By Duleepa Wijayawardhana • July 31, 2011

Upcoming Changes to Market Makers, Dividends and Earnings

Last week we wrote that some of our upcoming changes to Empire Avenue would deal with Market Makers, Dividends and Earnings. We'd like to delve into this topic and give those interested some insights on changes over the next few weeks.

Intro to Market Makers

For those new to Empire Avenue, the Market Makers are the algorithms that look at your social media output and engagement, along with your outstanding shares, and sets a new Share Price once a day. We tweak the Market Makers every once in a while, and as we introduce new connections to Empire Avenue.

Intro to Dividends and Earnings

For activity you perform on Empire Avenue and on every social media network that you have connected (except for LinkedIn currently), you receive eaves for what you do. We take that Earnings value and multiply it with your Network Scores to create the Dividend pool, which is then divided amongst your shareholders.

Upcoming Changes

Spam: To deal with perceived spamming of external networks (like high-frequency Twitter bots), we are implementing new spam-detection algorithms. There is no method of spam detection that is foolproof, and only humans can currently truly tell fact from fiction, true engagement from automated bots. Nevertheless, this automated system will detect and penalize offending accounts in terms of both Share Price and Dividends. Please note that as we discover users producing spam or engaging in bot usage to increase prices or engage in spam, we will take action without notice, and your investments may suffer! Ultimately, you should only invest in those who are producing real content that you value.

Clarification: As a few folks have emailed and commented that we need clarification on the "without notice" part above: In addition to our taking action we will inform the account holder at the time any action is taken. Please also note that this will not affect the majority of our users and will not affect those who schedule tweets. This is a spam policy, not unlike ones used by other social networks.

We have also noticed in the past a small minority of accounts engaging in activity which is against the Terms of Use of both Empire Avenue and the networks that they are connecting. Specific cases include illegally posting copyrighted content to Flickr and claiming it as their own. We at Empire Avenue take copyright and intellectual property laws very seriously. Effective last July 29th, we have begun disconnecting connections involved in such violations as they are reported and as our own automated monitoring algorithm discovers them.

Valuing Engagement: Dividends and Earnings calculations can certainly be improved to further emphasize engagement. As part of that, we are expanding the scope of what we have previously defined as activity, and will even include bonus earnings for users who create significant engagement (such as being retweeted).

Another complaint we have received was that Dividends and Earnings felt like you had to do something every day. Our new Dividends and Earnings formulas will look at a longer scope of activity. As we are currently working through what all this means for people, we won't comment on specifics till we are ready to roll this out.

We do anticipate that we will be tweaking these changes a fair bit after we roll all this out, so bear with us. Tweaking an entire economy is never easy!

Blogs: Unfortunately, the most abused of the connections has been blogs. Due to continued abuse we will be further reducing the value placed on RSS-based blog feeds and their effects on Share Prices, Dividends and Earnings. Expect further changes to the blog system, and how blogs are connected to Empire Avenue in the near future, such that decreased relevance of RSS Blog Feeds will have little impact on scores and share price. As such with these changes, we anticipate RSS-based blogs will likely also not be in most people's top 5 connections, which count toward both Share Price and Dividends/Earnings. Connecting RSS feeds will remain, so that you can fill out your profile and show off your content.

We will be introducing details of each change and especially some more details on how Dividends and Earnings are calculated per connection as we roll them out, so that you can make your investment decisions wisely!

Crowdsourcing: No algorithm is truly going to catch the complexity of human engagement. Invest wisely, report accounts you think are invalid and so on, just like many of you have been doing for these past few months. It helps us tweak our systems and certainly catch abuse, which, in the case of copyright abuse, might even hurt the livelihoods of others. Please remember that, if you report abuse, it is very helpful to provide to us as many details as possible. For example, if reporting a copyright violation on Flickr, please include a link to the real owner of the image where possible.


As noted, some changes have been rolled out, others will be rolled out over the month of August, some sooner, some later. Some of the anti-spam algorithms will be rolled out this week.

Disclaimer: Our owners, writers, and/or guest post authors may or may not have a vested interest in any of the above projects and businesses. None of the content on this blog is investment advice nor is it a replacement for advice from a certified financial planner.