So­cial net­work Ello launches mo­bile app

Los Angeles Times - - BUSINESS - By Sa­man­tha Ma­sunaga sa­man­­ Twit­ter: @sma­sunaga

Ello’s mo­bile app will hit the Ap­ple App store Thurs­day, about eight months af­ter the ad-free so­cial net­work launched as an in­vi­teonly al­ter­na­tive to Face­book.

The de­layed move to mo­bile was a con­scious de­ci­sion, Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Paul Bud­nitz said. Ello’s An­droid and Win­dows apps will launch this sum­mer.

“Start­ing up a so­cial net­work is kind of like, for us, hav­ing a party with­out any­one in the room,” he said.

“We re­ally wanted to make sure the first peo­ple who were in Ello re­ally set the tone in the right way.”

Ello started as a pri­vate so­cial net­work con­nect­ing about 90 peo­ple who were tired of the clut­ter, data col­lec­tion and al­go­rithms on other sites, Bud­nitz said. He said most of the net­work’s users are artists.

Ello is a public ben­e­fit cor­po­ra­tion and does not sell users’ per­sonal data to third par­ties, ac­cord­ing to the com­pany.

Bud­nitz said the com­pany would not re­lease the spe­cific num­ber of users un­til Ello was out of beta mode, but said it was in the mil­lions.

About half of the users are in the U.S., with the other half com­ing from coun­tries in­clud­ing Bri­tain, Ger­many, In­dia, Brazil, France and most re­cently, Ja­pan, he said.

The net­work ended its in­vi­ta­tion-only pol­icy in May. The mo­bile app will in­clude func­tions such as push no­ti­fi­ca­tions and search.

This year Ello plans to roll out a so­cial e-com­merce func­tion in which users can sell items di­rectly to their fol­low­ers.

Sellers can take a photo of the items they want to sell, draw a box around the im­age and add a price, Bud­nitz said.

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