Sep 26, 2014

Can a fee based, ad free social network like Ello succeed?

A lot of us, myself included, complain about social networks like Facebook gathering so much of our personal information and selling it to advertisers. Of course, Facebook has to keep the lights on, and individual users pay nothing to use it. Ello takes the other approach - no ads, but you have to pay them directly for the service. Could the pay-to-use model succeed? Is there enough concern about personal privacy that people are willing to pay for it?

I am not sure, but I'm glad to see somebody...anybody!...going after Facebook. I doubt that Ello could provide a worse user experience than Facebook, or engage in more privacy violations.

So I hope Ello succeeds. A viable alternative to Facebook that isn't Google+ is welcome.

See Forbes' article about Ello versus Facebook:


Some people are willing to pay for increased privacy, but if you are reading ITworld, you are probably a higher information consumer than the average Facebook user and more aware of the issue than the general public. Honestly, the vast majority of people don’t care enough to pay for their social media. I think that Ello will certainly attract a number of people that will enthusiastically embrace and support the network. The question is whether it can attract enough people to pay so that it can, (1) cover its expenses and turn a profit, and (2) keep the cost per customer down to a reasonable amount. I’m not quite so sure that it can do that. Also, if you have a social network that requires each of the people you want to communicate with on a regular basis to also have committed to paying for the service, I’m not sure how successful that will be. 


To be fair, I have not looked into the specifics of Ello’s model. Perhaps they will offer a basic, core experience for free and charge a la carte for the services people want. It seems that the risk there is that only the most popular services/features would be worth supporting. It could work, though I have my doubts. 

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