Monday, January 22, 2007

Yeah, I know I'm a slacker

Bob over at eCache noticed that I pretty much abandoned my regular posting schedule last summer. Work had a large part in that, since I was working on a never-ending proposal effort from mid-June until last week.
Another factor was an online game that has consumed much of my mental bandwidth: BlogShares. (The observant reader will have noticed the graphic in my sidebar). It's a nicely addictive simulated economy, with multiple levels of play available. At the most basic level, a player starts out with an imaginary $500 with which to buy and sell shares of stock, representing blogs rather than companies. With a few tips, you can build that $500 to $100s of thousands in very short order.
The blogs are maintained in an index, which leads to another level of play. Players can vote blogs into industries, related to the subject or demographics of the blog. Smadanek, for example, is currently included in the index for Delanco (NJ), New Jersey Politics, Local Politics, Conservatism, Americas, USA Education Policy, English, Male, Politics, New Jersey, U.S.A. Politics, Navy, Free-Market Economics, Economics, Military, and Military Service. By voting correctly, players earn chips, which serve as a "social currency" within the game, and karma, which allows the player to eventually become a moderator of votes.
When new posts appear on a blog and Blogshares reindexes it (by visiting with a spider), the blog generates ideas. Ideas are treated as commodities, which can be bought, sold, traded, or used to create artefacts. Ideas also change in value each time an industry creates them, with the possibility of going up or down depending on how rare or common they are.
Once you get to this point in the game, it starts to get fun -- artefacts can be used to manipulate (temporarily) the price of a blog or an entire industry, to buy up all of the publicly available shares, or even to do a hostile takeover.
I've given myself something of a challenge with the game, attempting to push myself as far up the rankings as possible without buying a premium membership. It's tough, because non-premium members are limited to 21 transactions in any 24-hour period, while premiums are unlimited. But still, I'm pretty happy with the results - starting at $500 about 18 months ago, my net worth is now about B$ 1.5 trillion, good enough to crack the top 150 players. Still a long way to go, since the top player has gained almost 10 times that much this month alone.
So, if you like a fun game of building and competition, give BlogShares a try. I've only touched on the basics of the game; there are side competitions, games of chance, raffles, auctions and more awaiting you in this nice little world. Contact me in the game, and I'll get you on the path to a good time.