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Ello: marketing themselves as anti-Facebook

Ello: marketing themselves as anti-Facebook

When promoting a new product, the obvious move would be to extol its virtues. Being negative about competitors may be tempting, but ultimately your own image will suffer. Ello is a fairly new social networking platform, built by artists and designers. It's extremely plain and basic, and has suddenly found a whole army of LBTG fans following their mass exodus from Facebook following demands for accounts like Lil Miss Hot Mess to provide ID to show they are using their real name then shutting them down. To say the website's rise to fame has been stratospheric would be an understatement. In early August, 90 or so were using it. They are now dealing with over a million requests per day to join.

Facebook have since issued an apology and explanation for shutting down accounts whilst stating they will look into how their real-name policy needs to change.

Real names are not necessary on Ello. There is no advertising and a promise by the founders to keep all your data private, it will never be sold to advertisers.

The small team beavering away 24 hours a day to make Ello work are providing an interesting product. A huge amount has been written about why they will work - no clutter, no ads, confidence in data not being mined. A huge amount has also been written about why it won't work - an inability to block users from following you, not enough privacy, how is it going to fund itself without ads?

It's great publicity for Ello, its good to open up debate about data mining and it's always interesting to watch a new platform emerge to fill a gap in the market. But surely the worst way to project yourself is by slating others in the same market, instilling fear into potential customers. 'Your social network is owned by advertisers.....you are not a product.' Particularly when Ello has in fact been funded by FreshTracks Capital, a Vermont based Capital Venture firm. What's worse? Being owned by advertisers or a venture capitalist? It depends what you want from your social media platform. Many like the targeted ads on Facebook and respond to them. Some don't. If Ello wants to stand alone in the crowded world of social media, it's probably best to concentrate on what they are doing well at and not waste time berating awe inspiringly successful sites like Facebook. If you haven't got anything good to say, don't say anything at all.


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