"The company [Ello] filed in Delaware as a Public Benefit Corp., which Ello says makes it legally impossible under US law for investors to require Ello to show ads, sell data, or sell the company to any buyer who would violate those conditions." - Jonathan Shieber, "Ello Raises $5.5 Million, Legally Files As Public Benefit Corp., Meaning No Ads Ever," in Tech Crunch, October 23, 2014. Here is the article.
Because of its value proposition, Ello is getting lots of attention. For example, last week Bloomberg Business Week featured in its "Etc" section. And old-line social media experts have been analyzing it from every angle.
But what most of those deconstructions skip over are two things.
One, the site allows porn. Porn, the soft kind, is a popular entity for consumption. If this weren't America, with its Puritan beginnings (a whole bunch of misfits who were driven out of England) and the ethos for wholesomeness, a lot more folks could be making a good buck off soft porn.
Secondly, the site is invite-only. That creates a pull force. Everyone wants an invite. That marketing ploy is as old as the magical thinking that somehow we will receive an invite to the Vanity Fair Academy Award party, instead of just reading about it in the glossy.
For those two reasons, not the lack of advertising or data mining, the experiment could pan out.