Being a proponent of free market capitalism myself, I cannot help but champion the ERX Stock Exchange as an absolute triumph; however, rather than raving madly about how much I love it, allow me to offer a few key reasons as to why the ERX is a service not to be missed.
Due to the fast-paced nature of stock trading, I quickly grabbed a bit of spare gold from my t'jelle account (t'jelle being one of the ERX's main backers) and I started a very diverse portfolio, really trying to spread out my investments so that I could be almost guaranteed some kind of positive return; or, at the very least, I wanted the comfort of breaking even. My point is, I invested a lot of money in a lot of shares from numerous low-cost companies. Having such a diverse portfolio with vast numbers of shares, I expected the delivery of my orders to take a while, so I sat back, browsed for a while, purchased a few shares here and there, and relaxed as I opened my first ePortfolio - after all, I assumed that a long wait lay ahead.
When I finally finished purchasing my stocks, however, I decided to take a look at the "Your Portfolio" tab; much to my surprise, some of my investments had already been delivered! We're talking hundreds of shares in a matter of minutes. Sure, there are thousands of shares out there, but one must admit that it's pretty classy of them to be so quick about it. The fact is, I'm willing to bet that the ERX is processing an incalculable number of transactions right now, which would slow down a lot of sites due to the enormous amount of traffic; even in the face of pressure, however, the ERX doesn't disappoint. Their service ensures quality by delivering quantity - and quickly. From my first impression (arguably one's most important experience with something new), I'm certain that the ERX page is one that I will be visiting frequently. The service they offer is efficient, expedient, and excellent. Don't miss out on it.
2. User-friendliness and Accessibility
Most user-created services are mangled, buggy, and outright confusing; however, ERX's streamlined interface and easy-to-navigate tab system make the site a joy to use, if not a bit addicting. Before anything else, one must go through the short process of registering, which takes approximately thirty to sixty seconds, maximum. Once you register, you're free to navigate.
The first place you'll want to look at is the "Your Portfolio" tab. This tab acts as a sort of "hub" page, and lets you do almost anything. Of course, there's the basic portfolio, showing what stocks you own, the value of each share, and the quantity of stock you own; however, there is also a section showing which stocks you've ordered, the share value of each, and the quantity; additionally, there are a couple of different action buttons which add to the tab's functionality - without elaboration, I'll say simply that you can sell what you own, buy more of what you already have, and even cancel any orders in progress which haven't already been delivered. This section of the page includes nearly all of the relevant information that you'll need to maintain a strong portfolio.
If one looks up at the top of the page, however, he will notice a large graph which keeps track of the current total ERX value (in gold, the system's unit of exchange); currently, ERX value sits at slightly over 123 gold - and this is just day one. Additionally, this graph comes with a neat ticker which keeps track of increases and decreases in market value, in addition to self-updating every thirty minutes or so, in addition to the updates brought about by simply refreshing the page. Another nice feature is the up-to-date news function, which shows current reports on the value and such of different stocks and organizations within the exchange. The graph isn't the primary purpose of the Portfolio page, but it's a fantastic flourish which does its job well. The page definitely isn't hurting as a result of it.
Another tab of interest is the "All Stocks" tab which, as the name suggests, lists all of the current stocks in the ERX Exchange. The information concerning each organization is separated into individual rows for each organization, and is listed in this order: Organization name, stock symbol assigned by ERX, share value, country of origin, "listed since" date, and more action buttons. These buttons include: "view", which takes users to a page dedicated to the organization, listing information like the owner's name, the type of company it is, number of available shares, and so forth. This button is especially useful for investors wanting to do their own research. On top of that, you have your basic buy and sell buttons, which function as one would expect them to.
There are other tabs at the top of the page, but I'll let you discover those on your own. At the bottom of the page, however, are a couple other nifty features: there is a clock (which follows eRepublik time), a tab to keep track of (and manage) your Gold, and a search bar, which allows you to look up any company in the exchange, and bring up relevant information in case you want to look before you buy. Honestly, anyone who considers himself knowledgeable in economics or a proficient investor will want to make full use of all of the ERX's various features. The best part about them is, none of them are useless. Each one serves an important purpose, and each gives you another reason to give the ERX a try.
There isn't quite as much to say here, but there are some important things to be said. This service is reliable; that is to say, they aren't going to steal your money and run. For those of you who have worked with t'jelle (in terms of maintaining a bank account), you understand how easy it is to trust the hardworking staff, and know that your investments are safe with them. In the same way, I would certainly vouch for ERX's credibility, knowing that some very dedicated people have worked to make the system functional, including the t'jelle staff, and a few other high-profile names whom I don't need to mention (they know who they are, and they didn't do the project for the publicity).
I've heard a lot of stories about banks who simply take their investors' money and disappear, and others who pretend to experience "technical errors", and apologize for being unable to allow withdrawal of funds. With the ERX, though, we're looking at a revolutionary new system that operates entirely based on the free market - it's an exchange of value for value, making this an absolutely trustworthy system, unless we happen to crash it ourselves. So, don't be shy: you can invest without fear (though, technically, the stock market is an inherent gamble... go figure).
The Bottom Line
This service is absolutely amazing. From my first impression, I couldn't find any real flaws with the system. Perhaps what I see is atypical, but I can only review my own experiences. I have to reiterate how easy this system makes it to bask in the glory of the free market, because it was so well done. I can honestly say that this system, barring any kind of horrific crash, is going to play a huge part in eConomics for a long time to come; and, if you happen to miss out on this opportunity, you would be missing out on what is arguably one of the best user-made game modules I've ever had the pleasure of trying out. Go out, register, and start a portfolio. I guarantee that you won't regret it.