Changes: Selling Shares

It’s no secret that we’ve been considering many changes over the last few weeks when it comes to the market mechanics. We made some changes already with regards to buying inactive accounts and we will now make some changes to selling shares.

Effective immediately, you will only be able to sell a maximum of 100 shares of any individual every 12 hours. That equates to a maximum of 200 shares in any given day. We will examine this rule and these numbers and adjust as required.

I would like to explain our reasoning:

* Empire Avenue is about buying shares in great content producers. We want to encourage you to consider the value of the content you are buying. If it is too easy to sell great quantities then we devalue the ability for you to consider what that content is actually doing.

* There are many different motivational biases for those using Empire Avenue. First and foremost, Empire Avenue is a social site and selling large amounts of shares can result in “revenge sells” and other tactics which are not within the spirit of Empire Avenue.

* Those that need to sell to upgrade can still do so, albeit a bit more slowly. More importantly it should give you cause to think why you buy shares in any Influencer because unloading such shares will be slower.

* Coordinated group selling is not something we tolerate. While the changes we are implementing will lessen the impact we will also take action (which may include suspension or banning) against those that participate in such coordinated activity.

We realize that this is quite a change. We don’t want to catch problems after the fact or put in hard “stops” where share trading ceases on fast moving stocks. We would rather put in rules that control the markets within the spirit of what Empire Avenue intends.

We want you to value the content and the content creators, to value their influence amongst their networks and with you. To do this, we believe being selective, spreading your hard-earned Eaves and certainly making good judgement calls is paramount. A great cartoonist once coined the most brilliant phrase for a red and blue suited superhero, which I will now blatantly adapt:

“With great virtual wealth comes great virtual responsibility.”


  1. I agree with your decision and with Fray’s comments too… But markets are markets inside rules… Too many rules can break the markets? ( keeping in mind that markets do need a framework….)

    Insider trading and unethical mobbing to manipulate prices and profit taking should certainly be checked.

    My comments are based in support of your decisions but please regulate with restraint… Markets and your platform can benefit from openness and real market rules… Which can sometimes be unfair.


  2. I don’t know how widespread group selling is. It’s just important to remember that a lot of selling is also people following the pack when they see a stock in negative territory. So, this will help with volatility, but take a second to decide if a selling run is just a knee jerk blip or for good reason before hitting the sell button. Most of the time, I bet it’s the former. Cheers, Bill.

  3. Sorry… Some of that text didn’t appear as intend… (blame ipad and not proof reading.)
    Particularly “but markets are markets inside the framework of loose rules. Too many rules can break market efficiency and nature.”.

    One new comment… Did you decide on not using 30% percentage of holding instead of the fixed share number for a particular reason?

  4. One 400 share sell from me is enough to start that landslide and trigger a huge sell off. I might just be trying to get cash for an upgrade or to go buy someone else. As more and more people buy the big upgrades it will just get worse.
    For them to try and stop the landlides for no reason, it should cut down on the group sell paranoia too. Not everything is a group sell, a lot is freaking out.
    Like my sort by biggest loser today in my portfolio. I tweeted I couldn’t make it work. then i see tweets about how people use that to sell. I use that to buy. It is a lot of that kind of thinking that gets these drops going. and then the circle starts.

    yes there was group buying and slimey stuff going on, but now a lot of normal activity is freaking people out and if this helps stop it. good.

  5. I think that people should grow a thick skin and not worry so much about their share prices minute to minute! If someone triggers a sell-off, then so be it. You’ll be back up in no time. I’ve seen some “power-users” rise and fall, especially when upgrading. It’s not a big deal, it’s just the volatility of the market and how some people perceive graphs and leader lists. Just leave it alone and everyone will figure it out, in time.

  6. I am very glad to read this as it reinforces a commitment with the influencers you buy. I’d like to be able to browse portfolios people and find what they think is really valuable to them and not just the result of hastily profiteering.

