With Facebook’s recent profile name crackdown, in which they’ve been asking drag queens, entertainers, the transgender community, illegal immigrants and many other groups for a scanned copy of their identification card to prove their legal name, could this be the beginning of the end for this social media giant?
Ello, a young social network, has received a massive number of signups since the Facebook backlash began. “I think we’re getting roughly around 35,000 signups per hour,” said CNET social media editor Ian Sherr in a recent interview, “which is pretty big, but it’s nothing close to 1.3 billion that Facebook is living in.”
While other social networks, including the niche drag queen website Dragbook, have attempted to take advantage of this recent Facebook backlash, most pale in comparison to the growth currently being witnessed by Ello.
The biggest difference between Facebook and Ello, aside from allowing users to choose their profile names, is that the 6-month-old social network promises to never show you an ad and never share you personal information. Ever.
[quote]Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do we sell data about you to third parties.”[/quote]
The website, which is still in beta mode and only accessible with an invite, says it isn’t attempting to directly compete with Facebook. “Taking on Facebook, which is a multi-billion dollar company, that is hard,” added Sherr, “and it’s smart of Ello to say, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to do that. We’re trying to offer a niche alternative around privacy and promising you we will never show you an ad.'”
While the social network may still be struggling with membership numbers, some users have already found a large fan base. User @Maggie, a “fashion curator and master eye roller,” has already amassed more than 7,200 followers and is currently featured on the site’s ‘Discover’ page.
How then, instead of using ad-based revenue, will Ello be sustainable in the long run? The answer is simple: selling special features. In the future, Ello plans to offer occasional special features which can be purchased for a small fee. However, according the the website’s ‘About’ page, “You never have to pay anything, and you can keep using Ello forever, for free. By choosing to buy a feature now and then for a very small amount of money you support our work and help us make Ello better and better.”
Only time will tell if Ello will remain sustainable, but we are optimistic. Check out Ello.co for yourself (if you haven’t already) and, if you decide you want to join, you can always try asking your Facebook friends! (Feels a bit ironic, doesn’t it?)