Social enterprise provider PeopleBrowsr has acquired Empire Avenue in a move that consolidates the influencer metric/marketing ecosystem. As a result of the deal, Empire Avenue is being absorbed into the dotKred stable, which may lead to the creation of new tools to help individuals gain influence with brands and one another.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Empire Avenue cofounder Duleepa Wijayawardhana wrote about this “bitter/sweet moment,” saying that he’s “happy about the deal” after seeing that PeopleBrowsr brought someone from the community onboard to be the product’s champion. Moving forward, Wijayawardhana and the former team at Empire Avenue are slated to stay on as consultants for PeopleBrowsr, which seems to suggest that the deal was just for the assets, not the talent.
Started six years ago, Empire Avenue was a virtual stock market that users and brands could participate in with the goal of enhancing their social influence. The Canada-based startup enabled people to buy and sell shares in each other, which determined one’s social influence, measured based on market forces. Its foray into the marketplace saw it compete against the likes of PeopleBrowsr’s Kred, as well as Klout, PeerIndex, and others — all of which faced incredible criticism by people who saw them as a vanity metrics.
In 2012, however, Empire Avenue re-evaluated its mission and emerged with a new design built around a central dashboard. It said the focus was more about “building your social networks to be more effective outside of the game, by using the mechanics within it.” Users were able to add their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Flickr, Foursquare, Google+, and WordPress.com accounts to the service.
Following Klout’s $200 million acquisition by Lithium Technologies and PeerIndex’s acquisition by Brandwatch, there was a hole that needed to be filled, and it appears PeopleBrowsr wants to take over as the market leader.
Originally started as a tool that competed alongside Hootsuite and TweetDeck to help people manage their social media presences, PeopleBrowsr has evolved over the years into something bigger: an infrastructure provider for businesses eager to tap into the social space. This includes owning several top-level domains (TLDs) such as .CEO and .KRED, and, of course, its own social influence measurement and management tool, Kred.
It’s with Kred that PeopleBrowsr has built an entire ecosystem. DotKred lets anyone create their own influencer social network without any ads. Now with EmpireAvenue.Kred under its belt, the company is likely to offer more gamification to help you boost your influence score. The premise is now to “Play. Invest. Promote.” This means you complete social missions to help discover new content and influencers relevant to you. Then you buy and sell “influence” on the social stock market, and use those earnings to create new missions. The endless cycle of influence continues.
Empire Avenue raised $1.4 million in funding from several angel investors, along with Crosslink Capital, iNovia Capital, and TriplePoint Capital.