Hello Ello, Goodbye Facebook?
Over the past week the internet has been abuzz over the “Next Facebook” or the “Facebook Killer,” a new social network called Ello. Ello was founded in March of this year and is currently in a closed beta, meaning that the website is not fully functional and not everyone can sign up. Instead users must be invited by existing members, and many of the features of the site are currently simply promises. So why all the buzz about a social network that hasn’t firmly taken roots with members and is not even truly done being built? The main reason is that Ello has been very aggressive in voicing that their social network differs from others because ad revenue is not their primary focus. The Ello manifesto begins by saying “Your social network is owned by advertisers” and goes from there. Ello makes money without advertisements, by charging for “premium features” which have not yet become apparent. The Ello revenue model runs counter to the typical social network model of gaining revenue through advertisements targeted at users. Ello also attempts to differentiate itself from the crowd by promoting privacy; Ello does not not require members to display their actual names or share any information they do not wish to share, and allows for accounts to be fully deleted rather than merely deactivated which is often the case with other social networks.
So is Ello really a “Facebook Killer”? The short answer is probably not. Aside from not being complete, Ello feels more like a Twitter competitor than a viable candidate to combat one of the world’s largest social networks. As was seen with the launch of Google+, and the revamped Myspace, getting a social network off of the ground is very difficult, especially when some critical features are missing. The list of Ello features that are “Coming Soon” include a notification center, video integration, ability to repost, multimedia commenting, private messaging, and mobile applications. These features are things that most users have come to expect from a social networking experience and will definitely hinder Ello’s ability to grow. Despite these shortcomings, Ello is definitely a different experience that is worth trying. Only time will tell if Ello will truly make a name for itself, or join the long list of ambitious failed social networks.
To request an invitation to join Ello go to https://ello.co/request-an-invitation.