The S.S. Ello, which was calling “all aboard” in the last few weeks, has set sail and might well be headed for rough waters if the first thunderclouds of adverse internet reaction are to be believed.
For those who weren't already obsessing over the newcomer network (ironically on Facebook and Twitter), Ello is a no-frills, no-ads, no-real-features site where your early adopter friends have been gathering to talk about, what else, Ello.
Taking full advantage of the network’s “real names? Who cares!” policy, one trenchant satirist is posting as Mark Zuckerberg. “Zuck” advocated for the site as follows: “If only there was some abstract way for me to express my enthusiasm and support for all their work, some built-in mechanism or shortcut I could use to quickly acknowledge them and show that I LIKE what they've done.”
Already Valleywag is on their case pointing out how quickly the anti-corporate, no-holds-barred ethos can collapse as Ello becomes a (possibly) real company. And former pro bono consultant in the early days of Ello, Aral Balkan, has already written a takedown claiming that the site already sold out the minute they took $435,000 in seed funding earlier this year.
Ello-ers (Ello-ists?) were, as of last week, signing up in 27,000-user-per-hour bursts (tbis, I believe, is called “the network effect”). The “viral” site rode the tide of sign-up FOMO and the ebb of complaints from prominent drag queens about Facebook’s policies. But now that people have actually used this thing, the reviews aren’t glowing. From personal experience, the about-face on Ello has been frighteningly fast. Reports of the death of Ello, which followed fast on the heels of reports of the death of Facebook, may be premature or wildly exaggerated. The internet will probably be saying both for at least a few more weeks.
Defenders of Ello have cried “beta!” to highlight that the network is new and working out the kinks (while remaining porn-friendly). But citizens of the web can move with cat-like speed from curiosity to distaste. First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then they pick something else to fight about.