Social Network Ello Hopes To Ride Anti-Facebook Wave

Riding high on a backlash against Facebook, following the companyEUs decision to bar drag performers from registering using their stage personas, social networking startup Ello is aiming to be a giant killer. Ello, which launched in July, is promoting itself as a less exploitive version of the worldEUs largest social networking site.

EUYour social network is owned by advertisers,EU Ello said in the first line of its corporate manifesto. EUEvery post you share, every friend you make, and every link you follow is tracked, recorded, and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product thatEUs bought and sold.EU

Ello's World

Ello claims that it is different. EUYou are not a product,EU the company said, adding that the site will not carry ads or collect data on its users. Instead, Ello says it will make money by selling users premium themes and design tools for their personal pages.

The site is currently in beta, with membership being restricted by an EUinvite onlyEU policy that seems designed to capitalize on exclusivity -- much like Facebook originally restricted membership to Harvard students. Some Ello users have taken to auctioning invites on eBay for those desperate to try the service. Artist Paul Budnitz, who founded the company, said the pitch is working. Around 27,000 people are signing up for the site every hour and the companyEUs servers were briefly overwhelmed by the traffic, he said.

The site features a stripped-down design aesthetic, in contrast to FacebookEUs busy interface. Ello also appears to borrow heavily from the scrolling interfaces of Twitter and Tumblr. But despite the companyEUs claims that the site will eschew advertising, it has already allowed companies to create their own profiles. Budnitz himself owns a bicycle shop that has its own page on...

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