just going to embed it below:

Most of the comments above are valid, and I understand where most of these people are coming from. However, it isn’t what is driving me away. I miss the spirit of the game. Statistics, trends, and how they relate to my friends. I’ve also invested some money on the game as well. Originally there were virtual toys you could buy to increase your dividends. They’ve long since took those away. Then there were the upgrades on portfolio’s, like number of stocks you could own, and number of  shares  you could own in each stock. Secret achievements could be unlocked (I loved the Friday the 13th one). All of this also pre-dated missions.

Some people say missions were the beginning of the end, and maybe that’s true. I still had lots of fun after missions were released, but that was the last change they made that didn’t distance themselves from the stock market aspect of the game. One blogger, Rob Zaleski, even wrote a post called ‘How Empire Avenue Crushed My Soul‘. EA is a business, and they are trying to figure out how to make money. I understand that, but I don’t like the site now. I’m not going into all the changes because none of them have anything to do with the GAME. Let me just generalize what my personal opinion is about the site, it has become a Fiverr.com wannabe.

Missions for new currency that you must buy to use are prominent, and paid subscriptions are pushed at every turn. Hell, they even have an affiliate program now to try to get current players to sell them. Here is my affiliate link if you want to sign up, but I wouldn’t recommend it. I wouldn’t advise any of my friends to sign up at this point. The game is slowly being phased out, or so it seems. If you want to spend marketing dollars on the internet, Google Adwords is a much higher value than Empire Avenue.

I know this sounds salty and bitter, but that’s how I feel. I’m not closing my account. I have to much time, energy, and money invested. I canceled my subscription with Avenue.io, which I loved, but it’s costing me $9.00 a month for something the site doesn’t seem to value. More than anything, this post is a plea. Someone please go build a site that lets us ‘play the game’. I don’t have a business plan for you, but I do know LOTS of people who would be interested in doing something similar to what Empire Avenue ‘used’ to be.

 

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  1. Dave Humphrey says:

    Nothing new here. Quite? Quit?

  2. Ulf Hedlund says:

    Agree that the game part is gone. I did connect with some great people via EA (I also discovered a few to avoid on social media) but the fun is gone.

    If I were to spend real money on eyeballs for my content, EAv wouldn’t be my first choice.

  3. Michelle says:

    I’m sorry if it wasn’t your intention but this made me laugh out loud, thats exactly how I feel now, well I agreed with most of the post.

    “Let me just generalize what my personal opinion is about the site, it has become a Fiverr.com wannabe.”

    I’m not sure if this is the right way to get affiliate’s but you never know the honesty might just work. lol

    I shut down my account as being a top player, (well almost) and started again to see if I could revive some of that old feeling but – I think its gone, its just not the same place and its obvious they don’t want it to be.

    They are trying to sort out missions but its about 2 years to late

  4. J.T. Smith says:

    I personally still enjoy and love using EA.

    Here’s the thing about ethics. On EA, people are consenting to your usage of THEIR social media influence through the incentive of points you generate from YOUR social media influence.

    This would be like having a buddy in the real world. Anytime they release a product, you use word-of-mouth to get people interested. Anytime you release a product, you instruct him to tell all of his friends through word-of-mouth about your product.

    There is nothing unethical about this. It’s how society functions. People who refuse to use services like EA to gain network contacts that will reciprocate for social actions are just unwilling to take the extra step to “get to know” or gain “buddies” in the online world as much as in the real world.

    • admin says:

      This post was to show why some people have left. Ethics seems to lead the way. I was simply saying that that isn’t the case for me. It just isn’t fun any more 🙁

  5. Amy Vernon says:

    I quit EAv after missions started. I did find it fun before that – absolutely a game, and connected with some neat new folks because of it. But it’s nothing but a spam network anymore, IMHO.

  6. Ron Sidwell says:

    I know the day is coming when I’ll bail on the Avenue, but I still enjoy it, still having full, and I’m still discovering interesting content.

  7. Matt Massaro says:

    When you are competing with corporations that have millions to spend on advertising you better use every tool you can.

    If someone is really concerned about fixing ethical matters in the world then empire avenue isn’t the place to start fixing that problem.

  8. terry says:

    i find EA interesting and a great promotion tool.

