Vero: Instagram’s New Rival or Users’ Cry For Help?

March 8, 2018

Ella Jane Dantzler

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Vero: Instagram’s New Rival or Users’ Cry For Help?

Every day we see complaints about Instagram’s new algorithm, Snapchat’s new update, Facebook’s political controversy (and possibly listening in to our private conversations, question mark?). The frustration with the current big players in the social media kingdom births a new hero (or anti-hero, TBD): enter Vero, the “social network that lets you be yourself.”

What is Vero?
Vero is similar to most social media platforms when it comes to the basics- it’s another avenue for sharing content with your audience.

Where it differs: you can categorize connections by friends, acquaintances, close friends, and followers- and then share exclusively to different audiences. It’s other biggest features: no-ads and a CHRONOLOGICAL TIMELINE–this seems key.

Vero’s big push is to encourage honest social media. No boosted posts or pesky ads, just authentic content coming unfiltered from your friends and connections. To pull a quote from the company’s manifesto: “We created a social network that lets you be yourself. Hence the name Vero. Meaning truth.”

But can Vero’s commitment to authentic social pull past it’s viral struggles?


Why now?
Vero has been available in the app store since 2015. It shot to viral fame this past week, now claiming over 3 million downloads in the app store. While there is no exact answer for this swift uprising, many have speculated a perfect storm of frustration brewing with Instagram and Facebook drove users’ interest elsewhere. When one left, many followed.

Vero also thanked the Cosplay community’s support of the app and many have speculated that this contributed to the newfound popularity.


Why the controversy?

If Vero can overcome the frustration with system struggles, load times and adding new users, it has a host of other issues to address. Here’s a quick look at why people are deleting Vero just days (…or minutes) after downloading:

  • Vero’s CEO Ayman Hariri has a controversial past. Hariri served as deputy CEO for his father’s construction company, Suadi Oger, which was accused of abandoning Saudi Arabian workers with pay in 2016, per Reuters. A Vero spokesperson did defend Hariri saying he left the company in 2013 and had no role in the decision making going forward. You can find a more in depth exploration of this issue in Forbes.
  • Users are complaining about the process to delete your account. Instead of giving us the classic: “Do you want to delete: YES/NO”, you have to submit a request to have your account erased. This then gives you the message: “Your request has been sent. Please check your mailbox for our response.” Not exactly the satisfying and final confirmation users are looking for.
  • There have been some questions about the Terms of Use.  Users were concerned about a clause that seemingly alluded to Vero owning user’s content. Since concerns were aired, Vero updated the statement to clarify the issue. Vero’s CEO commented in an interview with Mashable: “I would never consider just because they [creators] placed their content on my platform that I have the rights and ownership of them.”
  • Vero has faced some criticism for using Russian developers in the creation of the app. A Vero spokesperson addressed the issue in an interview with TIME, saying: “We are fortunate to work with a team of talented individuals from across the world. Like nearly every global technology company, that includes developers based in Russia, plus talent across the US, France, Germany and Eastern Europe.”
  • Other criticism: the Vero team lacks gender diversity (it’s heavily male).

As an influencer, should you use Vero?

Short answer: we’re not sure yet.

Many influencers have voiced their frustration with Instagram’s new algorithm negatively affecting their following and bringing down their organic traffic. Vero’s big appeal is that it addresses that one issue: you can grow your audience organically and your posts will be seen chronologically by your followers. But is this enough incentive to make the switch?

Influencers with large audiences might also appreciate the more personal experience Vero creates with direct sharing opportunities. Sharing books and movies and other interests seems to round out the experience and allow you to connect more authentically with followers. But are these additions really novel enough to warrant the time and energy devoted to growing and maintaining yet another social media platform seems to demand much?

Other questions arise if Vero’s strict no-ad stance and policy of “true social” will place limitations on sponsored posts or campaigns within the platform. For influencers who make their living through social, it is yet to be seen if Vero will be the best fit.


So what’s next?

We’re just not sure if Vero will survive past its initial viral flare up to truly capture the established audiences of giants like Instagram and Facebook. The initial bug-iness while acquiring the influx of new users can be looked past, but the other controversies still carry weight.  

It stands to be seen whether Vero’s recent rise is because of its best qualities alone or because it provides a functional user-alternative to the current giants of the industry.

Facebook, Instagram, listen up! We’re trying to tell you something.

What are your experiences with Vero so far? Would you download? If you have, what do you think?

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