A quick primer on Ello. Go ahead, angle for an invite, but don’t quit FB just as yet!
Circa 2006, you were probably reacting in one of the following three ways to an impending Internet apocalypse:
- I don’t need another social network, I already have Orkut!
- I haven’t used Orkut in ages, why would I move to yet another social network?
- Oooh shiny! Love the blue!!
Whether you were an early adopter or one of the last holdouts, you’re definitely part of the circle now. You could be an oversharer, or one of those with multiple layers of privacy settings. Or maybe you’re one of the millions who never post an update ; using social networks only to stalk old significant exes. But given that 71% of online adults are on Facebook, chances are that it pervades your life in one way or another.
Of late though, the blue has been loosing its sheen. Not just because your parents are on it, but also because of blatant advertising; and allegations of misuse of user data.
Well, say hello to Ello.
Before you scream in excitement (or despair) here’s what you need to know:
1. No ads
3. No need to use your real name (Welcome back into my life Iruag Jane)
4. A commitment to not using your information
5. A Zero Tolerance Hate Policy (Sorry Modi fans). As the site says:
This includes any form of hate, trolling, stalking, spamming, flaming, impersonating others, harming children, pornography, or any other behavior designed to hurt another person physically or emotionally.
6. No one has sent us an invite so far.
So should you request an advise, or wait and watch? Well, there are a couple of things that worry us:
1. Remember AOL’s Bebo? Or Path? There’s a reason that no really new social media network has replaced Facebook for so long. And at least some of that has to do with an inertia amongst its users. Also it is quite likely that any new network will skew younger making you (sorry), too old for it.
2. Facebook didn’t have Ads in the beginning as well. And as this astute story from Vox.com points out,
….Ello has taken venture capital financing to the tune of $435,000. The Vermont firm that financed them announced the deal in March, right before Ello relaunched. VCs, unlike Kickstarter campaigns and angel investors, don’t just give money away. They dole out money with the expectation that there will be a monetary return on it, which means that even though Ello is currently ad-free, they are also tied to a venture capital firm that expects to make a profit on their investment.
Ello says it’s planning to make money by offering users premium features to those who pay for them. This business model could generate enough revenue to preserve the site’s ad-free ethos. But there’s no guarantee the site won’t change its mind and begin selling ads once it has a broad user base.
Facebook was a “product-first” company for years before it morphed into the advertising giant that it is today. There’s no telling whether or not the same would not happen to Ello were it to take off.
Ultimately, while we aren’t quite sure if Ello is the way out, we do believe that sooner or later Facebook will run its course (just like everything else before it). We are already tiring of the baby pics, and the eerily prescient advertisements, and the needlessly provocative political discourse. As Ruby J Murray on the Guardian points out:
We’re no longer internet infants. We can build pretty nice houses for ourselves if we aren’t busy looking in the mirror, mounted in a room where the walls are painted a gentle blue that we’re not allowed to touch.
Ello might not be “the one.” But it’s becoming clear that the teen years are upon us all, and we really want to move out.
As Internet users grow wiser, so will the products that best appeal to them.