Ello, the anti-ad social network, has been in many conversations online, mostly on the topic of how Facebook and the likes are owning your content and sell it to advertisers. Ello comes to save the day, offering a social network that is truly yours; and it’s ad free.
Business owners, entrepreneurs and marketers seem don’t really understand Ello. I am one of them.
Ello is so popular, that I decided to try it a few month ago. I’m happy to report that, alas, I still don’t get it. I mean, I understand what the difference between ‘friends’ and noise’; and I understand how to post to Ello, but I don’t get it.
The thing is, it’s pretty much like Facebook in the early days.
You know what, I am an early user of Facebook. Not that early, but Facebook was so quiet at that time. No marketers around 🙂 I was able to converse with a couple of my friends who live abroad. But that’s about it, really. At that time, most of my friends are not on Facebook. It’s all too quiet. Too. Quiet.
On Ello, I have 14 friends and 2 noises. But I don’t even know any of them! I feel… so lonely 🙂 My posts get no response. Even a “stop spamming us with BS” is still a response.
Facebook, at that time, is a true social network – pretty much like Ello today, in my humble opinion. But I don’t get how to use Ello to do anything. Perhaps later on when more of my friends jump ship from Facebook? I don’t know.
The big question is, how long will Ello stay this way? Facebook has departed from a social network for friends and family to a hangout place for friends-slash-marketer’s playground. I’m not complaining – it will happen sooner or later, anyway. Mark Zuckerberg has got to make some money; he has stakeholders to please, too.
That leads to the survivability issue of Ello. If it’s ad-free, how it can support itself? Investors’ money will run out eventually. And I don’t think many investors want a service/product that creates much hype but generates no revenue.
Gary Vaynerchuk, the brash yet lovable investor/entrepreneur/social media guru/wine expert, has talk about it in his video about the future of Ello. In the end, Gary said that there are only two options for Ello to grow: Sell your data or charge you for an account.
I agree with him. I can’t see free services survive for a long time. I was a user of several social networks that went bust – remember Chime.in? Mixx.com? Digg.com? (okay, Digg was resurrected into something else, but still…) and on a smaller scale, BusinessWeek’s BX, and some others that I can’t even remember the name.
So, will Ello fail? Um, I don’t know… I genuinely hope they will thrive and be a strong contender to Facebook. But then, if Ello doesn’t have a sustainable business model (self-supporting via recurring/ongoing income) or bought out by a larger company, I can’t see how it can thrive for a long time. I mean, they did sell T-shirts, but I’m not sure that’s sufficient.
I don’t know about you, but I prefer using Tsu.co over Ello.co. My online friends are there, and I feel like I’m in a home away from home. Facebook is too noisy, Tsu.co is still ‘livable’. And Tsu’s team has done a great job kicking out spammers. And yes, I can do what I love doing – content marketing – on Tsu 🙂
What do you think? Will Ello continue to thrive?