In the past there have been many challengers to Facebook, the most popular social media app. Some of them like Snapchat had met with quite some success.
Tinder as a dating site enjoys its own popularity. There have been a few that did not succeed in holding Social media apps like Ello, Peach, Secret, Meerkat and Mastodon did create ripples. In the recent times, Facebook has been the subject of severe criticism due to the controversies relating to users’ privacy issues.
Then there was the popular uprising against Instagram, which started in 2016. Instagram introduced a ranked feed system, an algorithm that displayed the posts in the order that they were liked by viewers.
It highlights the posts that have more likes, comments or shares. Thus photos that are posted, do not appear in the order they are posted.
This may well have been done to get more engagement from those who view the photos. But, this did not go well with users, who wanted their pictures to be displayed in chronological order.
They disliked their contents being filtered according to some algorithm and also feared that this may lead to not being able to see some contents. Also Instagram began putting up advertisements since 2013, which is considered annoying by its users.
Somehow the impression that came out was that these two giants of social media are using their users as products. The resentment continues to grow. Amidst this scene, Vero steps in with the promise of being a “true social” media.
It comes up with a strictly chronological feed of posts. There will be no violation on what you post and when. This is what appealed to most users who were wary of Instagram’s own home-cooked algorithm. Vero, like Instagram, lets you post your photographs and videos.
You can use filters to make them more alluring. This became the USP of Vero and it found quick acceptance among artists and photographers wanting to showcase their work. Costume-players were the early adopters who liked the pinch-and-zoom feature of Vero.
Vero promised the users that they will see what has been shared and most importantly, when it has been shared.
Enter Vero, the True Social App
Vero is a new trending social media app that intends to beat Instagram, Facebook and others at their own game. Vero calls itself the “True Social” and promises to offer a more authentic user experience.
One of the big USP of Vero is that it is ad-free and intends to remain so in future. Vero is also organized chronologically, making it easy to use and view. Vero is an app focused on image and video, just like Instagram or even YouTube.
Therefore it targets the same group of users who use Instagram, like photographers, videographers, graphic artists and those who work with images and videos including social media marketers.
But unlike Instagram, Vero simply displays the content in chronological order rather than using an intricate algorithm.
As more and more users are concerned about the privacy in Facebook and the algorithm-driven feed in Instagram, they are switching to Vero. Incidentally, Facebook also owns Instagram, so it would be interesting to see how Vero takes on the double-headed giant.
Vero: Meaning and Background
The word Vero is taken from the Italian word for “true” or “real”. It means the opposite of “fake”. Vero exactly means what its name stands for. It calls itself a true social network.
This also implies that other social apps like Facebook are actually promoting ‘fakes’ where people fake their real self in a fake make-believe world. Vero was founded in 2013 and officially launched in 2015.
Although Vero was launched in 2015, it is only in 2018 that it is enjoying unprecedented popularity in 2018. It is the top most popular app in Apple’s App Store and Google Play Store.
Ayman Hariri is the co-founder and CEO of Vero Labs, the company behind Vero. The other two co-founders are movie financier Motaz Nabulsi, and Scott Birnbaum, who is a venture capitalist.
He is a billionaire and son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. He was earlier the Deputy CEO and Deputy Chairman of Saudi Oger, a construction company in Saudi Arabia, founded by his father, which shut down in 2017.
Vero: Controversies and Concerns
These words were considered to be vague and not strictly defined. For example, Vero claims that it collects telephone numbers as a means to secure their user’s accounts. According to Vero, telephone numbers are unique and cannot be faked easily, so it can be used to identify a user in case of loss of accounts or to counter such threats.
Users were also wary of using the data to provide a great user experience. This can be interpreted as targeting a set of advertisements according to a user’s profile.
Moreover, there was a concern on how Vero would earn its revenue without advertisements and subscriptions. These concerns were heightened when it came out that companies and businesses would be able to purchase advertisement space on Vero.
There would be no pesky pop-ups. However, companies can post their links which will take users to their sites. There is a ‘Buy Now’ option to make purchases right off the screen.
There was also a scare when people found that they were not able to delete their accounts. This became much more worrisome when users discovered that a number of Vero developers were Russians.