  9. Don Dobbie says:

    Urm, nope….

    if you want to play games, there is always WOW for you. EA is not a game, it was never a game. EA is a tool used by people with existing internet influence and those who want to increase their internet influence. The fact is: a vast majority of people on social media have an agenda. All tools, including EA help people achieve their agendas and still have time for their wife and kids…

    If you’re quitting EA, you’re walking away from a community that is 100% willing to engage with your agenda driven social media. Essentially the ‘glue’ of the internet.

    ~ My 2 cents ~

  10. Ron Callari says:

    Jason, thanks for this post – you highlight some valid points – and while I agree with most, I do think the site has finally found an intriguing solution to weeding out mission thieves [which was a bone of contention for many for a long time] and rewarding players who add value [vis a vis mission feedback]. The founders were criticized harshly for not attending to this earlier -and rightfully so. But since they appear to have listened to user feedback – I think they became aware of the frustration that caused many to exit – and invested the time to overcome this shortcoming.

    I think my take-away at this juncture is not to chuck it all, but to wait it out – as I’ve met and continue to engage with players who have done me well from day one and continue to do so. At the end of the day, I think what we all have to remember is that EA is simply a game – and while it has the capability of reinforcing our social media engagement quotient, it’s overall focus should be one of enjoyment with benefits. When that’s no longer the case, that will be the time I’ll relinquish my ticker!

  11. michelledh says:

    Or you could just save time – cut to the chase – and pay a fiver and get the same 100% engagement.

  12. Tinu says:

    I have someone else running my account on Empire Avenue- I bartered it in exchange for collection of EA-related research and some unrelated services. I don’t do social for my clients or customers, I teach THEM how to be authentic.

    I never used EA myself cuz I don’t quite get it. And being black, the whole idea of buying and selling people didn’t mesh for me, though far be it from me to judge a virtual game as long as no one is getting hurt.

    But I don’t have the same problem with the whole idea of “social media gaming” because I have yet to meet someone who hasn’t participated on some scale. All of marketing is gaming influence of some kind. It’s just a matter of degrees.

    Most people have asked a friend or two to comment or share a piece of content, which is more my style, though I don’t do it on behalf of clients.

    Instead I make my content as appealing as I can, then ask people who I have built relationships with in that topic, who might enjoy my work to share. I use Triberr, but not as intended. I don’t share anything I haven’t read that isn’t highly targeted to my groups. Can’t control what other people do, but that’s what I do.

    I join groups and form partnerships with a few dozen people who have parallel audiences in an informal fashion, where we send each other content, and trust each other only to share when it makes sense. Anyone who has done any of those things even once is gaming the system.

    And while there is a huge, thick line between using EA missions to get people to share things and fully organic growth, there IS a middle ground. I know the person I let use my account routinely does missions to ask people to look at content, test broken links on a website, share things etc. But I also know he is both transparent and accountable – he doesn’t get paid unless he can achieve results that go far beyond x number of shares.

    To measure that middle ground, in the end, it’s about the results — did the content reach the audience and did they respond?

    10,000 retweets of crappy content still equals no sales. 200 retweets that generated the targeted amount of subscribers or buyers? That money is still green.

    I have friends who use and abuse the system. I give them my input and move on.

    And I’m sure there are tons of people who will look at my Empire Avenue account – which again, I do not use – will judge me. That’s fine. Until they show up with money to pay my bills, I can’t be worried about what everyone else is thinking. Until my friend does something unethical with it, I’m fine with leaving it up.

    I originally had the same judgement you and Pam came to, and there’s a particular person who is a spammer, scuzzy loser who is selling packs of hundredds of useless retweets and likes etc, rather than including a few dozen extra likes to help spark momentum. That guy deserves whatever bad karma brings.

    But there are people who are between the purist level and share-spam that I think deserve a fair shake.

  13. I’m in for almost 1.5 years and still like it and find myself sometimes wondering and asking myself the same question.
    At this stage I’m in it. We’ll see how it evolves…

  14. Logan Badger says:

    Great info, and a good read… I haven’t really put my top effort into EA, but it seems fun and interesting!

    I pretty much understand some of the frustration as it takes time out of your day to commit. I have connected with a lot of great people on here that is for sure!

  15. Jaye says:

    I love EA! I’ve met several new friends, supporters of my art and even a few clients from there. Just recentlly, my husband got fired so started his own graphic design company. His ex boss was filled with anger over our success and tried to get peopel to give us low ratings, but supporters from EA helped us by giving us the ratings we needed–yeah for eaves but it’s give and take. I love it.

  16. Michael Dryga says:

    I only just started playing the day after Christmas so that is only about 7 weeks, I still find it fun but don’t really know where it can lead.

