We’ve seen our fair share of social media platforms enter our lives and swiftly depart. From the likes of Ello and Peach, which managed to convince us all that they were the next big thing as well as the dearly departed Vine, it’s difficult to have the kind of staying power that Facebook and Twitter have been afforded.

But hype trains be hype trains, and the chugging of the next big thing is well and truly choo choo-ing along. This time, it’s Vero.

But Vero has exploded in the last couple of days. Vero, which is a mix between Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, is currently #1 on the Australian iOS app store.

In fact, Vero has had so many signups over the weekend that, since Sunday, the platform has been experiencing outages.

But why the hype? What’s so special about Vero? And will it just be another flash in the pan, another social network’s fleeting moment in the limelight? Here’s everything you need to know about Vero.

What is Vero?

Not a new social network at all, Vero launched back in 2015 by Lebanese billionaire, Ayman Hariri. The platform claims to be a true, authentic reflection of your real life. Like most social networks, you can follow friends and celebrities, and like/comment on their posts.

Similar to Instagram, Vero lets users post photos and videos on their profile, but also a whole lot more. Users are able to post text; URLs; as well as music, movie, TV and book recommendations. It’s a mishmash of everything already out there.

Like with Facebook, you can choose what you share and who you share it with, but Vero gives you a lot more control. Whether they’re friends, close friends, acquaintances or followers, when you connect with someone for the first time, you designate which category that person sits in. Essentially, it’s a more elegant Google Plus that has the appearance of Instagram and Facebook.

“In real life, people are never presented with a one size fits all audience. We share different things with different people” the Vero manifesto reads.  “Most social networks reduce everyone to a friend or a follower. This encourages us to only share the parts of our lives we think are most interesting.”

The real draw is that Vero doesn’t use any algorithms, which means that, unlike Facebook or Instagram, your feed will be organised reverse-chronologically. Vero isn’t curated or manipulated and has no sponsored advertisers in it. Instead “you see what has been shared with you when it has been shared with you.” It also claims that it won’t sell your information on to any third party providers.

So how does Vero make money?

As Vero doesn’t use traditional paid-for advertising, it will gain most of its revenue from an annual subscription fee paid for by its users, which isn’t yet in effect.  We don’t know how much that subscription will cost, but it isn’t expected to be a lot.

That’s probably one of the reasons why so many people are flocking to the app right now. Since Friday, Vero has been offering the first million signups a ‘free for life’ service. That threshold may not have been reached yet, but is probably very close after the app’s astronomical rise in popularity.

When I signed up to Vero this morning, I received an email congratulating me for being one of the first million who will get Vero free for life, so if you sign up now you may still be in with a chance.

It’s not technically ad-free though. As well as the subscription fee, companies will be able to purchase ads on the platform, but they won’t be highlighted like in most social networks. If the post gets lost in the flurry of your friends and followers’ posts, you just won’t see the ad. Companies will also be able to purchase a ‘Buy Now’ button for any products they advertise on the platform.

What’s with Vero’s sudden rise in popularity?

Besides the rush to be in the first million signups, there are a few other reasons why Vero might have suddenly shot up the iOS App Store and Google Play Store.

Recently, other platforms have been struggling to keep a hold of its users. We’ve seen over a million people sign a petition calling on Snapchat to revert its UI, witnessed Facebook users drop for the first time in history  and watched as annoyed Instagram content creators rage about the platform’s move towards a Facebook-esque algorithmic news feed. Right now, there are over 500,000 posts on Instagram tagged #Vero, the majority of which are posts of people promoting their Vero accounts.

Will Vero last?

We’re not sure yet, it’s temptingly easy to say yes when you see other social networks enraging their users. The reasons to switch from Instagram and Facebook are clearly very valid, but once the first million have all got their accounts for free, we’re not sure if Vero will continue to gain new users.

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