Monthly Archives: August 2013

Me, Myself, & I

ImageI care a lot about EA and even more about the folks that I have met through EA.  Given the current state of the Avenue,  I should probably follow that quickly with the assertion that I don’t plan to quit.  I do feel the need to step back a bit to assess my relationship to EA, & the current changes.  To that end (& also because my divs were insane yesterday…2.31…yes thanks for the applause), I put my account on vacation mode for a few weeks.  Also tennis beckons with the US Open and cooler weather in Htown.

My head hurts trying to imagine dealing with my portfolio without inisideEAv.  Lots of folks are delisting their accounts.  Many others say they will just become inactive.  Since these are some of the most engaged EA’ers ( over 50% of stock trading happened with insideEAv), I worry about the consequences.  Dups assertion that it wasn’t his fault rings shallow and offers nothing by way of a solution.  

We all hear the massive frustration of the community.  The loss of fun, the drive to monetization, the cloudy vision, and failure to provide real tools have created a perfect storm that will be difficult to navigate.  I have some time & energy invested; so I hope there is some amazing & delightful resolution just around the corner.  I worry the gap between the promise and the reality continues to widen.

I will put my tips on hiatus during my EA vacation.  Dups has said the EA official mentoring program is ready; so you might inquire with him about getting help there.  Although I asked to join that official effort, I did not receive the courtesy of a reply.  That does leave me a bit puzzled, but I am certain that they have a substantial team of very well qualified folks ready to go.  Again I encourage you to check with Dups for details on the official EA mentoring program.

I will still be around.  I intend to continue working my blog; although with a bit less EA focus.  If you have EA questions, my blog has all my tips archived there.   I will still be present across most of my Social channels, but I look forward to finding my own voice a bit more; rather that just being a mission bot.

Crap!  This really does sound sad.  I am just headed out to play a bit more tennis and hang with my friends IRL.  I earnestly encourage you to give that a try.  In the immortal words of California’s greatest Guvernator…I’ll be back! 

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Pie Seventeen

download (1)Well I suspect that several of you experienced a nice share price bump that might have surprised you a bit. Last night EA introduced Pie 17. They introduced an interesting wrinkle by not providing an eaves purchase. You must spend 25 USD to buy Pie 17.

Most of you are probably still working the Pie upgrade path; so the impact will be later. I guess this confirms that EA really is no longer free if you really want to compete. I didn’t buy it yet; partly for game reasons. I have to save some eaves to buy with if I am doing it. I was trying to get over the idea of buying a portfolio upgrade. For me, fifty bucks is like my part of a couple of happy hours with my buddies.

I worry that some folks who feel that paying is in some way cheating may decide to leave the Avenue. I get that EA needs to earn revenue, but I wonder if this is the best time to ratchet that up. Seems the mood on the Avenue is a bit down, and I am concerned adding a ‘requirement’ to pay is not likely to attract or retain new folks. Perhaps there are some new features or benefits just around the corner. I sure hope so…

What are you thinking about all this?

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Reading Tea Leaves

downloadI got an interesting question from Adrian and was doing a bit of thinking. He asked:

Not sure how much there is to say but my curiosity is how they are going to get the business accounts fully functional? Like a lot of small business owners, I have a personal profile online as well as that of my company. EAv now have business accounts but you can’t link to things such as FB, G+ and LinkedIn pages as you first need to link to a profile which, of course, is already in use.

Dups, for reasons I can’t discern, makes it tough to understand the future direction of Empire Avenue. When he is pressed, he sends folks to EA’s Corporate Page: http://corp.empireavenue.com/ I have read this enough times to be certain that I am completely clueless about what it actually means and puzzled why he won’t share a clear vision. I end up believing that actions are generally better predictors of the future than promises; so here are my wild speculations.

Specifically Adrian, I believe that the difficulty of creating a personal versus a business presence on EA relates to the fact that the site is more organically grown rather than working some development plan. Dups has admitted as much when he talks about getting away from his original vision. EA just keeps getting surprised and struggles to react.

