Rian Bailey-Weir | Digital Account Manager
Set the scene. You’re scrolling through your favourite social media app, liking your friend’s 15th baby picture, avoiding your auntie Sharon’s second ‘share this to make a wish post’ and making sure you don’t accidentally like your crush’s holiday picture from 2013. As you’re endlessly scrolling, you suddenly realise that there’s not been a sponsored ad or boosted post in sight. Seem impossible? Well maybe not, thanks to Vero.
What is Vero?
Launched in 2015, Vero’s popularity has, for better or worse, skyrocketed over the past few weeks – with over 1,000,000 new users registering for their ‘free for life’ offer.
If you were to mix Instagram with an e-commerce app, throw in a little pinch of Pinterest and then add a splash of TripAdvisor recommendations, you’re not too far away from your Vero experience. Its sophisticatedly minimal design does well in helping its appeal, along with its customer focus and ability to bring the social aspect back to social media.
The whole idea of Vero, according to their website, is to allow the user to be themselves and behave in ways that are more natural and not necessarily dictated by a strict algorithm. Vero, meaning “truth” in Latin, has an aim to bring back the authenticity of social media platforms gone by – replacing the standard integration of paid advertisements and posts with a monthly subscription (yet to be announced).
Taking away obvious comparisons and looking at Vero as an independent platform, it’s something that social media users across the globe have been crying out for. It seamlessly blends user content and interaction with engaging content that promotes discovery. This is done through the familiar posting of photos and videos, but also the inclusion of links and recommendations of books, films, travel places and more! The best thing? Each of the posts are shown in chronological order. (Facebook, Instagram, take note).
Where’s the catch?
If you’re thinking that this is all sounding far too good to be true, you’re probably right. While there has been a flurry of social media enthusiasts flooding to get a piece of the app, this has led to a string of unexpected server errors and system crashes. Something that, if you’re offering one million free accounts, you may need to consider.
Who are the Vero team?
You also might be thinking that that’s where the controversy ends – you’d be wrong. Scraping the surface of Vero’s Founder, Ayman Hariri’s past, and you will see that there is already a wealth of allegations involving underpaid and abused Saudi workers [https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-09-14/saudi-arabia-s-economic-overhaul-claims-a-victim] who were employed by his family’s (now dissolved) old construction company. Even leading to the involvement of the Saudi Arabian government.
Alongside this and its seemingly draconian terms and conditions, exploring Vero’s ‘team’ page begs the question as to why there is only one female member of staff in a team of 23 listed. Conscious decisions or victims of circumstance, an explanation has yet to be officially given.
So, now what? After downloaded and used Vero for just over a week now, it’s easy to say that it is a new experience in all. It can be a little difficult to navigate, to begin with, but once you have the hang of it then it’s quite refreshing. There are bound to be tweaks and changes in the coming months, with users voicing feedback and suggestions, and as long as you can get over the current staffing concerns, this may be your new best procrastination friend.