Some of Vero’s employees are Russians which had led to a controversy during the 2016 US Presidential elections. The fact that in 2016 during the election of the President of US, there was much talked about the Russian involvement, made matters worse. Russia’s attempts influence social media is said to be the cause of the controversy. However, the company declared that they have employees who belong to several nationalities.
The fact that the cofounder and CEO of Vero is Ayman Hariri, who is the son of former Prime Minister of Lebanon Rafic Hariri, made matters worse.
Also the fact that Ayman Hariri was a Lebanese billionaire whose earlier company Saudi Oger in Saudi Arabia faced closure; did not make him as lovable as any other entrepreneur.
How To Sign Up for Vero
Signing up for Vero is easier than any other app and takes just a few seconds. All you need to do is to search for Vero app in Google Play store for Android phones, or Apple store for Iphones. Download the app which is off 73 MB size. A point to note is that Vero is meant for Android 5.0 or later.
After downloading the app, install it in your phone. Open the app and it will present you with the Sign Up options. Enter your Name, email id and password. Then it will ask you to fill your phone number. Vero promises to keep it confidential and will not be shared with anyone. Vero says that it needs phone number for authentication as these are difficult to fake than anything else. In case of any problem with your account, Vero can send notifications to you. There is also another advantage. People who are in your contact list on phone can easily connect with you on Vero. There is also an option to disable the Connection Request so that you are not bothered by such requests.
After verification of your phone number, you are ready to start with Vero.
Starting Out with Vero
The first thing that you will come across on Vero is the Main Feed. This is where you will find the posts from your connections and followers. You can ‘Like’ the post by double-tapping it or clicking the heart on the top right corner. You can click the user Avatar or any hashtag to go straight to these pages.
There is a navigation bar on the top of the screen. It has five icons. The first icon shows a magnifying glass. You can use this to search for users or contents from other users, trending topics and more.
Next icon is the User Profile and Dashboard. You can modify or add to your profile, see your connections and followers, change the settings, review your posts, an perform a lot of other tasks.
Then there is the Collections icon. This helps you organize all your contents. These contents may be yours or shared with you. You can organize these by images or videos, places, music, movies and on similar lines.
The Bell Notification icon comes next. This has all your recent notifications. You can go to any of these and click to see the post.
Finally there is the Chat Balloon icon. When you click this you can send instant messages to your connections or groups. Like other social media apps, you will also be able to send pics, videos, music, pdf files, and many more types of contents.
Creating Posts on Vero
To create new posts of your own, click the create post button, this is also indicated by the Plus sign at the bottom. You will be given a choice off the kind of content that you want to post. For example to share a picture, you can click on the Camera icon. You can write a description and also show the location of the picture. You can also ‘Edit; the picture before posting. Then click the ‘Next’ button which appears on the top right corner. You can choose the audience by selecting Close Friends, Friends, Acquaintance or Followers. You can immediately see the number of persons who will be able to see your post.
Making Your Posts Private
Private option lets you share your post with just one person or a few persons. You can even select the users manually, with whom you want to share the post.
Sharing on Other Social Media
If you connect your Facebook, Twitter or Instagram account with Vero, then you can easily share your post on these social media apps.
How much does Vero costs?
Right now Vero, the media sharing app is free to use. However, it was not intended to be free. To keep the app ad-free needs other source of financing. It has been announced earlier that Vero intends to use a subscription based model where the users will be charged a subscription fee.
Earlier it was announced that the first million users will be given free access for life to Vero. The app has already crossed three million downloads. Later it announced that it might extend the free access to 5 million users. It has extended its free for life offer due to some technical problems that have arisen due to high number of downloads and users.
Vero has not yet announced its subscription rates, but it is estimated to be reasonable and at par with other apps.Vero considers its users as its main customer and rather than make money from advertisers, it aims to keep the app ad-free and give its users a better experience. This is quite in contrast to other social media apps that get its revenues from advertisements. Right now the only revenue that Vero gets is from the affiliate commissions from products found on Vero.
What Makes Vero So Special – The Pros
- A real social network
What makes Vero stand out it is unlike other social media app which encourages people to perform for them, Vero is for oneself and is focused on how one would like to express oneself.. This philosophy is reflected in all its features.