  17. Jason,
    Really great post. It is sad I liked a lot of things they did at the beginning as well. Perhaps they are trying to create a ton of revenue to get bought? I loved missions in the beginning but tying the V’s to real physical incentives like gift cards?? is just wrong – that’s not why any of us joined EA. I’m going to continue ‘playing’ because I like it but it’s not what it was.

  18. Delton Doucet says:

    I’m still using EA…I do find it useful…I do not worry about the V’s…I will still be using EA as I find it a great way to get content noticed in a quick way…

  19. Brandon says:

    Im new to the site so wont be leaving anytime soon but nice post and thanks for the heads up.

  20. It is easy, but it also takes some time and energy to truly learn the business and the industry.
    If you join an affiliate program, when you send a customer to the business,
    the business pays you some of what the customer spends.
    The best part is, you don’t really have to “watch” the videos.

  21. I play EA as a game; always have. Yes, I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of those people on other social media platforms and that’s been pretty cool, but they did make changes that makes it more difficult to see all of those things as easily as before. That and totally discounting regular blogs for wordpress.com blogs; what the hey?

    Still, as a game it gives me something to compete with, as it’s one of the few games I really get to play, and as changes occur I get to change strategy. I’ve never been an automated player which means I spend at least 30 minutes every day on the game, and today’s spendapalooza probably took up a couple of hours of my time.

    It’s a nice diversion and I’ve had fun with it for about 2 1/2 years now, but if it gets tiring or feels like an obligation I’ll have no qualms about leaving. Not yet though.

  22. Osama says:

    The point of a game is supposed to be enjoying yourself and feeling happy, right?

    If you are enjoying yourself and feeling happy playing Angry Birds or poker or Empire Avenue, then you are “winning,” because you have understood the point of playing the game in the first place.

    If a game is not helping you enjoy yourself or feel happy, what is the point of playing? It is nice to get a social media boost, but if that does not make you happy either, what is the point? Just social credibility? Is the social credibility making you happy?

    So, my answer to “When Is It Time to Quit Empire Avenue” is “when playing Empire Avenue is no enjoyable for you or making you happy.” That is also my answer to “When Is It Time to Quit My Job” and many other questions.

    Do what you enjoy. Do what you do not enjoy only if it is necessary to doing what you enjoy. Playing a game is usually not necessary.

  23. Thomas Yong says:

    Hey there Jason, if the passion is gone, and its starts to feel like a grind, then decide either one of these choices:

    1. Find back that passion again.
    2. Take a step back, and come back again when you are ready to move ahead.
    3. Go for a clean-cut quit.

  24. Mike Bazaluk says:

    The Avenue certainly isn’t the place it was when I joined a few years ago, as most people have commented already the “fun” has gone.

    Appreciate that “players” will want to push themselves media wise, and its a useful platform for that without a doubt. But no one interacts unless its for the precious eaves, by way of missions that can bankrupt you with extra charges unless you have a premium account.

    The helping people along has now even been eaves/vees driven, it used to be a pleasure to help new players and old for “pretend” money, now the platform is actually cash driven the fun has dulled.

    I note that EA cant be free for ever, after all everyone has to make a bob or two, but the sudden slam dunk for rules and ratings appears to be the catalyst for the abandonment of the “game”.

    Some of the top players have become no more than greedy CEO’s defending all of the changes for their benefit and now even they are feeling the changes as the fuel of the Avenue (new players) are blinded by in or out of the social market, and drop out after being confronted by the wall of regulation.

    I still love the Avenue, met some great people on here and its a nice relaxing way to obtain information, no intention of jumping ship, but I do stroll down the avenue a little less sadly.

  25. I play EA as a game; always have, but the fun is gone

  26. Well i dont argree with you mate, while it is true that some people have lost their interest in the website, but i feel a larger audience has gained interest in it after the missions began ,

    I feel a game where a newbie couldnt do anything even after spending any amount of time on the website was ridiculous, only people with social influence and ESTABLISHED STATS could gain from that game thus making Rich more Rich and Poor more Poor,

    Now on the other hand active users who actually dedicate their time and do missions can come up in the game even if they dont have a social influence, they can actually use their time on EA to get socially more sound.

    Now when there is disinvestment of power from a fewer hands to more hands some are bound to not like it. I feel that is the case here.

    EA is way to good than it used to be

  27. Daniel says:

    While I can’t say that Empire isn’t worth it, I can say there are some things that bother me about it; such as people posting missions to share pure spam, people writing self promotional blog posts where they go on and on about how wonderful they are and if you would kindly share their worthless post.

