Brands and Mock Brands Are Joining Ello, Like It or Not


Our media friends tell us that we should feel left out for not having received invitations to the new commercial-free “anti-social network” Ello.

Yet, as proud late adopters and general skeptics, we can’t say we’re too upset. “Your friends like this page” posts and paid Facebook ads annoy us as much as they do the average reader, but Ello feels like all the alternate Facebooks that preceded it: a flash in the pan.

Still — as Elasticity SVP/Social Media Today founder Jason Falls told us today on Twitter — brands may have to start getting involved whether they want to or not.

While we wait on the backlash to the backlash against this new, completely unsustainable network, we did notice that some brands have begun to join. Sonos speakers was apparently the first, though they haven’t posted anything yet. Netflix, on the other hand, has already begun using the network aggressively. So have a couple of news orgs like The Wall Street Journal.

The basic consensus: consumer brands should stay the hell away from Ello, because despite any trend piece coverage they may receive, the only thing they’ll really do by joining is invite real users’ ire (unless they happen to be the bicycle shop owned by the network’s founder). This despite the fact that brands on Ello will only be seen by those who actively want to follow them.

Last week, Ben Brier wrote a good Medium piece warning businesses not to try and use the network for promo purposes and to instead “try to respect literal stop signs when presented with them”, because “branded content is advertising” whether its placement is paid or not.

But it certainly looks like Domino’s and, we presume, countless other brands will have to deal with the headaches caused by bored Ello members who create mock pages like this one. Its posts to date:

More ello

This is the equivalent of someone scoring a brand’s name as a Twitter handle and then using it to make fun of that very company. While not everyone can join the network, everyone can click on a page.

We expect legal experts to get involved as soon as the trend pieces start running…

@PatrickCoffee Patrick Coffee is a senior editor for Adweek.