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It’s a dog eat dog world out there in the realms of social media. One day you’re up, the next Kylie Jenner tweets something less than complimentary about you and your stock’s in the gutter.
In this online world what’s hot today has no guarantee of being cool tomorrow, and we probably haven’t even heard of tomorrow’s big deal yet.
And so welcome to Vero.
In the wake of the Kylie/Snapchat furore, one of the biggest winners to clamber out of the social media catfight has been Vero, a content sharing app created by billionaire businessman Ayman Hariri.
Vero is said to have signed up 500,000 users in 24 hours alone this week, rocketing from number 99 to number one in Apple's UK store in the past week, as social media users scramble for alternatives to the big social media platforms.
It’s been a slow burn for Vero, which originally launched in 2015 to very little fanfare. But its latest popularity surge could see it go from about 600,000 lifetime downloads in the App Store and Google Play, to more than 500,000 a day.
But why is it suddenly so popular?
In many ways Vero offers much the same as Instagram, although it does differ from it in several key areas.
Unlike Instagram, Vero shares content “reverse chronologically” rather than on a popularity “like” basis - so the latest posts are seen first.
As well as photos the app also lets you share text and web addresses, as well as recommendations for books, TV shows and films. Vero also distinguishes posts based on their contributor’s relationship to you. You can designate people as friends, acquaintances or followers and decide to target posts specifically at these groups.
Perhaps most importantly for social media users tired of their every action and keystroke being monitored and fed to advertisers, Vero is keen to play up its non-commercial values.
It claims it only collects a minimal amount of data from its users and doesn’t provide information to third parties or advertisers.
At the moment it is also ad and fee free – although this may change in the future as Hariri tries to monetise the service.
So, how does it make money then?
The simple answer is it doesn’t. Yet.
Eventually, the app says it will charge a small subscription fee – perhaps a few pounds a year – to users, although the first million users to sign up are likely to have their first year membership fee waived.
Of course, if you want to be part of the latest social media movement you can download Vero at the Apple Store and Google Play. It will certainly be interesting to see if Vero can maintain its explosive growth of the past week.
And don’t count your other social media platforms out yet. It’s worth remembering Kylie Jenner was quick to profess her love for Snapchat when she realised her throwaway comment had helped wipe a billion dollars off its share price.
And as we already know, what’s hot today may not be remotely cool tomorrow.