Move over Instagram, Twitter and Facebook… there is a new social network in town. Well, if you consider something that has been around for 2 years “new”. The difference is that suddenly the social network has gone viral, and suddenly everyone is hopping on the Vero train.
The main reason Vero is becoming such a viral hit because users are becoming frustrated with Instagram and Facebook not showing you the content in the way you want to see it. Particularly the recent(ish) change to the Instagram feed that is algorithmic instead of chronological. For now, Vero is strictly chronological. Although so was Facebook, Instagram and Twitter when they started out.
When you add a connection on Vero you are asked to classify the person as a close friend, a friend or an acquaintance. This is similar to when Google+ wanted us to create various circles to classify our contacts. The feature on Vero is a much more simplified than how it worked on Google+, and takes place as soon as you add the contact, so you don’t have to go back in later to try and classify everyone. I also like that you aren’t given too many choices. You typically know right away whether your friend is close or an acquaintance or just in between.
When you create a post you will be asked which group you want to share the update with. I imagine most people will just use the close friend and more public “followers” options. However, I can see situations where you might use the other options too.
One unique feature Vero offers is the ability to classify your updates into different categories: Namely Photos/Videos, Links, Music, Movies/TV, Books and Places. This actually gives you more control over the content you see as well. If you only want to see images from friends (a la Instagram) you can filter out the rest of the updates, including links.
Currently, the app is running extremely slowly. Posts are failing, the app takes forever to load up, and sometimes it takes a few tries to like or comment on a post. I can understand their issues though. Since they have had extremely slow growth for the last two years, and suddenly they are gaining more users than they can handle. It’s a good problem to have, but if they don’t fix it soon, they will lose their current momentum and will drop off the face of the earth just like others who have challenged the major networks.
I also don’t like that you can’t select a username. It really makes finding people so much harder, which is my other complaint… it is extremely difficult to find users to follow. They definitely need to improve the user discovery if they want to gain any sort of traction. What good is a social network, if there is no one to be social with!
Vero is also eventually going to be a paid subscription. I think enough people are used to paying for subscriptions to things they like at this point (see Netflix, Hulu, and more) that it will not be a deal breaker for them. Especially if they are planning to make the annual subscription less than $ 10, which it sounds like might be close to the price point they are considering. I think enough people are also so sick of seeing ads on Instagram and Facebook, that they are ready to pay for a social network that does not constantly try to sell them on something.
Just as it goes with anything else that goes viral, there will be people digging into the issues with the topic. Since suddenly it seemed like everyone was talking about the network, someone did some digging into the CEO of Vero, Ayman Hariri. Most of the flack currently surrounding the CEO is related to the mismanagement of the Saudi Arabian construction firm, Saudi Oger. Apparently, the company shut down and owed thousands of immigrant workers back pay, which stranded them in a foreign country, unable to return to their homes.
Yes, this is terrible, and the facts are undeniable. What is NOT clear, however, is how much say Ayman Hariri actually had in the entire situation. He had already started Vero long before this tragedy came about, which likely took him away from the day to day operations of the construction business. His father and his brother seemed to be more in charge of the construction business than he was. I’m not saying that he had zero involvement in the situation. I’m definitely a facts person, and I just don’t see anything that concretely ties him to being influential in that scenario.
Another complaint people are throwing Vero’s way is the Terms of Service (TOS) you agree to when you sign up for an account. Many are complaining that the TOS claims ownership of the content you post on the network and can use that content for its own purposes (ie advertising, etc). What the people who are crying that the sky is falling don’t realize is that it’s just about the same TOS that Instagram and Facebook have. You do not own Facebook, you do not own Vero. Whatever you post on those platforms becomes the property of that company, because it’s THEIR PLATFORM. Let us not forget this little gem of a video…
So, give it a try… if you can get it to work… and give me a follow (Find me by looking for Sarah Kimmel). See ya over there! I’ll be checking it out for at least a few weeks.