Can Vero survive the might of Instagram? t2 taps on the new app on the block
Most are searching for the next Instagram. For some Vero could be the answer. Though it has been around since 2015, Vero has gone viral in the last couple of weeks. Even till early last week, Vero had around 200,000 downloads. The figure is now around three million.
What is Vero?
In the mould of Instagram, this is a free app that works on Apple and Android devices. There are no ads and the service promises “no data mining. Ever.” This is unlike Facebook, which is now one of the top attractions among advertisers. But there is more to Vero than that. Here it’s all about chronological feed, that is, showing photos in the order they were posted, with the recent one being on top. Since 2016, Instagram has introduced a ranked feed, which hasn’t gone down well with a large number of users. Unlike Instagram, the app allows you to share URLs, which is a plus.
Another big differentiator is separating connections based on their relationship to you — close friends, friends, acquaintances and followers. This helps to share posts with specific groups.
So it’s all good?
The company and its billionaire CEO Ayman Hariri is under the scanner as some of Vero’s developers are Russians, which maybe distressing for some because of Moscow’s recent use of social media to meddle in American politics.
“At the end of the day, where people are from is really not how anybody should judge anyone,” Riyadh-based Ayman has told Time magazine. “And so it’s completely irrelevant where they’re from. What’s important is the work they do and their commitment to creating a real online social network and not an online network that takes advantage of the fact that people like to be social with one another.”
Who is Ayman Hariri?
His family operates one of the largest construction companies in Saudi Arabia. His father was Lebanese prime minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. According to Variety, the bachelor’s degree holder in computer science from Georgetown University was deputy CEO last year at Saudi Oger, a construction giant.
Who are his friends?
Vero has a few Hollywood connections, like filmmaker Zack Snyder. Hariri had met Snyder when he was directing Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice — the 39-year-old owns one of the largest comic book collections in the world. The director had released a four-minute short film titled Snow Steam Iron on Vero last year. Variety also mentions that Vero also has a deal with DMC Film, the UK production company founded by actor Michael Fassbender, Daniel Emmerson and Conor McCaughan.
Top photographer Greg Williams, who has worked as the official backstage photographer at BAFTA, has a collaboration with Vero. He posts exclusive behind-the-scenes images on the social media platform. Also present on the platform is musician Kiiara.
“So many artistes are coming on board,” Ayman has told Verge. “So many people who are frustrated with the way other social networks have behaved in the past. Not being able to access their own audiences. And just the ability to be themselves on an online social network that mimics the real-world social network.”
Where is the money?
A simple answer is that it doesn’t make money. The company hasn’t started showing ads or implementing subscriptions yet. The developer has permanently “waived” the fee for its first million users but in the future, you will have to pay “a small annual fee”, which according to CNBC, will be “a few dollars a year”.
Should you switch over?
You can give it a shot but Vero has a long way to go before it overtakes Instagram. It may well become another Ello. Remember Ello?!
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