A new social networking site avoids ads and elevates design.
Ello is a simple, beautiful, and ad-free social network created by a small group of artists and designers. To my mind, Ello is like any other bootstrap startup. It’s simple, pretty effective at one thing, and simple enough to grasp. Those who try to over-complicate Ello do it a disservice. It’s social, just a different take on what that is, and means.
The contrast is intentional. Created by designer and entrepreneur Paul Budnitz, Ello contends that on social networks like Facebook, we, the users, are the product, as our data is sold to advertisers who hope to entice us with ads in our feeds. Ello, on the other hand, positions itself as an antidote to that: it doesn’t include any ads, and one of several manifestos posted on the site says that those behind Ello “dislike ads more than almost anyone else out there.” It doesn’t sell user data to third parties, either, and you can decide whether or not you want to let it gather information about your own Ello activity to improve the site. To make money, it plans to take up a “freemium” model where it sells features to users.
How Does It Work?
It’s remarkably similar to Twitter, but in a stripped-down kind of way. You can still follow people, but there’s a two-tier following system – true pals get put in your ‘friends’ category while casual acquaintances go into ‘noise’. It’s a good way of separating the wheat from the chaff in your online life and it’s an idea that Twitter should definitely steal NOW.
You can post text, videos and pics (including GIFs and emojis) and, unlike Twitter, you’re not hampered by a character limit. That’s great news if you feel constricted by a 140-character bar but not so great if you don’t fancy seeing massive, ranty essays on your timeline, because that’s totally what’s going to happen.
Who Created Ello?
Ello was originally built by a group of seven well-known artists and programmers as a private social network. Over time, so many people wanted to use Ello that their servers were overwhelmed. They built a public version of Ello for everyone to use.
- Paul Budnitz
Conceives and creates beautiful products that change the world.
- Berger & Föhr
Practice principled graphic design. They believe intention and foresight will shape the future.
@bergerfohr @todd @lucian
- Mode Set
A collective of creative technologists who focus on quality and efficiency. They engineer great software.
@gv @mk @jayzes @cacheflowe
Ad-free Social Network
Ello doesn’t sell ads. Nor do they sell data about you to third parties like any other social networks.
Advertisers run virtually every other social network. Behind the scenes all social networks employ armies of ad salesmen and data miners to record every move you make. Data about you is then auctioned off to advertisers and data brokers. You’re the product that’s being bought and sold by advertisers and social networking sites.
Collecting and selling your personal data, reading your posts to your friends, and mapping your social connections for profit is both creepy and unethical. Under the guise of offering a “free” service, users pay a high price in intrusive advertising and lack of privacy.
Ello team also thinks ads are tacky; that they insult your intelligence and that they are better without them.
Read more about Ello’s no-ad policy here.
Ello is completely free to use.
Ello occasionally offer special features to their users. If they create a special feature that you really like, you may choose to support Ello by paying them a very small amount of money to add that feature to your Ello account.
You never have to pay anything, and you can keep using Ello forever, for free. By choosing to buy a feature now and then for a very small amount of money you support our work and help us make Ello better and better.
When you use Ello we collect some information related to your visit. This information helps Ello understand in a general way that people are using Ello, so they can make your social network better.
Unlike virtually every other social network, on Ello you can opt out of information sharing. Read How Ello Uses Information to learn how.
Ello is currently invitation-only. To join Ello, you need to know someone that is already on the network. Alternatively, you can request an invitation by visiting the Ello Home Page.