Ello received a lot of praise last month when it made headlines for being the first real social network that would be without ads, and now the social networking site has over a million users to back up their legitimacy. According to the company, who recently became a Public Benefits Corporation, Ello also has 3 million awaiting-users, who are excited, and ready to join the ranks of the social network.
It’s hard to say right now which bigger news is here. On one hand, the company received $5.5 million in funding, thanks to some venture capitalists that don’t like the way Facebook plays their game. While, on the other hand, the company did just become a Public Benefits Corporation. That’s big because it means the company can never make money from selling ads or user data to potential advertisers. As it reads, no current owner or future acquirer of the company can profit from ads on the social network.
While new signups and user activity has tailed off slightly, the ad-free business is what is truly drawing in investors like the Foundry Group, Techstars Bullet Time Ventures, and FreshTracks Capital. The company though does have a plan in terms of making money. The company intends to make money the same way the Apple App Store does. The concept is that while users will not be charged for using the app itself, more features, or more unique features at least – will become premium services, and in-effect create a scenario where users become customers at their will, or at their own personal usage level.
It’s an interesting concept that could definitely work for the company moving forward as long as the hype remains there for the company. Balancing use, traffic, and interaction on the site is obviously important, and right now, it could actually be worse for the company to take longer to get users in through their invite system, than the shaky interface of the site – which has been criticized regularly.
Many have suggested that getting the bugs worked out of the system is far more important, than anything else the company could be doing, especially with how quickly users are pouring in. It was noted that at its peak in September, the company was receiving 40,000 requests an hour to join the social network.