premium accountsEmpire Avenue has officially launched premium accounts.

The names, prices and features of the accounts appear to be virtually identical to those announced in the revised version of the pre-release announcement on August 1.

Existing users who upgrade before the end of August will receive 20% off for the first 3 months.

Premium accounts essentially provide users with 4 benefits…

1) More Virtual Spending Power (aka eaves)

Several of the features give users more eaves which can be used to amplify their social media influence through missions or connect with other users through investments. This includes extra daily eaves, lower mission fees, earning dividends from more than 5,000 stocks in ones portfolio, and “even more desert” bonuses.

2) Faster & Easier Portfolio Management is an excellent tool that helps users manage their EAv portfolio much more quickly and easily than is possible through Empire Avenue has partnered with the developer of the portfolio management tool, and is providing EAv premium account users with premium services.

Of course if you use to manage your portfolio for free, this may not matter.

3) Analytics Insight

Several of the premium features also aim to give premium users additional insight into account and missions through premium analytics data. I haven’t had a chance to investigate this, so I can’t speak to the usefulness of this data yet.

4) Promises of More Features/Benefits

The fourth benefit of premium accounts is the promise of account verification, premium communities and premium mission targeting, said to be coming in the fall. Of course, whether the promise of a benefit is actually a benefit is debatable – and feel free to debate that in the comments.

One could make the case that premium communities and mission targetting are the most needed improvements to make EAv a better marketing tool. So, the fact that are not ready for this initial lauch of premium accounts will no doubt be a disappointment to some.

My Analysis

When EAv first announced premium accounts were coming, I chimed in with 5 Insights on Empire Avenue’s Premium Accounts. Fortunately, the actual launch of the premium accounts seems to be much better than the pre-launch announcement.

1) It’s still a proven, successful model. As I wrote previously, 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 about more than eaves. Previously I wrote that virtually all the features of premium accounts had to do with eaves in one way or another. But as I wrote above, now they include the benefits of a easier portfolio management, analytics, and eventually better marketing tools.

3) Nothing Lost. When EAv announced revisions to its proposd premium accounts, they decided not to reduce the max mission reward. So, now users who decide not to upgrade don’t lose any features from their free accounts.

4) Cart before the horse? Previously I wrote:

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.

For those who complain about premium accounts, this is probably going to be their biggest gripe. But I’ve had a bit of a change of heart on this. Sure you can make the case that premium accounts may not be worth the value while the EAv user base is still so small. If that’s what you believe, so what? Don’t upgrade.

As EAv grows its user base and improves its missions and communities, the value of premium accounts will improve. By already having premium account options in place, each user has the power to upgrade anytime they believe the upgrade is worth the value. And EAv is in a position to increase its revenue and move towards finacial sustainabiliy.

5) Better Communication

Today’s launch announcement did a much better job of communicating the benefits of premium accounts than the original prelaunch announcement. Though not as good as this blog post, mind you. 😉

Ready, Set, Upgrade?

I’ve already upgraded my account to Bronze. How about you? Have you upgraded or do you plan to upgrade soon?