The inter-webs have been abuzz over the last week about a new social media network called Ello. Many have deemed it the “anti-Facebook,” and there is little speculation as to why. Ello creator, Paul Budnitz, describes Facebook as “an advertising platform not a social network.” And if that's not enough, look to the Ello Manifesto (yes, they call it a manifesto) for a more robust explanation…
“Simplicity and transparency” are lovely sentiments, but the bits about coercion and manipulation are a little dramatic for my taste. The bits about data tracking and information sharing are fair statements… In any case, Ello’s creator seems to operate under a lot of assumptions. Budnitz assumes that the general public is largely concerned with online privacy. I would argue that privacy isn’t top of mind for the majority of social media users, and even if it were, how will Ello sustain its growth? According to the MIT Technology Review, Facebook spent about $860 million in 2011 on data center infrastructure and other operating costs. I can only imagine how that figure has grown over the last three years. Facebook sustains its growth with revenue (90% of which is generated via ad sales). How will Ello survive without revenue from ad sales or corporate donations? Perhaps its users will foot the bill… Ultimately time will tell.
The Marketing Connection
So what does any of this have to do with marketing? Ello touts that users will see only the information they want to see… no ads, no algorithms, no promoted posts. The network allows brand/business profiles, but there are little (if any) ways in which to reach a new audience. We won’t be jumping on the Ello bandwagon just yet, but the network is still only a beta version. We definitely look forward to seeing how this one plays out!