    As far as the business side of things goes, we all have bills to pay at the end of the day, and those who run Empire Avenue have bills to pay just like you and I. As far as Empire Avenue’s ability to propel business interests on the web, most appear to see no benefit simply because their focus is either on themselves or making the next buck. I definitely do benefit from it. The network can get your content and message out in front of a larger audience, but it will be up to that audience to deicide the worth of that content. Most who come to the network with business in mind will fail, they just dont get the concept, its supposed to be “Social!”

  28. Dazza30 says:

    To be honest I can’t see me stopping using it, I enoy the banter I have with other users. And as long as it stays relevant to my work life and the owners actually listen to what users want instead of cow towing to big internet companies, who don’t like the traffic quality sent from EA i.e. high bounce rates, page views etc.

    Then all will be OK!

  29. Steven Krohn says:

    You made your argument in a very articulate and fluent fashion. Excellent piece of writing. I understand all of your points about EA and what gone on with it. I still feel there is value there when I use to build relationships and networks and not completely focus on the “game” of it. Maybe I’ll end up changing my mind with all of the recent changes, but for now, I’m still in. Get back to me in a month,.

  30. Vince Perriello says:

    It’s time to quit when you have other, more important things to do with your life.

    EA can be a heck of a time sink. If you’re not getting a commensurate reward for that time, then you may need to make that value judgment.

    I have met some great people in EA.

    They do have to solve some of the ethics problems — and doing it in a way that doesn’t destroy the experience is their big quandary.

    I would like to see them succeed.

  31. I have allways considered Empire Avenue as a tool that I am striving to handle and my hopes go to the Admins for further development! Certainly, there will always be people which will consider that their time spent here is not justified, but I hope their number will not grow as we all the others will find their goals geopardized.

  32. Harald says:

    I think that the latest updates will increase the quality of the missions again.
    Yours is a perfect example. 😉
    But I agree with you that the gaming factor is almost gone and I miss it, too. The idea to buy e.g. real estate to get more eaves was a great feature and could have been expanded as well.

  33. Dennis Coble says:

    Jason, in my opinion, you need new goals. Everyday, I’m on EA, as if it were the center of my social media. I don’t have any business that requires my time, and my entire online presence is entirely for personal pleasure. I have been, on multiple occasions, upset with the EA platform, as well as taken every wrong turn that could be done, it seems. Yes, it can be boring, and very time consuming. I used cash to purchase the last 4 pies, and eaves prior to that. My latest goal is to max my portfolio, 2000 shares in each of 5000 different people.
    Just find the goal that will give you the needed drive to keep going, or walk away. Your choice

  34. Hi, Jason,

    I’ve pondered this question many times and continue to ask myself almost daily about the enjoyment versus frustration I experience with the game.

    The advent of missions was a very exciting and fun thing in the beginning. I believe it cemented a lot of relationships among early adopters. We discovered each other’s blogs and various social streams, and engaged in truly meaningful ways. When I look back at blog comments from those days, it warms my heart.

    At the time, I felt EA was a club where members mutually supported one another. It gave us the chance to get to know important people in social media — where it was easy to engage one-on-one, avoiding the noise of Twitter. And the stock market aspect was the fun part. Trying to identify good investments and strategize ways to help us succeed was challenging.

    I’m not sure when it changed for others, but for me it started with high volumes of “eave thieves.” The second part was the introduction of “vees,” which seemed confusing and has been slow in demonstrating true value to players. The third was the changing of missions, which rendered them basically useless. The last straw was hearing of a critical blog post asserting EA was “black hat.” I do wonder if the writer ever stopped to consider paying for sponsored tweets or promoting content on FB to be in the same category?

    That being said, there are still a number of players (myself included) who maintain a high standard of ethical behavior. It is the players who “play by the letter and spirit of the rules” who still make Empire Avenue a great place.

    If I ever choose to leave the game, I think I would let my account go dormant and not close it completely. Whether or not I’m active on the site, my social activity won’t change. Perhaps my social activity might actually improve, because I would have an extra 45-60 minutes a day that I’d no longer be devoting to EA.

    I’m glad EA gave me the opportunity to meet you, Liz Strauss, and many others. I’m keeping a watchful eye.

  35. I like it… I don’t spend as much time as before however I still find it entertaining and I enjoy the interaction with many of the other players. Ric

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