Vero has taken the social app world by storm recently. The "Truly Social Network" is the number two free app on Apple’s app store, which speaks to the enormous growth in popularity it has experienced recently. However, not much is known about what the platform is, how it works, and what it does.
A large number of influencers have been posting about Vero on Twitter and Instagram in an attempt to recruit users, who would then become their followers on a new platform.
Vero has advertised itself as an Instagram killer, promising people a new and improved social media experience. Some are skeptical, however, unsure of how to feel about a brand new app to add to their already long list of social media accounts.
So, to help clear up any questions you may have about the app and to help you figure out whether or not it’s worth downloading, we’ve put together a comprehensive guide below.
What is Vero?
Vero is offering users the chance to control their feed in a way that it claims existing platforms don’t. Its biggest selling point is a completely chronological feed, which a lot of people have been wanting back ever since Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter changed their algorithms.
In its manifesto, Vero claims that a chronological feed means there is no space for curation, manipulation, and – most of all – advertising. Users “see what has been shared with them, when it’s been shared with them.”
Each person’s feed is comprised of posts by people they are either connected with or users that they follow. Vero allows those that have signed up to share various different types of media with their followers. This includes but is not limited to books, movies, music, links, and photos.
In a nutshell, Vero is a social media app that allows you to share things with those that follow or have connected with you. Once signed up and navigating the app, its various features feel like they have been taken from a mixture of Facebook, Google+, and Instagram but more on that below.
How to use Vero
While at its core Vero is a platform in which to share different types of media, there are many different things users can do once they have signed up.
“Creating a post” is easy enough. All it takes is pressing the big plus at the bottom of the screen and choosing between camera, link, music, movie/TV, book, and place and then follow the steps provided.
There is also an explore page where you can search by using a curation of popular hashtags, highlighted pieces of content, or typing something into the search bar at the top of the page.
When connecting with other users, you have the choice of four levels of connection; you can simply follow users whose content you want to see, you can connect with an acquaintance, you can claim someone as a friend, or you can let them into your inner circle as a close friend.
These levels allow you to control who sees each of your posts, much in the same way that Google+’s circles were supposed to work or the complicated privacy settings Facebook has set up currently. With a single tap you can determine whether only your closest friends can see a post or if anyone who has ever followed you will be able to see whatever you’ve shared.
Then there are collections, which is apparently where everything shared with you is saved. These collections are split by media type, meaning you and your friends can easily find whatever it is you’re looking for.
There's also an integrated chat feature, which means you can most definitely still slide into those DMs if you so choose.
What does it cost?
Signing up for Vero was free for the first million users to register. Now that that number has officially been reached, the app’s creators have been very open about charging for access to the social media platform. However, due to technical issues (more on that below), Vero has announced that the offer to download Vero for free has been “extended to all new users until further notice.”
As part of its business model and manifesto, Vero has decided that the best way to keep advertising and algorithms out is to charge users, much in the same way a lot of apps are also available as paid versions sans the annoying banner ads.
This subscription-based model means users are the customers, not the product Vero sells to advertisers. At least that’s what is claimed in the app’s manifesto: “Our subscription model will allow us to keep Vero advertising-free, and to focus solely on delivering the best social experience instead of trying to find new ways to monetize our users’ behavior or tricking them back into the app with notifications.”
There has been no indication as to how much the annual fee will be, however, it has been described as a small fee.
Who is behind Vero
Vero is headed by three co-founders, Ayman Hariri, Motaz Nabulsi, and Scott Birnbaum. Birnbaum and Hariri are both also the COO and CEO, respectively. The C-level team is completed by TJ Marbois, and Alistair Stiegmann.
14 product engineers make up the bulk of the team, which makes sense considering the need for a robust technical foundation to run an app that hosts a lot of content. Three UI/UX designers and a customer support employee round off the team of 23 people.
Check out the team via the button below.
Is Vero glitchy?
Due to the app gaining a lot of users in a short amount of time – a phenomenon for which the reasons still remain relatively unclear – Vero has experienced various technical issues that its developers have struggled to deal with.
A quick scroll through the company’s Twitter page (ironic, I know) shows that users are encountering problems when trying to sign up, post, or use other in-app features.
Currently, the answer to the question is that Vero is very glitchy and unpredictable, which makes for a poor user experience. Scaling issues seem to lie behind the app shutting down and not working for a large number of users, as Vero was perhaps not ready for such a large influx in users.
Exactly how many new users have joined is unclear but it was recently announced that the first million user threshold has been met. If the app wants to take down Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook it will have to be able to handle a lot more traffic than it's currently experiencing problems with.
Other criticisms of Vero
While glitchy app behavior and unexpected bugs are plaguing users, Vero is experiencing some much harsher and dangerous criticisms online. Most of it is directed not at the product, but at the team and people behind the app, as well as the terms of conditions and parts of Vero’s business model.
The biggest issue people have with the company’s terms and conditions are that they seemingly gives Vero irrevocable and perpetual rights to its user’s name, voice, and likeness. This could be particularly troubling for content creators as they would lose ownership and control of whatever they end up posting on the app.
The tweet below shows how some people have reacted to the language in the T&Cs.
Because Vero is being touted by many to be a pure content-sharing platform that will help creators stand out in an organic way, it doesn't bode well for users that aim to put original content on Vero.
A big selling point is that the lack of advertising and boosted posts will help creators gain a significant following, as Instagram and Facebook have both focused much more on ad-spend and boosting posts.
On the flip side, the following passage is taken directly from the T&Cs:
Something that has also been deemed suspicious is the fact that a lot of influencers popped up last weekend promoting the app simultaneously in what looked like an organized sponsored content strategy. However, the fact that none of the influencers disclosed that they were being paid to promote the app (if they indeed were, which has not been proven), would make the entire guerrilla marketing campaign illegal.
As the tweet below explains, not disclosing sponsored content is illegal but not a major issue but if a company approaches several influencers and instructs them to break the law it could be a bigger deal – and clearly is to some people.
Who should you follow on Vero?
While most people start with their friends and favorite brands, there are some influencers we think are worth following should you choose to download Vero.
The beauty of Vero is that, in principle, you can follow and connect with whomever you want and whatever way you want to connect with them. You can connect with your closest friends, classmates and colleagues, as well as mere acquaintances to see what everyone is posting (if they want you to see it). Similarly, you can follow influencers and brands to see what they post in the social app.
We’ll be updating this section with some of Highsnobiety’s favorite influencers and brands that have made it onto Vero, so stay tuned.
In other news, we took an inside look at counterfeit culture in Russia. Read more about the black market in Moscow here.