Ch Ch Ch Changes…

Early Empire Avenue Dashboard - archives

Back in the good old days of 300baud modems

Over the last year, a perception has developed that there are some techniques which make it possible to unfairly ‘game the system’.

And over the last year, we’ve been listening to your comments and suggestions (thank you!) for ways to improve the game, the user experience, and to make the system more fair for all. We’ve been implementing and enhancing our system based, in part, on that feedback.

These enhancements better position Empire Avenue for growth, and for a host of new features we’re working to release over the next three to six months (some as soon as next week!)

On dividends and earnings
Recently many of you noticed one of the effects of some of these system enhancements; increased (or decreased) dividends and earnings. These enhancements, basically, treat old and new members alike and levels portions of the playing field. You can expect more of this type of enhancement down the road as we strive to make Empire Avenue fairer over time.

Behind the curtain
At a high level, lets look at how Empire Avenue has previously been evaluating content and activity, and how they are being evaluated now.

 Old Method

  • rewarded low quality, high volume network and connection activity
  • did not adequately reward high quality activity and reaction to that activity

Basically, the old system was based on very simple formulas, along the lines of (for Twitter) “tweet this many times, earn this much”, followed by an adjustment based on a users’ network scores. There was no difference if one of those tweets was retweeted 100 times, or not at all. Also, it was cumulative over all networks. So high dividends would frequently come from accounts posting large volumes of content to every network they have. Finally, as we added more and more connections, the old system was becoming more unwieldy.

New Method

  • Earnings will now better reflect your Network Score, activity and reaction to that activity.

What does what – how earnings and dividends are calculated
So, specifically, here’re some of the ways that content creation and activity will impact your gameplay, no matter what your ‘Empire Avenue Player Style’ is:

Your earnings and dividend payout for each network depends on three factors:

  1. Your daily activity on that network (tweets, posts, photos, videos…)
  2. Your audience’s reaction to that activity (in the form of likes, comments, retweets, shares, favorites…)
  3. Your Network Score on that network (Network Scores are based on a several-week-lookback measurement of your activity and audience on that network.)

To maximize your earnings and dividend payouts, you should:

  • Empire Avenue: Login and do some transactions (even if you just buy or sell one or two users) regularly. Send shareholder mail and be active in your communities, and get others to respond to your posts.
  • Facebook, Facebook Pages: Post statuses. The more comments and likes you get on those statuses, the better.
  • Twitter: Post tweets. The more people retweet you, the bettter.
  • Flickr: Post photos. You don’t need to post 200 photos every day, just get people to interact with the ones you do post through their comments and favorites.
  • YouTube: Post Videos. Again, no need to post 20 videos a day, just get people to interact with the ones you do post through their comments and favorites.
  • Foursquare: Check in to locations. Busy, verified locations (like those with specials) are worth much more than frivolous ones like “my basement”. Write tips, and get others to complete them!
  • Instagram: Post photos. The more comments and likes you get on those statuses, the better.
  • WordPress: Post blog posts, and get others to comment on them.
  • LinkedIn and Blogs: Due to limited available information about these connections, we pay a lower, fixed amount for Blogs and LinkedIn. They only contribute to your earnings if this amount is among your top five earnings.
  • All Networks: Your earnings and dividends will increase as you increase your Network Score. Your Network Scores are based on the above factors, but over several weeks rather than just over the last day or two. They also depend on your audience size, so increase the number of your followers, friends, or whatever, and your payouts will gradually increase.
And remember, your potential earnings payout is calculated for each one of your networks, but only the top five payouts are taken and combined to give your actual earnings amount.

Feedback loop?
As I mentioned at the start of this post, user feedback has been the driving reason for many of the changes we’ve implemented over the last year, just as it will be for many of the upcoming changes you’ll see ‘on the Avenue’ in the coming months.

So please, if you think you have a way to improve *your* Empire Avenue experience, let us know, or leave a comment here.


Kudos: This post references material kindly provided by Dr. Michael Mannion (e)MIKEM and Brent Knowles (e)WRITER.