EA has removed several of the ‘game’ aspects of the site with an effort to streamline and make it more business friendly. Premium Accounts provide eaves to minimize the need for companies to spend time investing. To everyone that I talk with, EA has become significantly less fun. Efforts to engage the EA staff about this issue have been fruitless. I think Dups thinks there isn’t any money in the game of EA.

That leads me to believe that EA is trying to become a business tool instead of a game. I see a couple of problems that stand in the way. The user community of EA is tiny. Kevin provided some interesting numbers to verify this recently.  With such a small number of folks entering & even fewer staying around, EA is just not that interesting to most businesses. The other issue is targeting. Trying to find and mobilize EA’ers that fit your niche is almost impossible; unless you are in the MLM game. I worry that the high level of sketchiness in the EA community might be off putting to businesses also. Despite EA’s assertions, I don’t find much evidence that “the most respected social media profiles and companies from around the world” gather here. To be a truly effective tool EA must quickly gather a critical mass; both in quality and quantity.

Back to Adrian’s quandary, I think the issue of connecting networks to accounts is problematic; because of folks who game the system by moving networks between their various accounts. That behavior makes it tough to have a great solution for folks with legitimate needs. I suspect that as EA continues to deprecate the stock market part of their site, the issue of networks connected to accounts becomes less important.

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Out with the Bad

ImageI got asked about when to sell stocks on Empire Avenue yesterday.  Not surprisingly, I have a few thoughts about this.  As usual, your approach will vary according to what you are trying to accomplish on the Avenue.

I know that some of the experienced players will want you to know that they never sell.  That is an awesome ideal, but most of us have limitations with eaves and portfolio slots.  At some point, most players find a situation where they have to sell in order to buy something or someone.

First we might want to think about the folks that we should not sell.  Don’t sell someone who is actively playing and invested in you because they are likely to sell you in return.  That is a lose/lose strategy for you both in general.  Don’t sell folks who have dividends of over 0.31 (e) per share because they are in the the top 5,000 players on the Avenue.  That is important to remember if you are trying to increase your daily income from dividends. 

So who to sell becomes the question.  I generally sell stocks that are inactive, not invested, and have low (0.25 or less) divs.  When I bump up against my portfolio limit, I sell more aggressively.  You can check activity on the stock’s profile page, by clicking the stock on your portfolio view, or through any of the third party portfolio management tools.

I also sell miscreants.  That includes folks who steal my or my friends’ missions.  I also sell folks who sell me.  I sell folks who are rude or abusive.  Life is too short to deal with them.  Folks in this category also get blocked; so I don’t invest in them later unintentionally.

I am less concerned about selling folks with falling share prices.  Generally the cost of commission is greater than what I might lose in value.  Even relatively inactive folks tend to hold their price with surprising strength.  Often the inactivity is temporary; so the buy/sell would be a net loss.

Trying to daily churn your portfolio to buy the very best ROI, dividend production, or share price rise is a losing proposition.  On the margins, the wild swings are impossible to accurately time.  Buy good profiles preferably of folks you like.  Have fun and watch your portfolio grow.

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Looking for Light

IImage have been thinking about what tell you today, and I have to admit that I am starting to run out of ideas. I have covered all most all of the functional parts of the site. I have shared a bit of philosophy and a few tips that helped me. I have shared a few frustrations and tribulations about the site and a few of the players. I guess I am to the point of needing a bit of help.

Do you have any ideas or suggestions for me to discuss? Is there something you wonder about or wish for with EA? 

I have a feature that I really expected to come with Premium Accounts. I expected that Premium accounts would have the ability to schedule missions. That would be easy to do, greatly desired, and be quite helpful.

I also think that EA is missing an opportunity by not implementing a mission undo. Almost everyone has taken a mission that went sideways. Sometimes the mission creator was tricky, and sometimes the mission taker is less than alert.

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Resources

ImageGerrit Bes provides a couple of buy lists each day here:http://wp.me/2odZ1 Early morning (3-5 CDT), he looks at all the Fresh Faces that joined and recommends those he thinks will have success. Later in the day, he provides a list of new players who have passed 7 days with divs over 0.30 (e); so you can invest to your Pie limit.

