The extremely rapid growth of Ello, an ad- and data-collection-free social network, already has some in the press referring to the company as a Facebook killer.
And while there's no denying the network is growing fast (currently about 27,000 people are signing up per hour, founder Paul Budnitz told CNBC), or that the site was launched, at least partially, in reaction to all the data Facebook collects on its users, don't expect the nascent company to really threaten Facebook's dominance, said Jason Stein, founder of social media analytics firm Laundry Service.
Ello was first launched in July with little engagement. Part of the reason for the latest growth spurt is Facebook's recent suspension of accounts of drag performers who weren't using what's considered to be a "real name."
As of now, the network is free to join, boasts no ads, collects no data and is joinable only by invitation. (Invitations are being offered on eBay for anywhere between $5 and $100.)
"Ello is totally free, will always be free," Budnitz said. "But some people want special features—they will have to pay for that. You're a graphic designer and want to control your personal login and your business profile, we're going to charge $1.99 for that."
"We don't need to be a $30 billion company to be successful," he said. (The company is reportedly already attracting brand attention, as well.)