    Does it cut down some on the game aspect? Yes
    Does it make Empire Avenue more meaningful? Yes. It’s a good thing.

  7. Great rule. Love that it does more than address group sales, but also the more natural mass sell-offs that occur.

    My favorite part is that (i think) a lot of people will reconsider how they buy, i think we’ll see a lot more diversification in-order to keep their wealth as liquid as possible.

    That means more engagement, more connections, more spreading of the eavs. Everyone wins, especially those of lower wealth.

    some decently smart cookies over there… 😉

  8. I agree with josh that this is an interesting move to stir up the game but I dont really see how this is going to make any difference for group buying. I would have just made an announcement that coordinated group trading will not be tolerated and people found to be doing it will be banned from EAV. Assign a few moderators and poof problem solved.

  9. Far be it from Fray and I to see eye to eye… 😉 but I’m on board.

    Much of the activity currently labelled ‘exploitation’ and ‘mass selling’ is due to the fact that the leaderboard is populated with folks who can and do liquidate stocks that don’t perform to expectations. A 400 share buy or sell is a 4% stake in a 10k stock. This shouldn’t make or break a stock. If it does, does the percentage of outstanding shares factor?

    Paranoia is common in any marketplace. Sad that users who have been sold off automatically become ‘targets’ or ‘exploited’ or ‘ganged up on’ when in reality 3 or 4 upgraded users could have simply decided that they didn’t like the content or dividends. One step further, there are ‘black arts’ afoot and players start getting blamed.

    Perhaps the real logic needs to come from a maximum ownership of any given stock.

    I do think that the math for this change might need a massage, but as we’re still in open beta, these things need to be tested. A percentage share-sale cap might make more sense. I say this because this mechanism punishes those who have built wealth and share price, and limits their ability to generate revenue (eaves) when needed for upgrades.

    For example: I’m invested to 400 in a stock, get no divs, and don’t find value. I need eaves for an upgrade, and choose to sell these from my portfolio, I now must sell my shares over 2 days (requiring 4 logins) to do so. All the while, my profit (if any) is shrinking.

    A user at the lower 250 level can liquidate 80% of a holding in 13 hours, mitigating the stock-drop losses.

    Therefore: The upgrade bought me what?

    Again – I’m fine to play the game, but I think the value to larger share purchases comes from the ability to more quickly profit. In this case, we’re penalized.

  10. 😛

    A 400 share investment now becomes what it should be, standing behind a stock you believe in. Not just a make money thing, I think once it settles down and people wrap their heads around it, it won’t be a big issue.

    I really only bought mine because I had the cash and wanted the people I had to keep buying and selling to make a few eaves off the next buy. When I had to upgrade there weren’t so many people on the site, and I had to keep buying the same people over and over again.

  11. Yeah, I really like the new changes because the exploits however real, organised or panic-attacks related were getting really bad and slowly starting to ruin the whole eav experience!
    Also it is not bad to consider a buy a bit more before putting all you eaves in it and maxing out. Thats how the real market is (ppl dont just buy max amount in all newcomers they see…)

    So I totally agree with Dups, Fray and Josh!

  12. Pingback: Empire Avenue Limits Selling Shares | Empire Building Network

  13. Hi guys,

    that’s right some people just played the game to speculate, make big rides on other investors, build high value accounts, and destroy them the day after to make “big money”… That was fun if you were not the target ^^

    Some others were so pure they wanted a 100% to respect the fact that you were trying to build a sort of listing of the worldwide biggest social influencers….

    The fact is that a product like EA becomes what user make with.

    I mean, Twitter was not build to become a source of real-time-worldwide-serious-information. Users made twitter become a revolution, by using it another way that it initially was built for.

    You really should keep that in mind before to stop any possibility for EA users to find the limits, help you to build the rules, and push EA at the top of the new trends of success.

    Perhaps should youy create a specific “room” for this ones who play like in a crazy financial market, create a new “thing” with your basic idea.

