Well, ‘ello. Did you know there is an alternative to ad-heavy Facebook? One that doesn’t mine your private information and uses it to clutter your page with commercials?
Yup, it’s Ello. According to their site, Ello is “a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers.” It was originally built as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to join Ello that a public version for everyone to use was built.
The design of the site is indeed simple and beautiful—using Courier as its typeface, with menu bars that can quickly go away when clicked on. Visual content is the focus, and without the mess of ads, the simplicity of the content takes center stage.
But if they don’t have ads, how do they make money? According to the Ello website, “Very soon we will begin offering special features to our users. If we create a special feature that you like, you can choose to pay a very small amount of money to add it to your Ello account forever. We believe that everyone is unique and that we all want and need different things from a social network. So, we are going to offer all sorts of ways for users to customize their Ello experience.”
An article on Betabeat.com states, “Ello is an anachronistic social network designed by Paul Budnitz, designer toy maker, bike builder and author extraordinaire. It’s a social network with a manifesto — a grandiose cry for social networking that empowers people, and against social networks that lie, manipulate you, and treat you like a product.”
The new social network was rolled out this year. “When they started their roll-out in July, Ello got a few sign-ups from the mailing list generated from word-of-mouth buzz. Each day after, they grew twice as large, which ramped up to three times as large each day. Then, after The Daily Dot declared yesterday that ‘the great gay Facebook exodus’ had begun, interest in Ello went nuclear. Ello’s founder told Betabeat that he’s seeing 4,000 new signups each hour. People are frantically tweeting each other about Ello, and traffic on our Ello stories from six months back has exploded,” the Betabeat article states.
Watch this short video by PC Mag about why users who oppose Facebook’s “real name” policy have flocked to Ello instead.
Can anyone join? Sort of. You have to have an invitation from someone already on the network to join. But you can go on their site at ello.co and request an invitation, too.