Meet the newest, ad-free social network: Vero
Friday, March 02, 2018
There hasn't been a new major player in social media for a while, but the time is ripe for one. Facebook use is down for the first time, and Instagram users are not pleased with the new algorithmic (not chronological) feed.
And just like that, Vero, an app you likely never heard of before last week, has gone viral. Vero downloads on iOS and Google Play increased 1,465 percent during the week of Feb. 18, according to App Annie.
Vero boldly declares, in its manifesto no less, that the company created a more authentic social network. That's why the company name is an Italian word that literally means truth. More specifically, that truth doesn't contain any advertisements.
Instead, users and businesses pay to use Vero. Companies pay a transaction fee to use the app's "Buy Now" button that allows you to sell products directly in posts, while individuals pay an annual subscription fee.
The first 1 million users on Vero got a year for free. Having recently surpassed that benchmark, Vero is extending its free offer "to all users until further notice." The start date for pricing (and the actual price point itself) is still to be determined.
Additionally, the content displayed in Vero is unmanipulated. You only see content from people you follow, and it's shown chronologically — simple. Plus, the app only gathers the information it needs to provide you with a great user experience, which entails your name, phone number and email address. That's it.
Looking strictly at its principles, Vero seems to solve many of the problems that plague Facebook (and more recently Instagram). But in reality, the user experience is less than ideal.
Some people have been experiencing technical issues — from not being able to post to being bombarded by constant push notifications. I was able to sign up and use the app's basic functionality without any problems.
For now, it's worth hopping on and securing the username for your business. Otherwise, someone else may take it before you do! But for now, that's about all you have to do with this app.
Having logged on, you'll find the app does have some cool functionality. You can choose whom to share each piece of content with (close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers). You also are prompted to share more. When you click "New Post," you're asked to share a photo, link, music, movie/TV, book or place. It's a bit of a twist from other apps.
But even with this, Vero has an uphill battle. First of all, the average app loses 77 percent of its users in the three days after they install it, according to Silicon Valley analyst Andrew Chen. Additionally, even with its influx of new users, Vero's estimated 1 million users is but a tiny piece of Instagram's 800 million slice pie.
That means Vero users will struggle to find their friends and rebuild their networks. It also means the vast majority of people would have to leave Instagram in favor of Vero, which would be a huge feat in and of itself. And Vero users would also have to pay to use something they once had for free.
In the past, several idealistic apps like Vero — namely Ello and Peach — have already come and gone. Neither took a significant chunk of Facebook's or Instagram's user base in the long term.
Will Vero be any different? Maybe or maybe not. Vero is already mired in controversy over reports that the founder previously violated labor rights, prompting a #DeleteVero campaign.
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