Vero: Is Vero a viable Facebook alternative? Here’s what it’s all about

Shortly after Vero’s astronomical rise to fame, competitor Facebook was thrown into chaos as it was revealed that the personal data of its users had been breached by Cambridge Analytica. Vero has now become a viable alternative for Facebook users looking elsewhere for their social media fix, considering it puts a huge emphasis on users’ privacy and insists on having a platform free of ads.

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We haven’t seen Vero truly take off since the platform went viral back in February, but it seems keen to differentiate itself from the problematic Facebook.

In a press release regarding a new ‘donate now’ feature for charities, Vero wrote: “Vero does not have ads and does not mine user data. Vero also does not share any information with third parties, allowing users to have an authentic social experience online knowing their personal information is secure.”

Whether Vero will actually gain the members needed to sustain it, we still don’t know, but Vero is certainly a breath of fresh air. You can read more about it below, including how it plans to make money.

What is Vero?: Everything you need to know about Vero

We’ve seen our fair share of social media platforms enter our lives and swiftly depart. From the likes of Ello and Peach, which managed to convince us all that they were the next big thing as well as the dearly departed Vine, it’s difficult to have the kind of staying power that Facebook and Twitter have been afforded.

But hype trains be hype trains, and the chugging of the next big thing is well and truly choo choo-ing along. This time, it’s Vero – and if the name sounds familiar, it might be because we interviewed its founder last year.

But Vero has exploded in the last couple of days. Vero, which is a mix between Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, has jumped from #19 in the UK App Store to #2 today.

In fact, Vero has had so many signups over the weekend that, since Sunday, the platform has been experiencing outages.

But why the hype? What’s so special about Vero? And will it just be another flash in the pan, another social network’s fleeting moment in the limelight? Here’s everything you need to know about Vero.

What is Vero?

Not a new social network at all, Vero launched back in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire, Ayman Hariri. The platform claims to be a true, authentic reflection of your real life. Like most social networks, you can follow friends and celebrities, and like/comment on their posts.

Similar to Instagram, Vero lets users post photos and videos on their profile, but also a whole lot more. Users are able to post text; URLs; as well as music, movie, TV and book recommendations. It’s a mishmash of everything already out there.

Like with Facebook, you can choose what you share and who you share it with, but Vero gives you a lot more control. Whether they’re friends, close friends, acquaintances or followers, when you connect with someone for the first time, you designate which category that person sits in. Essentially, it’s a more elegant Google Plus that has the appearance of Instagram and Facebook.is_vero_about_to_kill_off_instagram_and_facebook_heres_what_its_all_about_-_1

“In real life, people are never presented with a one size fits all audience. We share different things with different people” the Vero manifesto reads.  “Most social networks reduce everyone to a friend or a follower. This encourages us to only share the parts of our lives we think are most interesting.”

The real draw is that Vero doesn’t use any algorithms, which means that, unlike Facebook or Instagram, your feed will be organised reverse-chronologically. Vero isn’t curated or manipulated and has no sponsored advertisers in it. Instead “you see what has been shared with you when it has been shared with you.” It also claims that it won’t sell your information on to any third party providers.

So how does Vero make money?is_vero_about_to_kill_off_instagram_and_facebook

As Vero doesn’t use traditional paid-for advertising, it will gain most of its revenue from an annual subscription fee paid for by its users, which isn’t yet in effect.  We don’t know how much that subscription will cost, but it isn’t expected to be a lot.

That’s probably one of the reasons why so many people are flocking to the app right now. Since Friday, Vero has been offering the first million signups a ‘free for life’ service. That threshold may not have been reached yet, but is likely very close after the app’s astronomical rise in popularity.

When I signed up to Vero this morning, I received an email congratulating me for being one of the first million who will get Vero free for life, so if you sign up now you may still be in with a chance.

It’s not technically ad-free though. As well as the subscription fee, companies will be able to purchase ads on the platform, but they won’t be highlighted like in most social networks. If the post gets lost in the flurry of your friends and followers’ posts, you just won’t see the ad. Companies will also be able to purchase a ‘Buy Now’ button for any products they advertise on the platform.

What’s with Vero’s sudden rise in popularity?is_vero_about_to_kill_off_instagram_and_facebook

Besides the rush to be in the first million signups, there are a few other reasons why Vero might have suddenly shot up the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

Recently, other platforms have been struggling to keep a hold of its users. We’ve seen over a million people sign a petition calling on Snapchat to revert its UI, witnessed Facebook users drop for the first time in history  and watched as annoyed Instagram content creators rage about the platform’s move towards a Facebook-esque algorithmic news feed. Right now, there are over 500,000 posts on Instagram tagged #Vero, the majority of which are posts of people promoting their Vero accounts.

Will Vero last?is_vero_about_to_kill_off_instagram_and_facebook_heres_what_its_all_about_-_2

It sure is a breath of fresh air to see a social network that doesn’t place an emphasis on ads, have plans to sell on your data or thinks it should curate what you see and when. But will Vero last?

We’re not sure yet, it’s temptingly easy to say yes when you see other social networks enraging their users. The reasons to switch from Instagram and Facebook are clearly very valid, but once the first million have all got their accounts for free, we’re not sure if Vero will continue to gain new users.

Vero reeks of previous buzzy, social networks which have failed to stick around. Is this just the rush of people trying to be the first million in case the social network takes off? We’re erring on the side of caution because in three months’ time, Vero might well have its own plot in the startup graveyard.

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