Ello is the hype nowadays. The ad-free social network has just raised a $5.5 million venture capital funding to help the company work on the backend architecture and offer fewer glitches when users try to log in.
Am I oversimplifying it? Nope. Ello has been getting so much attention and has been growing in the tens of thousands for the past couple of weeks. People seem to be lured by the promise that their data will not be shared with anyone. It’s simply promised on the setting up account screen – “You are not a product.”
Although it is admirable, I can’t help but think what is down the road… So there are these venture capitalists pouring money into the social network. How would they get their return on investment? Will Ello at some point introduce some kind of a subscription model and try to get these $5.5 million back with some cream on top? Will the company be able to pay the guys that keep the platform running and offer them more than a dead-end job with no prospects to progress technologically, financially or any other way that moves them? How? What? When? Who?
These are quite many questions… And yet the people behind Ello say that they are here to stay. I very much would like to learn what they have in mind. How do they sell the idea of not generating revenue through selling ads in this cruel social world? Facebook has been doing it for years. Twitter started recently. Google+ doesn’t have it, but hey, Google Inc. can afford it.
Last April I wrote “You Are The Product, Stupid!” and I meant it. Now it seems I would need to rethink a thing or two. If someone believes that they can deliver experience without poaching user data or smashing my face with remarketing ads, by all means, I am in. Ello tickles me both as a digital marketing professional and as a user interested in data privacy. Schizophrenically put, right? I know. But what we have and what we dream of are two very different things in most cases.
Is it possible to have an ad-free social network? How do you think Ello’s going to do it? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!
More reading on this topic: “Ello Raises $5.5 Million to Grow Its Ad-Free Social Network” by Re/Code
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