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Should You Use VERO For Marketing Your Brand?

It’s been a dramatic week for the social media landscape, with the sudden rise of Vero, a platform founded in 2015 that achieve a dramatic, if somewhat artificial, entrance into the mainstream. But do you need to join in on the hype for this ‘new’ app?

So what is Vero?

So it’s both easy and hard to explain – the main characteristic covered by press and influencers is praising it as “like Instagram before the algorithm” which isn’t entirely accurate. It’s more like the functionality of Facebook or even MySpace with some of the design attributes of Instagram.

You can create a profile, post updates that are images, links or your favourite media (movies, TV, music) along with following or connecting with other users based on your relationship (are you close friends or just acquaintances?).

Like other social media apps, you have a newsfeed that shows the updates from the accounts you follow. One of the other main characteristics used to promote Vero is that it’s advertising free and intends to stay that way, instead, they will be charging a for a subscription fee from users after the first million sign-ups.


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The Pros

  • All posts will be accessible to followers in the timeline based newsfeed
  • Businesses won’t have to rely on ads and users will not be subjected to them
  • It’s a curation of all things you love, not just images
  • Your data isn’t being used as a commodity
  • You can post multiple links to your feed

The Cons

  • It’s an app only with no web version
  • There are a lot of bugs and server issues
  • It’s not as aesthetically pleasing as Instagram
  • It’s not very unique
  • You have to request account deletion

From a user perspective the two main problem I have with Vero is that it is a. not useable due to constant errors and b. not at all interesting.

Successful startups are disruptors or innovators, but trying to be “Instagram Plus” Vero removes the simple joy of clean curation and makes it messy. instead of a beautiful grid, you have a nightmare scrapbook of junk you really don’t want to look at. What exactly is the point of adding a film to my profile?

The comparison to Instagram does them no favours and cements the impression of Vero being an app of imitation, not innovation.

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Can You Use Vero For Your Business?

Yeah, sure, you can. But why would you?

In theory, there are no drawbacks to setting up a business account on Vero – although they have mentioned charging in the future for e-commerce capabilities, at the moment all users seem equal. Saying that there’s really no reason TO be on Vero. Despite the staggering amount of press and new users in the past week, the technical issues have killed most signs of user engagement.

Organic social media typically have low conversion rates, with much lower user numbers and no clearly defined sales funnel it’s hard to recommend investing the time into Vero.

The Controversy

On top of the dubious user experience and the lack of a USP, the most worrying element of Vero is the background of founder Ayman Hariri.

Hariri is the billionaire son of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Hariri, who was assassinated in 2005. The backlash focuses on his tenure as deputy CEO of Saudi Oger, a construction company that shut down in 2017 “after years of mismanagement,” with at least $3.5 billion in debt and thousands of unpaid workers, Bloomberg reported last year.
A 2016 Reuters story reported how the company abandoned thousands of migrant workers in a crowded, filthy desert camp without months of back pay and with limited access to food, water or medical care.” – CNET

Despite claims, he was no longer involved in the company leadership, it was a private family business that he personally benefited from in millions (if not billions) of dollars in historical revenue as a shareholder.

It’s hard to turn a blind eye when this opportunistic wealth is what funds VERO.

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So you should have it figured out by now – I don’t like VERO. I’ve even started to resent it. But that means I have suffered so you don’t have to. There is no visible benefit for businesses to join VERO and all signs point to it being a flash in the pan.


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