Pixel Envy

Written by Nick Heer.


There’s a new social network in town, one which MarketWatch’s Therese Poletti is calling a “Facebook killer”, which, on its own, is a hilarious notion. Its big draw is that it doesn’t have targeted ads and is a sort of lowercase-l-libertarian community. But, as Andy Baio explains — on where else but Ello itself — there’s a lot that the manifesto on the home page isn’t telling you, like their banking of a $435,000 round of seed funding from a venture capital firm:

The Ello founders are positioning it as an alternative to other social networks — they won’t sell your data or show you ads. “You are not the product.”

If they were independently-funded and run as some sort of co-op, bootstrapped until profitable, maybe that’s plausible. Hard, but possible.

But VCs don’t give money out of goodwill, and taking VC funding — even seed funding — creates outside pressures that shape the inevitable direction of a company.

A social network with no ads that wants to charge users money for small features in an attempt to recoup what will likely become millions of dollars in venture capital money? Good luck with that. (Remember Path?)