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Ello Pretends It’s Not Over With Video And Music Launch

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Already-forgotten, anti-Facebook social network Ello today launched the ability to share music and video clips in its feed, but that won’t matter.

Here in September gone in September, Ello hoped to dethrone Facebook by … not having ads. But while hipsters had fun hating on Zuck’s creation for a few days, they all went back to it and promptly ditched Ello. Now it’s left with $5.5 million squeezed out of some gullible investors and no reason to exist.

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Here’s the problem. Beating Facebook at its own game is like punching a wall 1.35 billion bricks thick. The network effect of its critical mass means you can’t usurp it by being a little better. The only social apps to really succeed since its launch have tried to go around Facebook’s wall by being different.

  • Twitter – focuses on public content, not privacy
  • Instagram – stripped out everything but photos for an easy, breezy, beautiful browsing experience built mobile-first
  • Snapchat – made its content disappear, a refreshing alternative to Facebook and its Timeline where everything you say lives forever

Meanwhile, those that failed didn’t differentiate *cough* Google+ *cough*

Not having ads did not qualify Ello as functionally different. So as soon as people realized they could either post to their few smug friends who joined Ello, or everyone they know on Facebook, they dropped Ello on its face.

No one I follow has posted in three months, so I doubt they’re checking the site either. That means the ability to paste in a link and get an in-line video or music player won’t help the company. Though it’s cute that you’re allowed to turn off embeds entirely just in case they come with ads attached like pre-rolls.

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Expect another anti-Facebook to come along in a year or two. These things capitalize on the legitimate gripes about Facebook using personal data to sell you to advertisers, but rarely have a solution worth switching to.

For Facebook to get beaten at its own game as a general purpose, semi-private, perma-content social network and identity provider, someone will have to build something much better. And Facebook will probably buy it before it gets even close. The only other foreseeable doom for $FB would be from a massive platform switch, like virtual reality…except that it acquired Oculus. So Like it or not, Facebook’s probably going to be around awhile.

Ello Darkness