“Simple, beautiful and ad-free.” That’s the description that greets you on Ello’s homepage.
And indeed, Ello, the new kid on the social network block, is simple in its black and gray design.
“Unlike Facebook, which rages with status updates, trending topics, and ads imploring me to click on things my friends “like,” Ello is quiet and calm,” said Rachel Metz on MIT Technology Review.
But the overall look and design of Ello is just one feature that distinguishes it from other social networking sites, like Facebook. The big difference is that Ello, based in Burlington, Vermont, is ad-free, and it intends to stay that way. Ello founder Paul Budnitz told The Christian Science Monitor:
“I think there is a misperception among some naive people that think this site will [eventually] sell data or advertising. It will never do that. There should be no doubt about that.”
Dubbed the “anti-Facebook,” Ello opened to the public Aug. 7 with 90 users. The site is invite-only, but the Monitor said it already has more than 1 million users. It also receives up to 50,000 invite requests an hour.
“The site is still in Beta testing, with the team working around the clock to catch up with growth, meaning the site is admittedly buggy,” the Monitor said.
So, how does Ello plan to keep the site going without advertising revenue? Budnitz said Ello users will soon be able to buy different features to use on the site.
It’s sort of like buying an iPhone that’s empty. Everyone buys apps to customize it. Ello is simple on purpose. You can customize it anyway you want with features. We are applying it to a social network.
“Ello is a wakeup call to Facebook and Twitter, and a sign of hope for fast-rising upstarts Pinterest and Snapchat,” columnist Jeff Yang wrote on CNN. He added that Ello may be the answer for the many users frustrated with current social networking sites and looking to try something new.
It’s still too early to tell if Ello will be a winner with users. But it does appear that the site is off to an exciting start.
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