Ello, a startup social network that declared “You are not a product” in an attempt to gain users, received a lot of attention toward the end of last year. Ello’s founder Paul Budnitz seems to think that Ello is only getting started, but as with all hyped social networks, there are detractors waiting in the wings to take its place and to declare it already over.
Budnitz told ReadWrite in an interview:
Our mobile app is deep in development. That should be coming out fairly soon. When that comes out, we may come out of beta and the invitation only practice at that time, but we’re not sure. I think we’re about two thirds of the way through our feature list. We’ve been releasing new features every few weeks. I’m just assuming that Ello will keep getting better and better.
Budnitz notes that the big social networks do not have interests that are aligned with their users, and that the creation of Ello was an attempt to bring fun back to social networking for the users. With an ever greater focus on advertising and monetization from the established networks, that seems like a valid point, and could explain a lot of Ello’s success.
But Ello apparently isn’t good enough for some people out there, when compared to Dropon. Indeed, where Ello said users were not a product, Dropon says it’s “The social network that gives a !@#$ about your privacy.”
In a post on Medium, user Rick Fletcher notes that Dropon offers a more rounded feature set and better privacy protections than Ello. “It’s a little odd that a social network like Ello, that seems to boast about its privacy so much, doesn’t encrypt data which can otherwise easily be snooped by the NSA,” he writes.
However, Ello may not have to move over because apparently, Ello is already over. “If there’s one thing that is especially combustible in the tech space, it’s newness – often to a fault. But people wanted a Facebook killer more than they wanted Ello,” writes Nathan Jurgenson, editor of Cyborgology Blog.
When it comes to social networks, we’ve seen that networks can do well even while being perceived as empty. The Internet is often guilty of having a short attention span, but it doesn’t make sense to make declarative statements about the future of a social network that is less than a year old. Whether or not Dropon is better is subjective, but Ello certainly isn’t “over.”