"The People’s Market" on Empire Avenue will let users buy and sell shares in each other, allowing a person’s social influence to be measured via market forces.
Our theory goes like this: if you've ever told someone to watch a movie, buy an album or eat at some restaurant, you're using influence. Being the generous people we are, we thought we'd give you a way to measure that influence and stack it up against anyone else. Nothing like a bit of friendly competition among friends, social networks and complete strangers, right?
Takahashi compares Empire Avenue to Friends for Sale! - the Facebook social game launched by Serious Business.
Empire Avenue also offers more measures of social influence than Friends for Sale!, including how often you post to web sites, social networks, and blogs. Shareholders who have bought your stock can rate your posts based on quality. The net result of the stock trading and other measurements is your “influence score.” The more your influence rises, the more currency points you earn for your shareholders.
You'll be happy to hear that Empire Avenue does not require you to join and participate in yet another social network. You can continue participating in as many or as few social networking sites as you like and the service measures your influence even if you don’t spend much time on Empire Avenue.
Empire Avenue has launched a closed beta test and will expand the test gradually in the coming weeks and launch fully in the summer of 2010.
The self-funded startup was founded in October 2009 and is five employees strong. The founding team comes primarily from Bioware (now part of Electronic Arts) and includes CEO Dups Wijayawardhana, COO Robert Kallir, VP Marketing Tom Ohle, and VP Research Nithum Thain.