Another social media app to maintain? No, thanks.
But we should take notice because Vero went from app obscurity (not even ranked in the top 1,500) to being No. 1 in the iOS and the Google Play app stores last week. Right now, it's sitting in the 80s in both app stores, but Vero has added millions of users over the past month.
I am one of those who downloaded the app, and here's why. As any Instagrammer knows, the app has changed how you see what you see on your feed. The former chronological method is gone, replaced with a new algorithm that Instagram says will show you more of what you want to see. It has caused an uproar among users who want to make sure they don't miss anything. Switching to Vero is the way many have decided to revolt.
Vero is not a brand-new app. It officially launched in 2015 with some major differences from Instagram. Vero claims it will never have ads or sell your information to advertisers. (Remember, nearly every mainstream social network began without ads.) Vero also claims it will always keep your feed in a chronological order with no algorithms ever. So it basically got rid of everything everyone had started to despise about Instagram.
On Vero, users post photos, entertainment reviews and text. The app gives the option of controlling who sees each post by allowing users to place each follower into a category (without them knowing): close friends, friends, acquaintances or followers. Facebook also has this option, although I rarely play with it. Everything users share is placed in collections, and users can search everything others have ever shared with them.
When I signed up a week ago, I allowed the app to search through my contacts so I could connect with people I know. I have more than 1,600 people in my contact list. Nine people showed up on Vero. Nine. So one big problem right now on this so-called hot app is finding anyone you really care to follow. I ended up following some verified accounts, just so I could get a feed going, but I'm unimpressed so far.
I received an email when I signed up congratulating me on being one of the first million users, which meant I would get to use Vero free for life. Well, nearly 3 million people have now signed up and are still getting it free. Why? Growing pains.
Mashable reports Vero got too popular too fast, causing the app's servers to become overloaded and glitchy.
Vero says it will extend its free-for-life offer due to service interruptions until further notice. CNBC reports the app will eventually cost under $10 per year and is aiming for an older, more upscale crowd. Vero founder Ayman Hariri tells CNBC, "Everybody's making apps for the kids. … We're thinking more maturely than just doing anything and then trying to get users."
Until the company starts charging a subscription fee, The Verge reports, Vero will make some money by taking a cut when someone buys books, movies or other products they find on the app.
Hariri, though, is a Georgetown-educated, billionaire son of a former prime minister of Lebanon. So maybe making money isn't his biggest priority. He tells CNN he got the idea for the app after he noticed people acting differently on social media from how they did in real life. "In the real world, we don't have an audience," he said. "The real, greatest social network that exists is the one that exists between people in the real world."
But while Hariri seems to want Vero to be the online version of that real-world social network, it simply isn't. There will be no Instagram-killing today.