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Is VERO really algorithm-free?

VERO, we’ve all heard about it but is it really the hot new platform you absolutely need to get on? For the uninitiated (aka everyone who’s been living under a rock for like the last week) VERO is a self-proclaimed TRUE social media platform that’s algorithm free. But is it?

VERO: classic marketing tricks and the advantage of being on it from day one

First of all VERO is using the oldest trick in the marketing playbook: : ‘Quick! Sign up while it’s still free! Because after the first million users, we’ll start charging subscription fees!’ Yeah right. A couple of days later: ‘Due to the exceptional demand, VERO extends its ‘Free for life’ offer’. So I’m guessing it’s not going to be a paying service any time soon.

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Sorta stupid marketing tactics aside, I of course signed up too. Why you say? Because being one of the first on a new social media platform can only be advantageous, right? There are numerous examples of social media celebrities whose fame is due to the fact they were there from day one. Chris Burkard on Instagram, apart from the fact that his images are truly mind-blowing, he was an early adapter on Instagram and that certainly helped his fame. Trey Ratcliff on Google Plus… Google Plus is dead, but a lot of people know who Trey Ratcliff is. Or the early Viners! Hell, Vine has been over for what seems like ages but those Vine influencers made a name for themselves and took their audience to other platforms. They also made good money while it lasted. Me and more than a million others were all thinking the exact same thing: Vero might never take off, but if it does, we’re on it! The moment they start charging subscription fees, might mean an abrupt halt to this hyped platform. We’ll see how it goes, but I guess it worth to spend a little time and effort on it.

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No algorithm, but some users are more equal than others on VERO

Like in the early stages of Instagram, there’s a chronological feed so everyone’s post has an equal chance of being noticed. However, I immediately noticed that some are more equal than others. I bet Orson Welles is turning in his grave right now. And George Orwell too ;). Here’s the 411 on how this animal farm is run folks: I have been trying to get the Verified badge on Vero since day one, sending emails to their support team over and over again. I haven’t got a single response. I’ve contacted the Vero staff on the app itself, and on other social media platforms like Twitter, asking them if they had another contact they can set me up with to start the verification procedure. I haven’t got a single response. All while verified profiles are emerging like toadstools after a rainy day in fall, making me wonder who I gotta pay around here to get a damn checkmark. It’s not mainly the being verified aspect that frustrates me, I might as well never get it and I wouldn’t be mad. It’s the fact that the Support team doesn’t even respond to ask for publications or anything; it’s the fact that some have gotten response on their support question, and some don’t. Some have got it done and got help from Vero, and some didn’t.

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A second thing I noticed is that the list of a user’s followers or followings is not ordered randomly, not by date added, nor in alphabetical order. It’s ordered by popularity. So you see the most popular users and the verified users first. You with your brand spanking new account that has zero followers are somewhere in one of the nooks and crannies at the end of the list, never to see the daylight again.

There’s also a category called ‘Featured Users’ in the search section of Vero. It’s not surprising that accounts that are featured are exploding with new followers!

I noticed those featured VERO users are friends from the VERO staff. There’s a photographer featured that’s selling products through VERO (so he’s both on the Products section and the Featured section) which means he’s had connections with the staff before the creation of the app. There’s also a French magazine featured for some odd reason. Oh wait, some of the staff is French. I see.

If they want to keep VERO ad-free, this Featured-section might actually be a good way to get some income by charging to be Featured for a couple of hours/days.


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My opinion on VERO

Given the chronological news feed, having a large and loyal following base becomes as important as back in the early stages of Instagram. So my best shot is to deliver high-quality content and to connect and interact with as much of you as possible!

But now, I’m getting very mixed feelings towards this new app. I’m getting the impression that Vero staff is sitting in their ivory tower, deciding whom to grant fame, like Roman emperors deciding over life or death of their favourite gladiators.

I have to admit that with all its flaws and changes, with its non-chronological feed… at this very moment, I still like Instagram more than Vero.

How do you feel about Vero? I’d love to hear from you! Feel free to leave a comment below!



1 thought on “Is VERO really algorithm-free?”

  1. Interesting perspective. I was shocked to find this “new” app has been around for a couple of years. I’m finding it so slow to load I don’t bother with it for days. There seem to be a good concentration of photographers showing great work there so it looks worth sticking with for now.

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