Hello, Ello. Still no ads and no features to sell. What do? Bag $5.5m

Did you LOL at Ello? Now see who's laughing ... all the way to the bank


Hipster-chic anti-Facebook wannabe Ello is today $5.5m richer, apparently – and hopes to silence critics of its no-ads manifesto with a renewed vow to never sell adverts nor user data.

The social network upstart has declared itself a public benefit corporation with a statement never to plonk ads on its site or flog private information about its users.

"Ello's explosive growth over the last few months proves that there is a hunger to connect with friends and see beautiful things —without being manipulated by ad salesmen, boosted posts, and computer algorithms that don't always have our best interests at heart," the company said [PDF].

"On an ad-driven social network, the advertiser is the customer and you’re the product that’s bought and sold."

According to the document, anyone who buys the biz must abide to the same anti-ad and pro-privacy rules.

But the public benefit corporation declaration doesn't mean much other than making the company and its shareholders accountable to the principles outlined in the statement. Shareholders and executives both agree that the ad-free mission will be prioritized over making profits. The move does not alter the company's tax status.

A declaration will quiet speculation from skeptics that Ello will eventually backtrack on its ad-free ways or sell itself off to an ad-serving parent. The company has said that it will look to raise cash through charging users for access to premium features.

Even with that commitment, financial backers remain eager to get on board with Ello. The company reportedly just closed a $5.5m round of venture-capital fundraising.

A September Reg test drive of Ello found the service to indeed be clean and ad-free, but still lacking some key features, understandable for a beta product. ®


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