By Samantha Coppola, Social Content Creator at MSM DesignZ. There is currently an app that is becoming insanely popular, and widely used by millenials all over. That app is called Vero, and many online discussions and articles speculate regarding if it could become the next Instagram. However, it would be a long road to make that happen. For instance, Vero is nothing new. It’s been around since 2015, but a stronger marketing campaign and some word-of-mouth sparked its users growth at the end of 2017. Since then, Vero is striving to become a new kind of social network, and to differentiate itself from other popular outlets like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest. The way they are trying to achieve it is by not allowing ads to be displayed to their users. Vero is also seeking to be better by allowing the users to share content with specific sets of friends, and by delivering posts in a chronological order instead of controlled by an algorithm. In other words, trying to be what social media used to be before becoming a key medium for advertising. In this blog post, we share a little background information on this app and answer some of the most common questions people have regarding Vero. “Information is power”, so you can decide for yourself if it will become your next favorite social network. What is Vero? Vero is a social network for anyone who loves anything enough to share it – and wants control over who they share it with. Its creators like to refer to it as “a smarter social network”. You can share everything and anything you love through one network; movies, TV shows, books, links, photos and places! But there are things that you may not want to share with absolutely everyone (your grandma on Facebook for example). Thus Vero lets you decide who specifically can see each post. Every connection you have on Vero can be classified as ‘Close Friend’, ‘Friend’ or ‘Acquaintance’. They won’t know which loop they’re in, but they will appreciate every post you share with them. Having this control makes you the decision maker as to who will see your content, making your audience completely intuitive. You can build your audience while following your favorite artists, brands and public figures. There is also the option for you to filter the kind of post you want to see from each friend. Whether you tell the world, a select few or file away for future reference, in Vero, your and your friends’ opinions are always going to beat any algorithm. Who created the app? Vero was launched in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire (and son of the former Prime Minister of Lebanon) Ayman Hariri. Where did the inspiration for the app come from? The inspiration for a different social media platform came after Hariri noticed his Facebook friends “acting quite differently than how he knew them to be in the real world”. He then created Vero (meaning ‘truth’ in Italian), so that people could be more “authentic” online. What makes Vero a “smarter” social network? Vero is being called the “smarter” app -according to its own description-, when it comes to social networking and social media. But what is it about Vero that makes it “smarter” than the others? For one thing, every post from you and your friends goes right into a collection. As they explain on their site, your “Collections” form your own personal library, containing all of your recommendations, passions and interests. Vero also likes to consider each post its own little world, and each has multiple ways of engagement. You can tap on posts to buy products, listen to music tracks directly, watch movie or tv show trailers and more. Vero is an ad-free user stream as well (so far). So they only posts that show up on your feed are the ones you want to see. No ads and no seeing posts you’re not interested in means there is no data mining and no algorithm. How many users does Vero have? The app is nearing 3 million members already. It has recently become the most downloaded social app in 18 different countries, according to Time magazine. Is the app free? Currently, the app is trying and saying to be “ad free”. So the question is how, and what do they do to make money? One tactic Vero is planning on doing to bring in revenue is to charge users an annual fee. The app claimed that the first 1 million users to download the app would have a lifetime free access and will not be charged any additional fees. But those who didn’t make the cut of among that first million users could be charged an annual fee of an amount that has not yet been specified. By charging a fee, the app is striving to not rely on advertisers, and any information shared on the platform won’t be sold to third-party vendors for ad revenue. But we have to wait and see how it goes in the long run. Are there disadvantages to Vero? Vero sounds like an amazing app right? But, is the new social media platform that’s on the rise too good to be true? Here are some of its downfalls:
Glitchy: The biggest complaints from users is that Vero has been slow and glitchy. Vero was overwhelmed by all of those new members who downloaded the app based on the “fear-of-missing-out”. As a result, network errors and “server could not be reached” messages were constant. As a way of apologizing for the inconvenience, Vero even extended the “free forever” deal beyond the first million people.
Bad Reviews and Ratings: There have been a fair share of bad reviews and ratings on the app. It currently has a 1.9 ratting on the Apple App Store. So if reviews are something you take into consideration when deciding whether or not to download and use an app, you may want to take a further look at those.
Vero’s CEO Ayman Hariri: The son of Lebanon’s former prime minister for a while was deputy CEO of his family’s construction company, Saudi Oger. It is said that when that company shut down, over 31,000 workers sued for unpaid wages. On one hand, Vero notes that “Ayman has had no operational, management or board oversight of Saudi Oger since 2013.” That since that time, his attention has been focused on bringing Vero to life. An article from Mashable taps on the subject, and his claims of not being involved with Saudi Oger when these allegations surfaced.
Difficult to cancel: Say you wanted to cancel your account, this action cannot be done with such ease. Instead, on your account page, you tap the “?” button, then “Choose a department”, then “Delete my account.” But the fishy part is that you have to wait for a Vero representative to reply “as soon as possible.”
The User Agreement: Many individuals have noted the “sketchy” user agreement that comes with downloading Vero. A section in the terms of service states that users joining the app agree to this copyright licensing for Vero:
“a limited, royalty-free, sublicensable, transferable, perpetual, irrevocable, non-exclusive, worldwide license to use, reproduce, modify, publish, list information regarding, translate, distribute, syndicate, publicly perform, publicly display, make derivative works of, or otherwise use your User Content.”
Other social media apps such as Twitter and Facebook have similar agreements that allow the platform to broadcast what users post, and also enable other users to share that specific content. Users maintain ownership of their work, while Vero gives itself a license to users’ content.