Say Ello to a new so­cial net­work

The in­vite-only ser­vice claims to be an an­ti­dote to Face­book and Twit­ter. But is it too good to be true?

The Irish Times - Friday - The Ticket - - TICKET STUBS - JIM CAR­ROLL

Do you need another so­cial net­work in your life? If you’re grow­ing in­creas­ingly un­easy about how much data Mark Zucker­burg and his Face­book bros hold about your life (and what they’re do­ing with it), you may well be in the mar­ket for a new way to com­mu­ni­cate with your friends.

En­ter Ello, an in­vite-only so­cial net­work that seeks to ad­dress the is­sues that have turned many peo­ple off Face­book and Twit­ter.

There are no ads, the company be­hind it say that your data won’t be flogged to the high­est bid­der, and users don’t have to dis­close their real names.

Man­i­festo

There’s also a man­i­festo with much talk about “beauty, simplicity and trans­parency”.

Th­ese may be niche con­cerns for many, but there’s enough in that niche to get Ello on to the pitch.

Of course, all the talk about not tak­ing ads or sell­ing data is fine at the start. But with Ello ex­pe­ri­enc­ing 31,000 ex­pres­sions of in­ter­est an hour last month when the site’s pro­file spiked (it’s claim­ing 50,000 sign-ups a day), there’s go­ing to come a time when cash will be re­quired to keep the ma­chines on.

Ello re­ceived ven­ture cap­i­tal fund­ing of $435,000 be­fore the site was launched last March, but it re­mains to be seen if more in­vestors will come on­board to keep the site ad-free.

How­ever, th­ese ven­ture cap­i­tal­ists will re­quire re­turns on their in­vest­ment, and it will be in­ter­est­ing to see how its founder, bike shop owner Paul Bud­nitz, and his team will man­age to square that cir­cle.

If ads do be­gin to ap­pear on the net­work, will the early adopters bolt for the hills?

For now though – as with Face­book when it started out – it’s about sim­ply get­ting inside the ex­clu­sive club.

Ell of a time Ad-less and data tight

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