Meet Vero, the barely-functional app gunning for Instagram’s audience

Meet Vero, the barely-functional app gunning for Instagram’s audience
Credit: Vero/Google Play

In the last few days a fledgling social media app shot to the top of the free app charts. Vero is a bit of Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all rolled into one and it’d undoubtedly be over the moon dethroning any or all of those apps.

Spoiler alert: it won’t.

Vero has been on the market for three years. Recently, certain contingents of vloggers and ‘Grammers (is that what Instagram stars are called? If not, it should be) have started advertising their moves to Vero. This has caused such a dramatic upswing in user numbers that the app crashes repeatedly — I can’t even search for new users to add without encountering a server error.

While it has many, many similarities to Instagram, the differences are what put Vero on the radar: The news feed is arranged chronologically, rather than by algorithm; there are no advertisements; and you can also post text statuses, links, and music recommendations. If your problem with any of the aforementioned apps is ads or the fact that you’ll see 20 day-old posts from the same twelve people even if you follow 200, then you’re the kind of person Vero is trying to grab.

Supposedly, the app will be free for the first million users, and everyone who signs up after that milestone will have to pay a subscription. Considering the app was created by a billionaire, I’m sure it’ll be able to stay afloat until that point.

So what’s the problem?

Let’s start by saying the app design is rather repellent. That’s personal preference, I know, and I don’t want to shit on the small fish in the pond for that reason alone — but the translucent teal GUI lacks Instagram’s je ne sais quoi.

There’s also the problem that no one seems to know what to do with the app, when they can even use it without server errors in the first place.

Additionally, a few of the people who have advertised their Vero profiles have also said their primary reason for joining the app is just to claim their names, rather than out of any fondness for the app itself.

Let’s be honest: You know Facebook is going to chew up Vero and spit it out, just like it’s done with Ello, Mastodon, and a dozen other apps. Vero tastes like the flavor of the moment, and having users join just to keep control of their branding or to stick it to Instagram isn’t the same as building a dedicated userbase who appreciates the app’s peculiarities.

And the problem with subscriptions is that I doubt very much that there’s a group of people who care enough about social media to pay for it. That’s the beauty of social media: It requires little effort or investment.

So I don’t recommend anyone get a Vero account, even for the dubious enticement of being one of the first million. The signs that we’ve got another Snapchat on our hands are just not there.

TNW’s 2018 Conference is coming up soon, and we’ll be talking about social media, influencers, and app development. For more information, visit our event page.

Vero: The 'new Instagram' everyone's talking about on BBC

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