Ello’s spam problem

Remember Ello? I recently wrote about this social networking site’s comeback. Since then, a handful of you have pinged me about its spam bot problem.

Just yesterday, another person came forward to tell me he was getting “flooded with naked people” adding him on the site.

John Arroyo, CEO of Arroyo Labs, recently commented on a Product Hunt discussion about Ello as well, citing the spam problem as the reason he canceled his account.

Ello’s CEO Todd Berger told me the site currently has about 400,000 MAU’s. Could some of this be due to spam?

TechCrunch reached out to Berger about the problem and Berger admitted he has seen more spammy activity occur lately.

“We have seen a slight uptick in spam and fraudulent account behavior since your piece was released,” he told me. “We do occasionally see the frequency of this sort of behavior increase in conjunction with press.”

He also told TechCrunch he was working on a solution. “Believe me when I say we take this sort of thing very seriously and that we’re working diligently to get it resolved. Unfortunately, this sort of behavior is still something that comes with hosting an inherently open, public, and social by nature, community product,” Berger said.

He’s not wrong. Twitter has a known and egregious bot problem. Other social networking sites have had to tackle bots as well, including Facebook’s Messenger app, Instagram and many more.

But Ello’s issues seem to stem way back to when it first launched, and it was pretty much saying the same thing to other outlets that it said to me about how it is working on the problem.

“We’re working on a fast process here. Definitely want to nuke all those spammy accounts!,” Ello told Motherboard in 2014.

However, there may be something to the claim that there’s been a recent uptick. As Twitter user and Backblaze marketing exec Yev Pusin noted when I reached out to him about the naked spam tweet to me, “For a long time nothing and then all the sudden it’s like one a week,” he said.

I have not personally noticed any spammy messages to my Ello account — though the site did automatically follow a bunch of accounts for me recently (supposedly these are artists and designers I might be interested in). But there are others who find this spam phenom alarming and it may just crush the site if people are leaving over it — another blow to a platform already plagued with getting out from under its first missteps.

Hopefully, Ello can resolve this issue soon.

Have you noticed more spam on Ello? Have you checked back in on it since we wrote about its transformation? Let us know in the comments below or email me at sarah dot buhr at techcrunch dot com.