I have recently become a member of Empire Avenue and have been using the site for roughly a month. I highly recommend this site at it is an exemplary example of advergaming and a very strong networking tool. Although I must admit I was initially hesitant to use the site (as I do not play any sort of online games) it provided me with a very valuable tool for social media analytics. There are numerous blog posts that supported this theory (I have included a few in this post).
Basically Empire Avenue is an online game that allows you to buy and sell stocks in people. The site connects to your various social networks and blogs and keeps track of your activities and awards those efforts with virtual currency (which you use to buy and sell stocks) which is awarded in real time each day. You also receive virtual currency for purchases in your stock. My initial experience was a malestorm of purchases in my stock as I crept up the recent arrival leaderboard (they keep score very well) and my stock price rose while exploring the site. My stock has remained steady (likely due to my relative inactivity online due to the holidays) but I anticipate a large rise in my stock price once I am more active online again. You can leave messages on other players “wall” when you buy stock and there are numerous communities within the game ranging from common interests to common areas (across the globe). You can easily interact with people all over the world in almost every country. This allows you with a unique opportunity to market your various online websites, blogs, and social networking pages and profiles. You can provide missions which allow for the award of virtual currency to the players that complete them (like liking your Facebook page or commenting on a blog) allowing you to help increase engagement. It is also very useful for promotion of Youtube channels and to increase subscriptions there and to blogs. Blog posts I read also touted actual real life deals and clients coming from the game for social media marketers and other types of professionals. You can also advertise your profile within the game to drive up traffic and your share price.
I recently sat down with the marketing gurus over at Creatine Marketing (Sacramento, CA based marketing firm) and found that many real estate professionals (that work with them) use Empire Avenue as a strong marketing tool for their businesses and actually gain many clients from the game. Likely because of the numerous communities that are available with specific unified interests. This is just one small local example of the many benefits that I found in the site for networkers online.
I encourage you to check out the site and see what value it can bring to your business or social networking. If you do in fact do that I highly encourage you to check out the site of a very popular player (below) who gives very good advice on stocks to invest in and is very proactive in helping promote online activities of her shareholders and those she invests in.
Links to articles on Empire Avenue I found useful: