One of the most common customer complaints about most social networks is advertising. Specifically, many users think that ads on Facebook, Twitter, and the like disrupt the experience of using social media. This complaint is especially common amongst younger people, many of whom move from ad-heavy sites like Facebook to services like Snapchat where ads seem less disruptive. Advertising is present on nearly every social network. Without ads, most social networks, which are free to use, would not make any money. Could a free-to-use social network exist without ads? With Ello, it looks like we are going to find out.
What is Ello?
Well, here’s the manifesto from the fledgling social network (still in Beta):
“Your social network is owned by advertisers.
Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold.
We believe there is a better way. We believe in audacity. We believe in beauty, simplicity and transparency. We believe that the people who make things and the people who use them should be in partnership.
We believe a social network can be a tool for empowerment. Not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate — but a place to connect, create and celebrate life.
You are not a product.”
Ello is a new social network with no advertising. Instead of an ad-driven model, Ello plans to make money by selling extra features directly to users, like “free” apps that use in-app purchases to make money. Ello aims to attract exactly the sort of users who shun ad-heavy sites like Facebook.
While a site that makes its bread and butter on “ad-free” may seem like something advertisers should ignore, content marketers may want to take note of Ello. The manifesto above actually sounds a lot like something you might hear at a content marketing presentation. Ello, should it succeed, may become an ideal place for content marketers to share great new content.
All of this is, of course, hypothetical as Ello is still in beta and can only be used by people with an invite. Will users flock to an ad-free social network? Let us know what you think.
Another trend amongst new social networks: anonymous posting. Learn about Anomo here.