81 Comments

  1. @Brad – Thanks again for taking the time to actually LISTEN. I wanted to try to state my point about the new scoring system, but hopefully approach it from a different angle.

    People have been talking for a while about the need to reward quality over quantity. However, what exactly IS “quality”? According to the new scoring system, quality is all about interaction & specifically about how people react to a player’s actions. There is no doubt in my mind that this should be rewarded as quality. [However, it can still be gamed…just look at the replies being traded with no conversation or the rt for rt trades.]

    It seems like where this has become an issue is that there are different types of people on the internet with different styles. I tend to like conversation, so when I get back into Twitter, etc. I think my Divs will do well. However, the system seems to PUNISH content creators, curators & broadcasters. I mentioned Anise Smith in my previous post. Because of her online business, her presence on the internet has to be the way it is. Her customers are not looking for conversation from her. They are looking for her to provide content, her opinions, sharing news, advice for marketing, etc. Anise was actually just featured on scoop.it’s “Lord of Curation” series: http://blog.scoop.it/en/2011/10/05/lord-of-curation-series-anise-smith/

    You can see that she was not just spamming the networks with nonsense but that she was actually enhancing the Social Media experience for many folks. However, the new system of scoring actually punishes her & in essence says that Anise is not providing quality. She obviously didn’t take it well & unfortunately left.

    There are plenty of examples of people creating content in the form of sharing news or uploading video tutorials or any number of examples where people are placing quality content on the internet, but because it’s not getting a thumb’s up or a retweet or a like, it’s dismissed. The internet is filled with lurkers…people who scan for information & then go back to what they were doing without retweeting or commenting or giving a thumbs up. People like Anise provide an essential service in this case.

    A couple other points not necessarily related to the recent changes:

    – Keeping up with EAv notifications & interactions is a chore that takes a long time. One thing that could really help save time in responding to notifications is if each notification provided a link to the specific action. Here’s an example, and the content in the brackets is the hyperlink. If someone gets a notification of a purchase, it says, “[Random Empire Avenue Player] purchased 200 shares. Click the link & it just takes you to the profile. What would be better is, “Random Empire Avenue Player [purchased] 200 shares & the link takes you directly to the transaction. Same thing with mentions. If we had links that took us to the specific action on the player’s profile, it would save SO MUCH time, and we would still be on that person’s profile.

    -Take a day off, and you take a hit to the numbers, take a long weekend off, and you are dealing with the consequences for 10 days (3 days off + 7 days because the numbers are weekly). Take a week off, and it’s just…bad. The way the current system is, to be a power player requires activity 7 days/week. People will NOT like me for this suggestion 🙂 but I say that the only daily numbers we get to see are our own. When we look at another account, we don’t see daily earnings or daily actions. We see average weekly Divs, and we see the score for the particular network. I like being able to see daily numbers from people, and it helps to determine if the person has abandoned ship or not. Still have a list of the different content or statements & show whether they came from a particular platform, but don’t show the numbers. The would really curtail Panic sales or things of that nature. Then if a person wants to work Social Media 5 days per week, as long as they are 5 really good days, they are not punished. This would also require the scores of the different platforms to be more dynamic. Just some thoughts to give you to contemplate.

    @Brad, thank you also for circling me on Google+. I would return the favor, but I can’t…and I just don’t care about it very much any more. Google+ is no Empire Avenue. =D

    Peace,
    ~Jake

  2. Hey Brad,

    Like I said before I don’t like the new scoring system my stock and dividends have taken a really big hit of late.

    I’m not quitting empire avenue at all I just said how I felt and fought for all the users on empire and the ones who left empire.

    I’m getting use to the new scoring system and I like that blog posts don’t count in the scoring but I still write blog posts anyway.

    I want to say that here’s what I want to see with the scoring system one that blog posts get paid.

    There are a lot of very good bloggers that I know like Chris Pirillo who blogs a lot and I also blog too.

