Tuesday, September 30, 2014

ello? Nope.

This was originally going to be a long-ish post about the ins and outs of ello. I got an invite early last week and immediately started playing around with what seemed like a new toy. I spent time learning how to upload, how to post links and gifs and whatever else, and how to use ello. I had lots of notes and was gathering quotes from other newb users, but then I saw something that had me change my mind so much that I deleted my account.

What happened? Well, I learned about their business model (tl;dr is that the people behind the business took money from venture capitalists which means ello might not be selling our information now, but they will almost certainly sell us out later on). There's no mention of the almost $500k they took on their page about why they don't have advertisement on the site. The old truism of "If you're not paying for the product, you are the product," isn't always true, but it's something I keep in the back of my mind when I hear about "free" things. And it came back to me when I learned about the venture capitalism.

The truth is, I should check out these things ahead of time. However, the allure of an ad free, privacy oriented online social network was more than I could resist. I should have known better, really. And okay, I'm a bit of a hypocrite here... I've sold my soul to Android/Google and am 90% comfortable with that. I've also sold my soul to Twitter and Facebook, with varying degrees of comfort. I do have one frequent shopper card... I cringe every time I use it, but I still use it. And now I find out I bought the magic beans again? Again, I say, "nope." And, to quote one of my favorite movies, I say...

Update on 10/2/14: I'm still getting email from them even though I deleted my account and have tried unsubscribing. No, I'm not happy about this.


  1. I'm curious as to what you were (realistically) expecting. Facebook, Twitter, Ello - these are all for-profit businesses who have overhead and employees and need to make money. There are only a few ways they can do that. One way is to charge users for their service. But with so many people on the internet expecting everything to be free, that isn't always a viable business model. So they need to secure advertisers and sell your info in order to make money. Such is the capitalist economy we live in. I'm not sure why Google doing it is okay, and Apple doing it is okay, and Twitter doing it is mostly okay, but Facebook has become this "big bad" and now we're hoping for a magical self-sustaining free service to arrive. You can't get good service for nothing, so you pay with your money or your data.
    Not trying to be deliberately antagonistic, but I've seen this argument a lot and I have a hard time understanding it. I mean, I deleted my Facebook years ago because I decided I wanted less personal info on the internet - but I don't care how Google or Twitter sellers my anonymized data. I just don't want my mom to see it..

    1. I was definitely being naive about ello going into it. I have about the same amount of comfort with Google as I do with Twitter and Facebook and my one frequent shopper card... occasionally really uncomfortable, but usually it's more of a dull ache in the background. I even feel uncomfortable with the kind of information I share on here sometimes. But to be able to participate in modern culture, I have to share some things. I guess my main problem is that ello is trying to sell itself as the anti-big-bad whereas Google and Facebook and Twitter are more upfront about it.