- Connections Classified
The Connections have been classified into Close Friends, Friends and Acquaintances. Therefore anything that you share with your close friends will not be seen by Friends or Acquaintances. This is a good feature that gives you some exclusive control over your contents. Moreover, your connections will never know how you have categorized them.
- Difference between Connections and Followers
Vero allows you to make connections or Follow another user. The basic difference is that you can see the posts of the persons you are following, but they cannot see your posts unless they also “Follow” you.
- Filtering Other’s Contents
Although you may be following someone, you may not like to see all his posts on everything. For example, a person having a good judgment on Music; may not have any expertise on Books. So you can only see his posts on music by filtering the contents. On that person’s profile, just click the three dots below their profile picture and then select the Filtering options.
Some Great Features I Liked:
- Smart Sharing Options
What are the things that generally people share on social media? These are music, books, movies, TV, places, photos, and links! Vero allows you extreme ease and control when you share these with people.
- Posting Photos and videos
Vero is primarily a photo and video sharing platform. It is what Instagram does, but Vero does it better. You can edit your photos as well as videos. You can also add filters and make them look nicer. Within a single post you can attach a lot of pictures and create a photo album.
- Sharing Music
If your friends post any music, you can listen to them directly on their posts. You can also listen and buy the whole track on Apple Music. You can then add them to your playlist.
- Sharing Your Favorite Links
You can also post links of your favorite videos, articles, and websites. It is easy to share these on Vero. You can also use hashtags to make your posts searchable.
- Share Movies
You can share your movie recommendations and check out the trailers shared in their posts by your friends.
- Share Books
Recommend your favorite books and see what your friends are reading. You can even b uy these books straight from Vero.
- Share Your Favorite Places
Whenever you check-in to a new place, let your friends know. You can also post your favorite photographs and self-portraits or selfies to let your friends know how much you are enjoying the place.
- Categorize your Contact List
Vero allows you to categorize your contacts, which is visible to you only. You can categorize them as close friends, friends, acquaintances and followers. Accordingly, you can choose to share your experiences with different contact groups.
- Your Connections will not know how they are Categorized
When you categorize your connections as ‘Close Friend’, ‘Friend’ or ‘Acquaintance’; it is only for your eyes. Your connections will not know which category they fall in. They will be happy with whichever posts you share with them.
- Your Followers
You will have your own fan followings when people know about your interests. Your audience will lap up your posts when you strike a similar chord.
- Following Others
Feel free to follow those who share your interests. You can also follow your favorite artists, stars, writers, public figures, and celebrities.
- Choose your audience
Not everyone can be your bosom buddy. So you do not need to share everything with everyone. Vero limits the audience who can see users’ posts. You can choose to set the size of your audience from “close friend” to “followers”.
- Don’t see what you don’t want to see
You would not like to waste your time in reading what is not worthy of your attention. You would not like to read what a novice has to say about fine arts or a specialized interest. Now you have the power to filter the kind of posts and see what you really want to see and not what is thrust upon you.
- Choose what you want to see
Unlike indiscriminate notifications and feeds that clog your timeline; you can choose the friends whose notifications you want to see. You can even select the categories of friends. You can also follow someone for their specific interests.
- Comments and Chats
Vero also has the popular features like chat and comments. You can send and receive instant messages from your contacts. You will also be able to post images, videos and files through chat.
- Share on other social media apps
You can publish and share your posts on Vero to your Facebook and Twitter accounts. Go let the world know what you are up to.
- Posting Links and Location
Vero also allows you to post links as well as your current location. You can also post your recommendations for movies, books, and music.
For those who have been fed up with the privacy concerns and how your information is being used to target ads at you, will find Vero a breath of fresh air.
The fact that it doesn’t use any algorithm to sort or sequence your own posts is great news for people who want their posts to exist as they are posted by them. The ability to let you choose who sees your post, is a matter of empowering the user. You can also control a lot of junk posts coming your way by using the filtering option.
This feature keeps your collections and feed clean. This also saves you a lot of time and unnecessary eye fatigue.
All said and done, Vero is a good social app that is here to stay. All it needs is continuous support and trust from its users.