    You know that it can drive you to another way to put value in your initial way to consider “your” EA.

    You know that, perhaps, this playroom for unofficial and respectless traders will get more success that the “social-serious” one.

  14. I’m glad to see action taken and I agree with many of the points made. I think Greg and Agustin are on the right track using percentages rather than a one fits all number solution.

    Another point that should be taken into consideration, that is connected to the reasons to hold stocks are the dividends paid out. Right now, stocks that have over 10,000 base, dilute once people upgrade. That makes these “higher” valued stocks much less valuable. I know it has been hinted at before, but the pay outs should be tweeked so that people who have worked hard to get a higher share price can have that reflected in their payout.

    A player with 10,000 shares currently has a max payout of .92075e per share while a player with 30,000 shares can pay .30091e. When the 75,000 level is hit, that dwindles to .12e I’d love to keep those high prices shares, but I can but a few thousand lower prices shares for the same as 400, and make a ton more in dividends over night.

  15. Just wondering aloud here, what does this mean in particular for people who operate more than one account on EA?

    For my part, i have a personal account and a business account on EA, which operate very differently from one another. I make a point of not maxing out in one person’s shares from both accounts for what i consider to be ethical reasons, and likewise, i never go sell from both accounts to avoid a loss to one if the other sells…

    that said, i imagine some do both of these things and i wonder how that rests with you guys (EA) and if there are considerations being paid to this activity as well.

    just putting it out there, not expecting a rule to be set on the fly 🙂

  16. Greg said:”when in reality 3 or 4 upgraded users could have simply decided that they didn’t like the content or dividends.”

    Nonsense! I only started EA 4 weeks ago and even I know that it only takes 1 share (or not even that) to find out about the content or dividends. Would you buy a $400 jeans without knowing if it fits…?
    And on upgrading, there are some pretty good posts on that here and here

    I was thinking about deleting EA the past week as I really didn’t see what ‘online influence’ had to do with the concept anymore.
    Glad I didn’t now!

  17. I haven’t had time to read the many wonderful and illuminating comments, of which I’m sure there are many. Too many rules, a market does not make.

    I’m also sure this info was leaked earlier today as most of my larger shareholders jumped. People looking for quick gains are not people I’m interested in holding my shares.

    People seem to applaud this rule as something that will fix coordinated selling. While the rule may have an affect in that realm, it will do nothing for a run-of-the-mill bank run.

    Percentage caps and trade suspension deal with those problems in a better way. I’m positive we will continue to see the “+20-one-day, -15 the-next” pattern. Mob mentality will remain.

  18. So…if someone does something really stupid and makes us angry and we had 400 shares in them before, we have to wait 2 days to be able to sell all of them? I mean, I’m all against group selling, but if there’s a serious reason you want to sell someones shares I don’t think that should be stopped or slowed down.

  19. Unless you’re INTO stocks and read the Wall Street Journal — NO ONE understands what the hell they’re doing on here. No one “gets” it. I am by no means a financial follower of ANy stock trading in real life — yet I play this game on Empire because that is what it is — a GAME. I have not made ONE DIME from being on Empire in the month or so I have advertized on it. Until I get a sale and the buyer mentions that they found me on Empire, I will continue to enjoy Empire as a FUN social networking game. A thorough explanation of what certain terms mean would be more than helpful. Not many people are familiar with what dividends, commissions, etc. mean and too many people are willing to drop your stock if they notice you’re away for a day or so. My boyfriend is having scheduled surgery tomorrow. Both myself and him will be away from Empire for several days and we have stock in eachother and several stocks in mutual persons. Just being away for a day will affect BOTH of our stocks dramatically enough that those mutual investors in BOTH of us are likely to cause a cascade of our stock value dropping. I put a notification/shout out on my Empire concerning my absence for the next few days and hardly ANYone has purchased from me. I thought this would be a preventative action and a COURTESY to those that ARE invested and/or MAY invest in me — but it’s caused just as much harm as if I’d been away for DAYS. Empire needs to have an option where we can FREEZE our account at the current price if we need to take a leave of absence due to a situation, vacation, etc — rather than us getting PUNISHED for being away. It’s b.s. Now I am going to come back and have to build back up from probably $10 – $15 just for being absent for a few days and having a buttload of people sell me off in a panic state. Limiting selling DOES NOT help this situation when 30 – 40 people are dropping you like a hot potato because they see you’ve gone in the red. OFFER an “AWAY FEATURE”!

