premium accountsEarlier today Empire Avenue announced the introduction of Premium Services. EAv CEO, Dups, wrote:

With this change, Empire Avenue will have five account levels as detailed in the table below. Should you not move to a Premium level, much of what you do today for free will not change. Adding Premium levels will not mean we stop development on features that will be delivered for all, instead where we feel a feature can be improved in a premium setting then we will add it to a particular level.

The new premium accounts will range from $20/mo to $500/mo and will include a subscription to the portfolio management tool that currently costs $10/mo.

As with every major announcement from EAv, this one has been met with lots of questions, comments, and of course criticisms in the community discussion area. So, let me cut through all the noise with…

5 Insights on EAv’s Premium Accounts

1) It’s a proven, successful model. The concept of premium accounts is a good idea with a proven track record. EAv needs to generate revenue to stay in business, and this is a proven model.

2) It’s all about eaves. All of the “features” currently listed in the table of premium accounts have to do with with eaves in one way or another. Daily eaves received, reduced mission fees, more dessert upgrades, dividends on more stocks in one’s portfolio. For the most active, veteran EAvers who already have hundreds of millions in wealth and are earning millions a day in dividends, more eaves have very little value, therefore these premium accounts will provide very little value to them. However, for someone who is new and needs eaves to build their portfolio and do missions, they may find these accounts of some value.

3) We hate to lose. Dups wrote, “Much of what you do today for free will not change.” That is true, but people will always focus on what is being taken away from them. In this case, it appears that free users will have their maximum mission reward reduced from 50,000 to 10,000 and the max concurrent mission reduced from 10 to 5. In my opinion, it would have been better to leave these where they were for free accounts and increase it for premium accounts.

4) Cart before the horse. This announcement has a real “cart before the horse” feel. The idea of premium accounts is great, but the problem is EAv is still not an effective marketing tool because the user base is still too small and its still to difficult to effectively target missions to a niche audience. It would have been better for EAv to focus on making mission more effective and expanding the user base first, and then introduce premium services.

5) Marketing bomb. EAv really, REALLY needs to add an experience, professional marketing person to the team. Dups, I love you man, but let someone else do your announcements! Part of the reason there is so much criticism in the community discussion and elsewhere is because the blog announcement contains no mention of the benefits of premium accounts. It jumps right into pricing without establishing value.

Additionally, there is no real-world value to eaves. Announcing premium accounts where all the features have to do with increasing or saving eaves is almost meaningless. Anyone who would even consider spending $100 or $500 a month needs to receive meaningful enhancements to missions and communities and a compelling explanation of how they will increase ROI.

What do you think of the upcoming premium accounts? What’s your take on these 5 insights?