Virtual shares on the web

Share price from ... social media?

Virtual shares on the web
Empire Avenue - The Social Stock Market

Ever fancied buying and selling shares just for fun? Wanted a joyful way of earning and investing money, reaping dividends and even doling out dividends to others? And, yet you didn't want to spend a single penny? Then, this post is just for you!

Say hello to Empire Avenue!! One of the youngest social networking sites and gaining popularity by the day, Empire Avenue is a virtual share trading site. The currency on the site is called "Eaves" and each one of you has a unique ticker (pretty much like the Sensex or Nasdaq, isn't it?). Each guy on Empire Avenue can invest shares in others and also other people can buy shares in you. You get 10,000 shares in your kitty which people can buy to start with. It gets automatically upgraded when you exhaust them. You can of course disable that in the Settings.

Your public profile on Empire Avenue

You start with a share price of 10e (symbol for eaves is "e"). Just like the stock market, your share price increases if people buy you and decreases if people sell you. Simple? But wait! There is another important aspect to this. The most important factor in your share price isn't how many investors buy you and dump you. On Empire Avenue, you connect your various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, and even various RSS feeds. All the activity on these sites counts towards your share price in a big way. How they are calculated, no one knows. Also, the feed from these sites will be up on your profile.

Alright, so coming to the important part about privacy. By now, you must be wondering if all our Facebook feeds are displayed then what is the point in our Facebook privacy settings. This is a valid doubt, and you need not fear. Even though, Empire Avenue calculates based on all your activity (public and non-public), they respect your privacy settings and show only those feeds which are marked public. So, if your Foursquare check-ins are private, they will remain so and will be solely used for calculating share prices. They will not be on your profile. But, if you have friends from your social networking sites on Empire Avenue, they'll be able to see what's visible to them already. So, if they can see your Facebook update, they'll see it on Empire Avenue too. Fair enough?

Empire Avenue has its own share of critics too. Critics say it encourages you to become on more social networking sites (not just Facebook) and leads to an overall loss in productivity. Well, that is true on paper but in reality, it is different. Studies have shown that people continue to use those sites which they have been already using and Empire Avenue hasn't caused any significant behavioral changes.

Your advisors on Empire Avenue

Another nice feature is you have to choose which index you want to be a part of (again like a real stock market). There is social networking, blogging, media etc. In each index, there are ranks. You start off as an employee of an index. As your share price increases, you rise up the ranks and get promoted. For instance, I am the Vice-President of the Blogging Index which means I am in the top 20% of investors in that index.

There are also things on Empire Avenue which make the experience so amazing. The concept of dividends is what impresses me the most. Based on your share price and number of shareholders, you give out dividends to your shareholders daily. As your share price rises, so does your dividend. And it makes sense to invest in people with high dividends so that you earn more money. You also have a portfolio value or net worth which is the combined value of all the shares you have bought.

There are so many things on Empire Avenue that it is not possible to describe them completely in one post. And the thing is even I'm still learning! So, as I learn more features and write another post in the future, you sign up for Empire Avenue at Stay tuned for more articles on Empire Avenue.

In view of this post, let me know what you feel in the comments below.