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New Zealand's longest-running online daily news and commentary publication, now in its 19th year. The opinion pieces presented here are not purported to be fact but reasonable effort is made to ensure accuracy.

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Ello Ello, wot's going on ere then?

24 September 2014

Facebook is "so last year" according to many young folk.

Whilst social networking is still "the thing", it's starting to look as if Facebook has reached its "best-by" date and is now falling from grace in the eyes of many users.

Even Google's attempts to out-Facebook Facebook by way of its Google+ offering has taken another blow with the company's grudging removal of the need for GMail accounts to be linked to a G+ account.

It's starting to look as if the time is perfect for a "new big thing" to appear and take over the social networking scene.

And perhaps that has just happened.

A new social media site called Ello has launched itself onto the web and is making some very bold promises to those who might like a little something different.

Those who were initially delighted at Google's "do no evil" mantra -- before they sold out to corporate greed -- may carry a similar smile when they read that Ello has committed to:

  • never sell user-specific data to third parties
  • never display paid advertising on behalf of a third party
  • ensure that if/when it is sold, the above two promises are enshrined in the agreement

Hmmm... very nice -- but will they renege on these laudable pledges just as Google appears to have forgotten about the promise it made to endear itself to the great unwashed masses way back when it was getting started?

So how will Ello survive if it's not going to become a billboard for paid advertising?

Well the company plans to upsell users to additional features which will be available only to those who pay the small fees involved.

Hmmm... user-pays. That's never really gone down very well before in the land of cyberspace where everyone expects their free lunch as a right.

Despite these reservations, investors have already thrown a cool $5.5 million at the fledgling company and it is creating plenty of "noise" within social media communities.

Whether Ello soars or sinks depends very much on the fickle whims of social media users.

If the mighty Google can't unseat Facebook from the throne and even Facebook's own repeated abuse of its users' trust can't unseat them -- what chance a tiny startup with a meagre $5.5m of capital?

One thing is for sure however -- there are no sure things on the internet -- so I'll be watching to see whether Ello becomes "the next big thing". At this stage I think the odds are stacked against it -- but you never know!

Have any readers requested an invite and joined the Ellovians yet?

Do you think this poses any real threat to Facebook?

In five years time, will Ello's promises (or even Ello itself) be nothing but a distant entry on the Internet's timeline?

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