I’ve just scored an invite to Ello.co – the new social network which is pitching itself as the antidote to the current players with their questionable privacy credentials and tendancies to prioritise advertisements over people’s posts.
Ello describes itself as a “simple, beautiful and ad-free social network”. Ad-free it may be, but it’s beauty is questionable and it’s approach to simplicity seems to be to leave out basic features like a decent search facility or an app.
That Ello is managing to acheive a sign-up rate in the tens of thousands per day, despite it’s shortcomings, is testament to the founders’ ability to growth hack and/or the latent demand for alternatives to Facebook, Google Plus, etc.
There used to be a time when a new social network would have been something that everyone would have had a look at. However, with increased competition and a more mature ‘market’ for networks, they now tend to resemble nightclubs or pubs, defined by their early adopters and growing old with their clientele.
Ello’s ‘vintage’ look is certainly fashionable but to me it feels pretentious (to me, Times New Roman is the true vintage web font!). If social networks were people, this one would have a hipster beard, round-rim specs and no socks (eugh!).
What is certain is the ability to attract eyeballs is still a draw for investors – Ello have just secured $5.5 million funding from Boulder-based Foundry Group.
It’s going to be really interesting to see whether Ello can not only continue to attract-sign-ups but also keep them coming back again and again. Will they avoid becoming another Google Plus with millions of visitors but very few true residents?
They could help themselves by finishing the product.
(and if you’d like to see what all the fuss is about, drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you an Ello invite)