Ello takes on Facebook in social network market
Eight weeks ago, Paul Budnitz launched a social network called Ello, meant to serve as an “anti-Facebook.” The site’s mission has been stated to be a counter to the “advertising platform” that Budnitz believes Facebook has become.
“Users are products at Facebook,” Budnitz said. “They want to know as much as possible to advertise to you.”
Ello was launched with the idea that users would only see what they wish to see, claiming that the site will not be as cluttered with ads and statuses as Facebook, nor will it be a competitor to Facebook.
Instead, Budnitz hopes that Ello will be an ad-free “antidote” to Facebook, where users will not have to worry about having their information sold to third parties.
Ello gained widespread attention when traffic to the site increased after Facebook banned drag queen users for not using their real names on their Facebook profiles.
As a result, Ello earned a flooding of emails from members of the LGBTQ community asking if they would be allowed to use whatever names they wanted while on the networking site.
In addition, many users are signing up as a result of FOMO (“fear of missing out”). This expanded Ello’s user request population to 31,000 users an hour, and it’s still growing.
Ello’s interface is simple, with much more white space in contrast to Facebook’s cluster of ads and status updates. Users are able to friend or block other users by dragging profile pictures into either the friends or noise categories. Feeds from both categories can be viewed with a click of a mouse.
However, some users have expressed concerns about Ello, namely about its aesthetics and functionality.
Many users have claimed that Ello’s lack of ads is the only feature that sets it apart from other social media sites, such as Twitter and Tumblr.
One such user, freshman Joseph Tomlin, also voiced his complaints about the confusing nature of Ello’s posting system.
“A ton of the buttons aren’t as self-explanatory as one might think,” Tomlin said. “They’re super hard to see against the background and one wrong click can get you in huge trouble. I once accidentally deleted one of my friends’ comments and he thought he said something wrong.”
In addition, there is a large concern about the lack of a “Like” button, a prominent Facebook feature that helped contribute to the popularity of the site.
Currently, Budnitz considers Ello to still be in beta-testing. The site has several glitches that have yet to be smoothed out, and many users are clamoring for features that are not yet implemented into the site.
Budnitz hopes to take on a freemium approach, meaning he will charge users money to use special features of the site, such as the ability to control several profiles on one account. The intent for such features is to supplement incoming funds due to the lack of ads.
Longtime Facebook user and sophomore Emily Klapp does not think much of the new social media website.
“It’s just another social media website,” Klapp said. “As it is, I’m already a Facebook user and am perfectly happy with what I have. There doesn’t seem to be any point in transferring over to another new site, especially if it intends to exclude people from it.”
Junior Christopher Vanek is also a longtime user of Facebook and Google Plus and is not impressed by the new new social network.
“There really isn’t anything special about it, except for the lack of ads,” Vanek said. “Sure, I do prefer it over Facebook, but in the end, I think Google Plus is the better site.”
Ello is still a budding social network, with a user base that is growing every day. As of right now, users may only join through invitation, which may be requested on the Ello website.