Ello, there! You might remember some of the rather controversial things Facebook has been up to in recent times. Earlier this year Facebook was all over the news after it was exposed that they had been tampering with and manipulating its users news feeds in order to measure whether the viewing of negative posts would cause an emotional response.
This little experiment, it was later claimed, had nothing to do with market research for advertisers but the fact remains that nearly 70,000 users became laboratory guinea pigs without permission or even any knowledge of the project. There was huge backlash as a result and Facebook went into damage control.
Facebook collects all sorts of data from its users.
If you’re signed into Facebook and go wandering about on the net, Facebook tracks you and compiles all sorts of information about your viewing habits. Whenever you visit a website with a Facebook like or share button (that’s nearly every website in 2014), then this information is logged. Simply liking a company or post showcasing a product can sometimes result in the news of your interaction appearing in your friends’ timelines as an advertisement.
Although there are 1.32 billion monthly users and there have been 4.5 billion likes since May 2013, Facebook developments continue to provoke criticisms from some users.
Paul Budnitz is the founder of Ello, a brand new alternative to Facebook that is growing in popularity amongst the social media elite. Its major selling-point is simple, really: there is no advertising, absolutely zilch.
Forty-seven year-old Budnitz decided to launch Ello in the wake of a very damaging winter for Facebook. The initial aim was to cut out the ads and offer a social platform for users to connect with smaller circles of friends online.
Since its launch only weeks ago, the tech-savvy are gathering at the walls of Ello in droves, trying to break down the gates. If that doesn’t quite make sense, it’s because we haven’t yet explained one of the strange drawcards of the new network—it’s steadfast exclusivity. The only way to get access to Ello is to be invited to join by an existing user. The exclusive nature of this club hasn’t deterred people from wanting in, however, with some 31,000 requests filtering in from all over the world each hour.
Will Facebook crumble under the infant feet of Ello? Some commentators are sceptical, especially since Facebook has such a foothold on the market.
With Ello’s impressive introduction to the social arena it’s interesting to note the demand for an advertisement-free online social space. This correlates with recent trends towards alternative forms of less disruptive and less invasive marketing techniques.
With the exclusivity of Ello, the influencer and the content they produce may become more of a commodity for marketers than ever before. At this early stage, it’s more a case of time will tell. While the potency of the traditional advertisement may flounder, what is clear is that focus towards creative content marketing is set to grow.
An invite-only policy may seem like ‘social madness’ and there are many out there who agree. The general murmurs among the tech elite fall into two distinct categories: the ‘Ello has great potential and will take-off in a big way’ camp and the ‘sure, it has potential but it’s lacking some major functions’ crew.
While Ello won’t track your activity and sell the data to advertisers, the network currently has no real privacy options in place. Profiles are public and users can’t be blocked. Ello have claimed that this is something they’re working on for future updates but, as it stands, your information is pretty vulnerable.
Ello also lacks an app for mobile devices, something that is a must in our modern consumer culture. Australians now devote 52% of their screen time to mobile devices and social media app use ranks amongst the top mobile behaviours.
Whatever you think about Ello, it’s certainly creating some buzz. For us at Infodec Communications, we’ve been very interested in monitoring its progress as a new social platform.
We are a communications agency that develops and executes penetrating marketing campaigns for businesses all over Australia. Publishing cutting-edge content via social media platforms has become an essential part of an integrated communications strategy and, with some polish, Ello may even give Facebook a decent run for its money.
Contact us today for more information on how social media marketing can generate greater exposure, build positive consumer relationships and drive future sales for your business.