Anti-Facebook Ello attracts thousands but can’t beat Facebook

Ello has become the anti-Facebook of social network sites.

We’ve already detailed that Ello, unlike Facebook, doesn’t collect user data or provide ads in its mobile experience, allowing users to be free to spend time chatting and making connections. For those who’ve been really disturbed by Facebook’s recent moves, Ello provides a fresh alternative to a mobile ad practice that a number of consumers have tired of in the mobile experience.


At the same time, however, Ello does have its problems, among them 1) bugginess in software and 2) the invite-only establishment. These are two major turn-offs that will keep Facebook from losing too many users anytime soon. Facebook’s current setup allows you to log in right away and start chatting, as is the case with Twitter, Pinterest, and other social media networks. Ello says that approximately 31,000 requests for membership per hour are flooding its network – leading to a website overload this weekend. At the same time, however, 31,000 requests for signups aren’t necessarily the same thing as actual signups. With Facebook’s 1 billion user base that’s already signed up, Ello’s got some room to grow.

Can Ello beat Facebook? Not at this point. While a number of individuals feel that Ello, without typical mobile ads, will become a thriving social media network, it’ll take a while. Not only are the numbers not even in the same circle, but Facebook has the advantage of being the top social network site to beat. Just about everyone you know has a Facebook account, and, even if you ditch Facebook for Ello, not all of your friends and family care to do so.

Next, Ello present may not be the same as Ello future. That is to say that what the social network is now may not remain the same, but change over time. Google waited until its Gmail service grew in popularity before bringing mobile ads to smartphones and tablets (despite the existence of ads on PC).

T-Mobile’s UNCarrier campaign became so successful that the company decided to raise its $70 unlimited 4G LTE data plan and provide an $80 LTE plan that wouldn’t include throttled data; the $70 data plan is now considered old and obsolete, but current users still maintain access to it. New users, however, must rely on the carrier’s $80 plan.

And, as is the case with Facebook, the company decided to perform its social experiment after dominating as the top social network worldwide – a sign that the company’s growth in popularity allowed it to do what few other social networks can (and will) get away with.

Ello has all the best intentions in the world, but we’ve seen social networks change policies and practices when they grow beyond others and seem to have a winning formula. As the statement goes, “absolute power corrupts absolutely.”