Is Ello worth the hype?

The new social network Ello has already been given many names. Whether you know it as Ad-free Facebook or Anti-Facebook, it is clear which other social network people are comparing Ello with. And this is not without a reason. According to Alexa.com, facebook.com has 1.28 billion active users, which makes it the most popular social network of all time. It is expected that different companies will try to dethrone the web giant, and some believe that Ello will be the next big thing. Why? There are a few different reasons; however, the first one is the element of “new and fresh”.test

What is so attractive about Ello?

Ello.co does not try to mimic Facebook or any other popular social network; however, you cannot help but think that it does remind you of something. If you open an already established Ello account, you may find that it comes across as a clean version of Facebook meets Tumblr meets Twitter. The main feature of Ello.co is a news feed which is why it resembles Facebook. Additionally, you are allowed to post big photos (similar to the way tumblr.com works), and you can communicate with your friends with the ‘@[username]’ mentions. Overall, the self-proclaimed “Simple, beautiful & ad-free” social network founded by Paul Budnitz is quite intriguing and people are rushing to sign up.

Right-now Ello is in the invite-only trial phase, which only adds to the hype. The question is – is it worth it? According to the site developers, tens of thousands of invite requests are handled every day, which is quite impressive for a service which has been around for half a year. Some sign up for the service only because it is the new hot thing that everyone is talking about. Others are genuinely interested in what is offered. Finally, there is a group of people who will create an Ello account just because they are tired of Facebook and its ever-changing Privacy Policies. In fact, this is how Ello.co is marketed as well. If you read the manifesto found on the site and click the ‘I Disagree’ button, you would be redirected to the Privacy Policy of facebook.com. Here is an extract from the manifesto.

Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are not a product that’s bought and sold.

We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.

It is clear that advertising feeds the developers of most popular services, which poses a question – how will Ello survive? The company has been hyped so much that different parties are already offering partnerships. For example, FreshTracks Capital has given 435 million USD; however, it is unclear what role the company will play in the game. The developers of the social network suggest that they will generate profit by offering purchasable services, which means that in the future you may be asked to spend some dollars if you want to upgrade your profile, change the background, add more photos, etc. Needless to say, depending on the future associates, the related privacy policies may change. For example, the company may decide to share some information about you.

Will Ello replace Facebook?

The current version of Ello lacks features and does not allow blocking users, which is a window for cyber bullies and stalkers. The company itself trusts third-party servers to store the information you provide and cannot guarantee that this data would be removed if you decided to delete your Ello.co account. Even though you should not rush into signing up for Ello because it is still quite flawed, and there are more questions than answers, this social network surely makes a stand against Facebook. After all, if the predictions of the Princeton’s researchers come true, Facebook will lose over 80% of its users by 2017, which means that there will be a gap to fill. Will Ello be one to do it? We will have to wait to see it.

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