Since EmpireAvenue launched last month, the site has taken off and appears well on its way to outshining Klout and other influence metrics for social media.

EmpireAvenue combines online networking and a virtual stock market to help come up with a value for each user on Facebook based on degree of influence. In contrast to Klout, which determines a score based on your various online profiles, EmpireAvenue combines your profiles and other users’ interest in you to come up with a more accurate determination of value.

At least that’s the hypothesis. The problem is that EmpireAvenue requires a lot of time of its users, a small fraction of which spend an extreme amount.

What’s more incredible is that out of the more than 28,000 users, over 20,000 returned yesterday. In other words: EmpireAvenue has an extremely high engagement level as users try to push their share price upwards. More important to share price though is the things that you do off site.

Whether it’s Facebook posts, Twitter updates, or uploading photos and videos, you will be rewarded for your online activity. The more active you are and the more responses you get to your content, the higher your share price goes.

Effective For Networking?

While it’s easy to see EmpireAvenue as an opportunity to network with others, it’s actuallybased on our own self-interest. As we want to see our own share price rise up the charts, we are instantly incentivized to become more active within the various social media channels.

For businesspeople, spending their waking hours on EmpireAvenue is probably not going to have the greatest return on investment. The point is not to manufacture artificial relationships, but instead to build one’s influence through hard work (blogging, networking in person and so on).

Yes, some people have manipulated share prices, but in the long term it’s difficult to truly develop value by simply convincing people to buy your share price, you’ll need to develop underlying value by building influence on Facebook and Twitter.

Will It Stick?

The bigger question for EmpireAvenue is how long the company can retain the attention of its user base. While all online metrics attract the attention of users for at least a short period of time, most become to0 time consuming to manage, so people give up — perhaps that’s the point when the systems actually become accurate measures of our true influence. If you are regularly Tweeting, posting Facebook updates, and engaging with your online community, there’s a good chance that you have some influence.

However if you come to a site like EmpireAvenue, attempt to game it, and then get tired of doing so, your value will drop quickly. That’s what happened with the Friends For Sale application that became available when the Facebook platform first launched in 2007.

EmpireAvenue has many similar features to Friends For Sale, but differs in that your value is based on actual online activities.

For the time being, I’m not quite sure whether or not EmpireAvenue will be able to expand to the masses, but with the traction it has so far, things are looking pretty promising.

Have you used EmpireAvenue yet, and if so, what do you think about it?