With established social networks like Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat boasting millions and in some cases billions of users, one might imagine that newcomers will find it impossible to make an impact in this industry. But Vero is proving people wrong.
Back in 2015, the photo-sharing app that bears a close resemblance to Instagram was launched by Lebanese billionaire Ayman Hariri, movie financier Motaz Nabulsi, and venture capitalist Scott Birnbaum.
With so many users angry at Instagram’s algorithm, Facebook’s fake news problem, and the much-hated Snapchat update, Vero has seen its popularity skyrocket recently. It didn’t even appear in the App Store’s top 1500 apps a week ago, but today it is the most popular application in Apple’s store.
Vero, which means ‘truth’ in Esperanto, says it offers a more “authentic” experience compared to its competitors. Unlike Instagram, user posts, which can be browsed by type or by hashtags, appear in reverse-chronological order. It’s also possible to designate people as a “close friend,” “friend,” “acquaintance,” or “follower,” and you have the option of sharing posts with these specific groups.
One of the most compelling elements of Vero is that it doesn’t contain any ads. While it hasn’t yet been implemented, the platform will eventually make money through a subscription model that charges users a “small annual fee” (thought to be a few dollars per year). However, this is being permanently waived for the first million customers who sign up.
The company also avoids Facebook-style mass data collection on users. “Vero only collects the data we believe is necessary to provide users with a great experience and to ensure the security of their accounts,” the manifesto reads.
It appears that Vero is currently a victim of its own success—it’s been experiencing outages as people rush to sign up and avoid the yearly subscription. While it’s hard to imagine Instagram ever becoming irrelevant, nobody expected Myspace to fall from grace the way it did.