Paul Steinbrueck provides a daily list of new starters with divs over 0.15(e) each morning after the turn: http://wp.me/p1PyIN-11f

I follow a few FB groups to keep up with the latest gossip:
Team Zen: https://www.facebook.com/groups/teamzen/
[X]Bar: https://www.facebook.com/groups/XBARMESSAGE/
SocialEmpire https://www.facebook.com/groups/socialempire/

The EA General Community Discussion is a great place where you can share your bricks and bouquets with the EA staff:http://www.empireavenue.com/community/page/discuss?c=3426

I am less plugged into the Google Plus EA communities. I probably ought to fix that.

I use a couple of portfolio management tools:
https://dr-dittrich.de/eav/eav.pl
https://www.avenue.io/

Do you have any favorite resources that you would like to share?

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Pleasant Reply

ImageEmpire Avenue has all the same sort of folks you will find in the rest of the world. Some folks are really nice; some are nasty. Some folks are really smart, and some are confused. Just because someone shouts on your wall or sends you a message, don’t freak out.

Although most of the folks on the leader boards are awesome, some are jerks. I hear regularly about experienced players trying to press newer folks into buys or other stuff. You can say no. You will survive. I remember a player high on the leader board when I started telling me that he would sell all my shares if I didn’t max in him. That would have taken over a weeks income for me at that time. I sold him and ran a big buy me mission. I not only survived, but I also am watching him from my rear view mirror on all the leader boards. He probably doesn’t remember trying to rough me up, but I won’t forget.

If you complete missions, you will likely have someone complain about what you did. Do the best that you can, and your ethical reputation will help you survive those disputes also. Too often mission creators are the only ones who really understand what they wanted done. You will survive a negative rating or two. You can’t please everyone. Don’t freak out.

If you create missions, folks will foul up. Some folks are jerks who steal intentionally. When you identify those, block & report them along with a negative rating, but don’t lose your mind over honest and reasonable errors. If you have many failures with your mission, make sure the mission is clear and easy. If it is hard or complicated, the onus for failures is yours.

I think EA is more fun if you give folks the benefit of any doubt. I have made a mistake or two. I suspect that I am not alone in that. Ask an honest question instead of accusing if you are trying to solve a problem. Avoid the jerks as best you can, and celebrate with the great folks.

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Playing Offsite

ImagePro Tip:  Much of the ‘playing’ of Empire Avenue happens away from http://www.empireavenue.com which is great but sometimes tricky.

When you are playing EA offsite, be aware of the rules of engagement.   I am mostly thinking of the Facebook and Google Plus groups where EA’ers congregate.  Perhaps even some #tweetchats or other platforms.  Each spot has its own rules; so tread lightly, ask questions, be nice, and apologize quickly when you foul up.

Specifically some FB groups are mostly mission & self promotion farms.  Pretty much nothing else posted in those groups.  Some groups have strict rules against that sort of self promotion like EAofK or New Users (I am told the admin of New EA Users is a bit crazy and deletes posts while sending nastygram PM’s to offenders).  Some groups have a more laissez faire approach.  In groups like Zen or [X]Bar, I would encourage you to engage more than you promote to avoid backlash.

One of the risks of playing a Social Media game offsite is the risk of jail.  I am not really talking about incarceration.  I am talking about platforms suspending or limiting your access for perceived TOS violations.  Typically things like excessive activity on FB or sending too many friend requests can land you into FB jail.  Twitter is well know for suspending accounts that rapidly follow & unfollow in large numbers.  A strategy that some of the more colorful EA players use is to falsely report competitors; so don’t get too upset if you find yourself in a bit of trouble with a network.  The services all have appeals processes; so just do as they ask.  Your service will be restored eventually.  

As it relates to these issues, 1.  Don’t try to explain about EA.  It will hurt rather than help your situation.  2.  Don’t violate the network’s TOS.  3.  Don’t be that jerk who falsely reports.  I have seen a couple of ugly situations result that just become bad for everyone.

EA is a Social Media game.  Most of the action happens in our various Social Media networks.  That is really where you find the fun and the value.

 

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Friends are Fun

ImageI often hear from new players how tough it is to get started with EA. Not enough eaves for investing, buying back, or creating missions. Not enough clout to create big network scores for awesome dividends. Not enough information to keep up with everything. Not enough folks to help out when you run into a problem. I understand and accept these difficulties. I have a magic trick. It is a secret that I will share just with you…Make some friends.

