Working in digital marketing, it's part of my job to keep new social platforms on my radar. In September, there was some pretty significant movement towards one called Ello, the "simple, beautiful & ad-free social network". Ello was introduced as the anti-Facebook: less noise, more privacy, no ads or selling your information, and more bearded hipsters. But Ello is not going to be around long for the simple reason that although people generally hate Facebook ads, they don't hate them enough.
Life is a series of tradeoffs.
We're all pretty comfortable with that fact by now. Don't want to walk everywhere? Buy a car, buy car insurance, buy gas. It's a tradeoff I'm okay with. It takes me 6 minutes to get to work. In a lot of situations, tradeoffs are about money. But a lot of times they're not.
We're already comfortable trading our information.
I collect Shoppers Drug Mart Optimum points. I didn't pay for my Optimum card, but I told them things about myself in exchange for it. When I buy something and they scan that card, I'm collecting points that equal dollars that I can spend in store (... like $10 off, 13 years from now, AMAZING!) What do they get? Loyalty and insight. For a very small cost to them (about $10, 13 years from now), they now know a lot about a 24 year old female living in my specific neighbourhood. They know what products I buy, which brands, how often, which products I tend to buy together...the list goes on. They use my information to make money. It's a tradeoff I'm okay with ... someday I'll redeem those points for a bottle of shampoo and half an Essie nailpolish.
How does this concept apply in the digital world?
I also use Facebook. I didn't pay for my account or any of its features, but I did tell them things about myself in exchange for it. In return, Facebook provides me with a pretty awesome user experience. And judging by the sheer size and momentum of the platform, a few of you must agree.
Great things cost money to build.
There is a huge, wicked-smart team of humans that go to work every day to continue building and improving Facebook for us. That team, their technology and their infrastructure costs money, and lots of it. To pay the bills, they use my information (and yours) to sell ads to advertisers. It's a tradeoff I'm okay with... I get to keep using a great social network that all my friends are on without spending a cent.
Enter Ello, the idealist's social media platform.
The user experience doesn't even come close to comparing-how could it? They don't have the money to build the team that creates that phenomenal Facebook-level user experience. Eventually they plan to make money with a "freemium model" (offering extra features for a small fee) but paying is a pain, and something we aren't accustomed to doing on social. We're used to having it all, for free.
The bottom line.
For Ello to work, people would have to prefer the tradeoff of paying money for a service over the tradeoff of simply tolerating a few Facebook ads for a better service. This is why they won't have enough users jumping the Facebook ship.
The bottom, bottom line.
Who wants to post a picture of their Sunday brunch on Ello if no one is there look at it? Nobody. Exit Ello. Tradeoffs make the world go 'round.