  20. Love the new changes, but please, consider what Darren (4 comments above) has brought to the table. I’m no longer investing in people with over 20000 total shares because even if they hit max earnings they divs are poor compared to someone a lot cheaper and that has 10000 total shares.

  21. I don’t find EA very useful to be honest, it takes a lot of time, and very few people actually look at your content in return. I support a couple of charities and was hoping to have them set up on EA, but I am no longer interested in doing that.

    Our volunteers can find much better things to help the world than being glued in front of the computer fighting their way to a leader’s board that gives nothing “real” in return.

    First, the entire game mechanics used by EA generate a specific set of behaviors in people; it becomes a selfish agenda very quickly. I thought that if I worked hard on building relationships and get to the top using my personality, there would be an opportunity for me to start pushing the charity agenda. I even ran a few test and unless people get eaves back, they are not interested (with few exceptions)

    The fact is, whatever strategy is employed (dividends vs. share climbs) it remains about a stock making you a profit and very few people actually care about how that profit is made (good or bad content).

    Having been in the middle of a feud myself, there are no saints on either side of this, I’ve seen things go as far as people harassing other people, playing “yoyo” with stocks, post derogatory shouts on EA, Twitter and wherever they can, thumb down everything; you name it and everyone caught in the middle.

    Everyone has a personal agenda that has nothing to do with content today, and that’s not the people’s fault, the game just doesn’t reward people based on good content, it rewards large quantity of activities that drives to a profit.

    I think it’s an illusion to envision this platform, in its current state, being able to achieve anything beyond what it has today, a profit game. And it will be like this for as long as its promoting leader’s boards about eaves winners and looser of the day, top share price, top wealth, top earnings, etc. If content is the goal, than the game should be about that, badges and leader’s boards should be populated with content winners.

    Who’s got the best Flickr content, the best blog content, the best Facebook content … no one knows today … that’s not the mechanics of the game.

    The recent rules are going to change absolutely nothing; people will still find ways around it because the goal is not content; the goal is eaves value in your portfolio and bank account.

  22. Denise — the goal WAS Eaves value because the site features, frankly, aren’t finished or fully implemented. We’ve only recently started to work toward better highlighting of good content — this is stuff we’re doing behind-the-scenes and will reveal when it’s ready.

    Empire Avenue is (going to be) first and foremost about discovering new people to follow, measuring the value of your influence online and being rewarded for it.

    It’s really important to remember the “beta” part of the site. No, we’re not saying, “it’s in beta, so we can change anything we want.” We are, however, still developing the site. It was never our vision to simply provide a game where the supreme goal was to build up stocks and sell them off. It’s to invest in people who you value — whether because of their content or because of your personal/online relationships with them.

    Please bear with us as we really start implementing these things. If people will “find a way around it” then that’s another thing we need to address. We’re constantly adjusting market makers and site features until we get to the point where we’re happy that our vision for the site is being fulfilled.

  23. Hex – we have discussed ideas of allowing people to freeze accounts or somehow otherwise “go on vacation.” We’re still discussing them, and while they may not be implemented immediately, there’s a good chance that something to that effect will eventually go in.