    As for Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and all the others at least their still paying off

    Thanks (e)SBUSHFAN11

  3. One thing that’s come up in a discussion thread is this: would it be possible to block duplicated content from counting? Currently, the EAv website itself tracks duplicated content pretty well (so that you can’t even post the same thing in response to two shout-outs on your profile).

    However, would it be possible for EAv to do the same thing across other networks? So, for example, if someone uses an auto-post program that posts the same thing across Facebook, Twitter,and LinkedIn, is there any way for EAv to notice that it’s the same content, same link, etc., and then to discount it?

    …or is that beyond the capability of the system?

  4. Pingback: What You Need To Know About #EAv’s New Dividend Structure « Empire Avenue Tips

  5. 1. youtube is about more than uploaded videos… it’s also about channels & playlists, & people subscribing & viewing

    2. twitter reactions, to be measured well, need to take into account the influence of the people following, replying, mentioning, and/or retweeting… you also need to be able to recognize classical or traditional retweets, as well as the twitter retweet button retweets

    3. the more you reward empire avenue activity the more you detract from you goal of measuring analytics of accounts’ social media influence

    4. it makes little sense to afford wordpress blogs a higher status than blogs on other platforms such as blogger.com, drupal, etc.

    5. in view of the many alternatives for posting photos, it makes little sense to reward flickr activity but not activity on the others, such as twitpic, yfrog, photobucket etc

    6. it makes little sense to discriminate linked in, which is a hugely important social network in some circles

    7. i have had the feeling, since joining empire avenue, that empire avenue has a bias towards facebook activity… i personally have never enjoyed the facebook interface, and spent very little of my online time there… i’ve always felt unfairly slighted by empire avenue because of that…

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  8. I hope Brad addresses the issues brought up in the later comments (including mine!) but I think one limitation is that EA has to rely on the information supplied by APIs to track activity scores. I’m not sure that every photo or blogging platform issues publicly available stats on its users’ activities. If there is no API available to developers, there is no way that EA can draw in the data to use to measure activity levels and responses to activity.

  9. Brad,

    I’ve been tracking what Empire Avenue Claims to be the new yardstick and the data doesn’t seem to support the assertions being made about the new calculation of earnings, dividends and activities. More importantly, your recent actions seem to have given rise to the very behavior you were attempting to address. Increasingly we are seeing groups being formed with the stated purpose of “bringing” people down and manipulating the data in a systematic way.

    I trust that you , (e)DUPS and the other “real” Administrators will find ways to handle the organized gang and bot activities.

    While I may have a sheet of comments and responses, I read every shout and respond to them personally and attempt to engage with everyone on a personal basis. Unfortunately…..You all know the rest.

  10. Pingback: Ch-ch-ch-ching? « #OccupyEmpireAvenue

  11. Ch-ch-ch-ching?
    17 Oct

    EmpireAvenue’s latest blog “http://blog.empireavenue.com/2011/10/11/ch-ch-ch-changes/” talks about a change to the system to better recognize social klout rather than social volume.

    Is it enough? Will it put an end to the content spam engines?

    Put your money into REAL people who create! Photographers, writers, bloggers! Drop your spam stock! Take a few eaves hit on your spammy investments, and put it into the 99% of us who create to earn, rather than simply repeating the feeds of creators!

    JOIN US! VOTE HERE ON THE RECENT CHANGES.

    http://occupyempireavenue.wordpress.com/

    #OccupyEmpireAvenue

    P.S. – Also check out the community we created here to discuss ways we can help to make EmpireAvenue a better place to pitch a tent in.

    http://www.empireavenue.com/community/page/discuss/?c=2388

    P.P.S. – Why can’t we buy a ‘Tent’ in the Luxury Store.

  12. Pingback: The "Über" Ranger Bob Show » #OccupyEmpireAvenue

  13. Hey Brad,

    (e)SBUSHFAN11 from empire avenue bring back the old scorning system for a few weeks so all users can rebuild they stock prices and dividends back up. Until you guys can make changes that everybody will like and live with that are fair to all users.

    Thanks,
    (e)SBUSHFAN11

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