Thoughts about Vero app: Can the "true social" thrive?

Thoughts about Vero app: Can  the "true social" thrive?
Photo by CHUTTERSNAP / Unsplash

What is Vero?

Words from Vero's values page: "In a world over-run with fakes, deep fakes, trolls and bots, we commit to truth, transparency and meaningful connections."

I only have a brief touch with Vero app and so far I've come up with two questions wether it can or (mostly) can not thrive in todays market. Make no mistake here: I'm not judging wether it is a good or bad platform, I'm simply considering its value/attractiveness for the masses.

High quality content but who pays the bills?

One of the key selling points I've noticed so far is the quality restrcitions of the content uploaded. Where, for example, Instagram resizes images to be somewhere around 1200-1500px max and knownly compressess them, Vero allows 3000px images and seems to compress them less.

Let's skip the part where the number of app users is relatively small and hop on to the point where it has millions of users.

A quick math, assuming an app would only serve images in full size:

Users Images / user Size / image Total filesize Cost*
1000000 1 2MB 2TB $92
1000000 4 2MB 4TB $500
5000000 4 2MB 20TB $1000

To be a bit more realistic, let's assume that the app generates three sizes / image just to serve images faster based on client requested, 100%, 50% & 25%:

Users Images / user Size / image Total filesize Cost*
1000000 4 3.25MB 13TB $299
5000000 4 3.25MB 65TB $1495
5000000 8 3.25MB 130TB $2990

* Based on AWS S3 pricing on S3 standard

For me $35880/year sounds pretty big sum for a company that does not want to have commercial features. Also, if any app wants stay relevant, it has to be steady and fast. Steady and fast means optimized and fail safe content that brings in load balancers, backups etc. types of expensive tech solutions.

Other technical aspects adding up to the bill:

  • Computing (processors, memory... 💰💰💰)
  • Database size
  • Emails

How to get money for all this without selling adds or charging users, I don't know. Selling user data maybe?

The FAQ page suggest that they will start chargin users at some point: "Free for a limited time: join as a Founding Member now and your subscription is free for life."

I'm sure that they have the financials figured out though, as the majority of the company is owned by its founders and team.

This brings us to the big question no. 2: Attractiveness.

Entertainment media should be fast today. Can Vero attract users or is its pace too slow?

Again, comparing to Facebook and Instagram (since I'm not familiar with TikTok or Snapchat), Vero seems to be slow on content. It's almost like jumping 10 years back in time when Facebook and Instagram still had chronological feeds and commercial ads were just coming to the market. The difference seems to be that where early days FB and IG were like "This is what I ate today", Vero is more sophisticated - an app for grown up users that want to spend time creating good content. More time per post equals less content equals less app time. For the user that has accounts on more popular platforms, going to slow-paced social media can be interesting for a while. My theory is that the time spent on mobile device stays about the same and users won't easily abandon their accounts on other platforms, where the steady dopamine dosage is quaranteed. See the social media is a drug for many and who goes from strong and steady to mild and calm?

Vero claims that they are not about addicitve app usage, but real connection: "VERO is optimized for connection, not addiction, putting you in total control".

Can this be a base for any thriving social media today? I personally don't think so but that ideology definately attracts me.

One thing about app attraction and addictive things: I'm thrilled to see how fast I can gather followers and wether I can or can not get interactions. I think this makes Vero addictive to me at this point 😄

Can Vero the "true social" succeed?

I don't know, but I'm sceptic. For the first time in ages though, I'm actually interested in something new what comes to social media. As many others I know, I'm fed up with the lack of real content in my Instagram. So far it seems that Vero has gathered goodies from many platforms and if one spends enough time in the app discovering accounts and channels to follow, the feed might become very interesting.

If you are interested in action sports photography, feel free to follow my Vero account:

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