Social media users everywhere are buzzing about the new Vermont based website, Ello. The web-proclaimed “anti-Facebook” site was crafted by seven artists and programmers in Burlington, Vermont and launched this summer.

The sudden appearance of the site left users wondering if Facebook has met its match.

Though it’s still in its beta stages, Ello is leaving an impression on web viewers with its overall demeanor.

The website has grown and has now opened its door to those who get an invite.

Ello Representative Rachel Fukaya said the site is open to those over the age of 13 and who are willing to follow the site’s rules. The rules, Fukaya said, are comprised with common sense and good behavior in mind.

The website’s selling factor, however, is that they are completely ad-free and promise users to not sell any data they receive.

“Because we don’t collect community member data, we have no idea who is using our network. Anecdotally, almost everyone seems to be on good behavior,” Fukaya said.

Assistant Professor for Public Relations at Plattburgh State Rachel Jurek said Ello’s choice is smart marketing.

“It’s a new trend to not collect data. They are using this as leverage in the marketing world. It’s a marketing strategy,” Jurek said.

Ello also has a unique approach to their site in which they do not require users to use their real names. Some consider this policy to be a jab at Facebook, who have recently been slammed for not allowing transgenders use their choice name.

“They wanted to take upon a market that Facebook wasn’t allowing,” Jurek said. “When you market to the LGBTQA community, they are very loyal. Brand loyalty is a big thing and it might become the social media interface for the LGBTQA community,” he said.

The site is still testing new features making it unclear what the future holds for the site.

PSUC student Bobby Dorrian is sceptic to the site finding the same success as Facebook.

“Even though it’s the proclaimed Facebook and Twitter killer, I think it’s going to suffer the same fate that Google Plus had, “ Dorrian said.

PSUC International Business major Mary Farnbach said she thinks Facebook has outlived its time.

“Ello is just a Facebook 2.0. The only thing that it has going for it is that it’s new and shiny,” Farnbach said. “People won’t move away from Facebook if it doesn’t have something cool, new and innovative to go with,” she said.

Though the site doesn’t have anything new to offer, what could be causing the hype is the per invitation only system the site has adopted.

Farnbach believes the exclusivity and curiosity would be what might lure Facebook users to Ello.

“Personally, when I learned about it, I kind of wanted to be invited in to see what it has to offer. It made me curious,” she said.

However, those who join might not be too convinced to drop Facebook all together.

Matt Mitchell has been using the site for a while and is not convinced by what the website has to offer.

“At present, the lack of actual social interaction leaves this as a hindered form of Tumblr rather than a Facebook competitor. I hope it improves. At least Google Plus had a chat feature,” Mitchell said.

One thing seems to be clear:. Ello has a long way to go before it can be compared to Facebook.

“There hasn’t been a site like Facebook, since Facebook. It’s very difficult to compete with the social aspect of it,” Dorrian said.

Email Cierra Patterson at cierra.patterson@cardinalpointsonline.com.

<a href="http://cardinalpointsonline.com/byline/cierra-patterson/" rel="tag">Cierra Patterson</a>

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