Ello eschews traditional social network model to launch ad-free service

A new social networking service has emerged which claims as its USP that it will not carry ads or sell users information to "data brokers".

Ello: launches in beta
Ello: launches in beta

The received wisdom regarding social networks is that if they are free to use, the user is the "product".

But Ello has decided to abandon this model in favour of a free-to-use, invite-only service that does not carry advertising or sell users personal data.

In a manifesto statement on its website, Ello tells prospective users, "Your social network is owned by advertisers. Every post you share, every friend you make and every link you follow is tracked, recorded and converted into data. Advertisers buy your data so they can show you more ads. You are the product that’s bought and sold."

Ello’s creator, a bicycle designer called Paul Budnitz, tells users there is "a better way" to socially connect based on transparency rather than creating tools to "deceive, coerce and manipulate".

Ello goes on to rubbish other social networks by saying they are "run by and for advertisers" and that an army of advertisers and data miners are watching every move users make in order to bombard them with intrusive ads and invade their privacy.

This led Ello’s creators to set up their own service which, they promise, will never move away from its "no-ad and no data-mining" policy.

Instead of advertising, Ello said it would begin creating a series of special features which, if users choose them, would be paid-for applications which in turn support the network to continue as free.