This is Social Media. If you are trying to do it by yourself in your bathrobe (I don’t want to know if you are wearing less…), it is really tough. If you can bring or find some folks who will share the burden, it is easier and a ton more fun.

I generally have two or three chat windows open, and a Google Hangout is not unusual. Folks discussing, questioning, speculating about what is happening. I get tons of early warning and analysis from these chats. I get all sorts of answers and help from folks who care about me. I even try to be helpful to them.

Find some folks who will help you. Many of you seem to think the only way to get someone to help you is to run a mission. I hear a few folks even pay cash. Barter is a tried and true system that works. I will run a like bomb for you if you will do one for me. I will retweet for you if you will retweet for me. A handful of folks you trust can make a huge impact on your network scores and dividends. Who knows…you might even find something useful. A great way to find someone is to try being nice to them. You might even try this really weird technique called asking.

Build some relationships here. That is truly the important value of EA. With solid relationships built, all the rest of the stuff will fall into place.

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Settings

ImageThe EA settings are a place that most of us visit once or twice and just forget about them.  If everything is working exactly right for you with your EA experience; then this tip might not be helpful.  I think some folks live with annoyances that can be controlled with the right settings.

You find the settings by clicking the gears symbol in the top right corner of your EA screen.  That will open a number of selections that allow you to control your account, how you interact with the service, and other players can interact with you.  Unfortunately there is not a setting to disable sells.

The Edit Profile basically controls what is presented on your Profile page.  You will have to reenter your password to get to this function.  You can change your name, location, and country.  I don’t recommend it, but yes you can change your country here to get around those pesky country restrictions for a really big mission.  You can also change your gender; although EA doesn’t really display this anywhere…perhaps best to just keep that on the down low.  Your birthday and avatar are also managed here.  A smiling reasonably professional photo of you is the best choice for your image.  The image must not create any copyright or other TOS violations.

Privacy is the next option.  This controls who can interact with you on EA from the perspective of the entire user community.  In general, here you want to allow anyone; so everyone can interact & invest.  You also have a public EA profile page.  You can disable that or view your public profile here.  You public profile looks like this: https://www.empireavenue.com/p/?public=1

Notifications & Settings are the next option.  This is where you control how EA interacts with you.  You can get an email for every silly thing that happens on EA, you can get no email from EA, or you can choose something in the middle.  I pick getting one email digest each day.  You can even customize exactly what items are in your email status update.   EA has popup messages that I find very annoying.  You can disable those here.  EA publishes an eNewsletter that you can subscribe to or not. 

Change Password will…you guessed it…let you change or set your password.  

Change Email Address will…wow super smart…let you update your email address.

Managed Blocked/Muted Users will allow you to unblock or unmute anyone that you made up with.  If you block someone, you can’t lift the block for 7 days.  Remember that blocking someone will sell any shares that you own of them and sell any shares that they own of you.  You can also re-enable shareholder mail for anyone that you blocked here.  Just click the bright button to undo your deed!

Manage Applications/Get API Keys are just interesting for developers.  Check the documentation if you need more details there.

Delete My Account is a one shot deal.  If you do this, you have to start back over; so be sure before you do.  I will suggest that if you decide to leave & delete your account, please do so quietly.  Some folks want to make a big scene when they leave.  That is crummy behavior; because folks are rushing around trying to figure out if they need to sell you are what.  Deleting your account will return their investment back to you shareholders all at once at your current trading price.  That is the fair way to leave for the folks who thought enough of you to invest in your shares.

On the main settings page, there are a few more options in the right column.  You can disable the Community Posts.  That will stop the notifications in the top right corner that appear when someone posts in a community thread where you have posted.  Disable Popup Instant Notifications will stop the buy notices that popup on your EA screen.  Disable Shout Out On Buy will remove the option to shout on your wall when folks buy your shares.  This is not recommended; since you get EA network score credit when folks write on your wall.  The final option is to Disable Envolve chat.  If you primarily access EA from a mobile device, I strongly suggest that you disable chat to improve your user experience.

 

 
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