It’s been four days since Ello.co exploded our Facebook newsfeed and Twitter streams with the select few creating profiles on the “anti-Facebook” social network. Waiting for an invite to Ello initially reminded me of Google Wave—everyone worked up about trying to get in, calling on strangers and old acquaintances to score an invite. Invites were even going for as high as $100 on the black market.
The site launched just a month ago with about 90 people. Paul Bunditz, creator of Ello.co, said he and his team of seven are now approving up to 40,000 new user requests per hour. While the site is in beta, people are flocking to join the waitlist.
If you’re waiting to get your invite or considering how your business may utilize this ad-free social hub, consider a couple thoughts before you abandon your Facebook and Twitter followers for the new girl at school.
Ad free doesn’t mean noise free
Many complaints about Facebook stem from their incessant advertising and clogging newsfeeds with unwanted ads from businesses you don’t care to follow. Ad-free won’t keep businesses out, nor should it.
Businesses will need to be very intentional about the value they offer the audience they want to attract. Like Twitter or Tumblr, profiles can friend (follow) any profile without the other profile’s permission. Ello says they will add the ability to make your profile private in future upgrades, but for now, brands have a great chance to build a large audience.
Be careful, though. Ello gives users the options to mark their followers as friends or “noise,” which instantly segregates those noisy followers into their own list. Over-sharing, posting content unrelated to your audience, or not engaging with your fan base will quickly put you in the noise column.
Ello will need to make money; it just won’t do it through ads
Ello’s manifesto totes a fight club-esque attack on sites like Facebook and Twitter that sell their users’ social behavior to advertisers. While Ello’s promise not to sell your data is bold and wonderful, it did receive $435,000 in seed funding from the Vermont firm FreshTracks Capital. I’ve never met an investor that doesn’t expect a return on the cash they put up.
While Ello may not sell your data, they will have to push something on you to keep their lights and heat on. Tumblr has demonstrated that you can do this without advertising, but it has also shown businesses that brands cannot expect the same size of followers or revenue as sites that offer targeted advertising.
The good news? Ello is in the right place at the right time.
Ello may not be a Facebook-killer, but the fact that tens of thousands of people are waiting to join a social network they’ve never seen shows us that people want something different. Ello gives us that.
Are you wanting to check out Ello.co? Kitterman Marketing has two invites to hand out. Put your email address in the comments below and we will select two, at random, to receive an invite!
Kyle is a search engine marketing and social media strategist with over 10 years’ experience in website optimization, search engine marketing, and digital marketing tactics designed to build community and increase engagement.