  24. I’m REALLY sad to see Denise leave EA. I am fully invested in her and love her content (and her div’s). The fact that she has lost interest in EA because a small handful of players have diluted it’s value for her with their own personal agenda (harassment, continually blogging and posting about players with false accusations, thumbs downing and blocking) makes me just sick. I’d rather have players like Denise in the field to invest in and connect with, but they are being chased away by these “holier than thou” players who consistently seek to generate paranoia and fear in order to build their own following and empires (I will probably now incur their further wrath for saying that, but, who cares).

    But seriously – imho – EA is about real people like Denise. If it isn’t attractive to them, then I’m not even sure where the value lies. This has to be a warning flag for EA staffers.

    And personally, I think that people involved in so called “cartel” activities are not who you would think they might be… and I think the playing environment has been made far worse by those who would try to manipulate players into fear/panic instead of actually helping them or providing good advice. It is tiring to be subjected to this behavior every day on EA and twitter – EA should be about building community. But that’s just my two cents worth.

    I have voiced some concern about more buying and selling rules because it does limit play or even my willingness to take a risk on people, but I am ok with at least letting it play out for a bit to see how it works out. I trust the staff of EA are thinking far ahead of my initial reaction and will work to mitigate my unhappiness with improved game play mechanisms. I’m currently still enjoying EA too much to pack it in over that.

    I DO VOTE FOR a holiday mode, please. It recently took me about 7 days to recover from my vacation in Ottawa (2 point drop over 7 days) AND I used social media while I was there (albeit to a lesser extent). That was frustrating – I do require the ability to take a vacation.


  25. I think you guys are going overboard with the rules and limits on EA. If EA is about more than the share price, then why would anyone really care about the big drops? Aren’t you guys contradicting yourselves with these buy and sell limits.

    EA maybe more than just a game, but the way things are going with all these new rules and limits and restrictions, you guys are really killing the game aspect of this. If that is the case, get rid of the share price all together and just get people to put up content if thats what you guys are really concerned about.

    The way things are going, pretty soon, you will not allow buying or selling ANY of the shares, just gaze at the EA site and see if a squirrel comes by..

    Don’t take this the wrong way, just my thoughts.

  26. Thank for your note Tom, I am happy to provide you guys with ideas and feedback offline to improve things, you know how to contact me via EA. As for the game, for now, I need to step away before it starts hurting my sites and reputation.

    This morning, someone even sent me a virus on twitter specifically related to EA. This is not the kind of drama I want in my life or via a social media platform. I am a professional that has worked hard in establishing strong and positive relationships, EA has not helped me at all with that aspect.

    I will remain inactive on the site except for communications that are relevant.

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  28. Well now you’ve crossed the line big time with me by sending me an email today, accusing me of cartel buy/sell. How dare you!

    I am a senior professional and have not once done a coordinated buy/sell, several users followed every move I made because they saw me as a smart investor. Not only are you incapable of getting your rules straight, you can’t even identify who’s cartel and who’s not.

    This is the most unprofessional email I have ever received from a company in my life. It’s not because you failed ti build your platform game mechanics properly that you can deflect your own failures to your users.

    I retract any help I had offered earlier, you don’t deserve one minute of my time. And you can be assured that you will not get good recommendations from me.

  29. I like and support these changes.

    To be blunt, several of the people crying foul are people who have been undeniably guilty of this practice. I am glad to see EA taking this seriously and making changes accordingly.

    People who like to participate in this shady practice are trying to flip this around to become the victims? Transparent as hell and the people who have had this game ruined for them aren’t going to be likely to sympathize.

    My growth in the game was completely halted a few weeks ago due to people doing this for idiotic reasons. I have yet to recover. That is so bloody frustrating and knowing you can’t do anything about it sucks. I damn near quit. I was actually going to delete.

    How does that make a brand new user feel when the same happens to them? Are they likely to be loyal to the site too? Not likely.

    So like I said before. Thanks to the Empire Avenue staff for listening.

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  32. Hi, I found your website @ yahoo and i have read a few of your other posts. I like what u wright! I just added you to my Google News Reader ;). Keep up the good work . Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

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