Artists and other social media users are flocking to a new site called Vero.
The app and social network is being touted as the new Instagram. But it has already been found to have a number of potential issues – including the fact that it isn't actually working for many people, and the fact that it will eventually start charging subscription fees.
Vero launched years ago, setting itself in direct opposition to other apps like Facebook and Instagram. But it has been gradually gathering pace in recent days, with a wide range of influential Instagram users posting that they are going to start using the site.
But that interest has led the app itself to stop working. Many people are finding that they can't sign up because of technical issues, and then finding themselves unable to actually post once they do.
A flurry of posts from Vero's Twitter account make clear that it is struggling to deal with the rapidly growing interest in the site.
"Due to very large traffic, we're experiencing intermittent technical issues," it posted. "We're working to resolve them as soon as possible."
Other posts say that there has been a problem with signing up, with posting, and even with getting on the site at all. "Thanks for your patience while we continue to work to resolve the current service outage," one reads, while another thanks users for their "support and understanding" during the issues.
Others have also drawn attention to Vero's terms of service, which appear to be of particular concern to the artists and other creatives who are moving to use the app. Part of them, for instance, gives the company the right to use the content posts there, without paying royalties, forever and anywhere.
Similar terms are present in most major social media companies' terms, and the firms claim they are necessary to allow pictures posted there to be shared and embedded. The company said that its terms had caused "confusion", and that they have been updated to "clarify".
Vero has been transparent about the fact that it will eventually charge people to have accounts on the service. "We made our business model subscription-based," a 'Manifesto' on the company's website reads, "making our users our customers, not advertisers".
Eventually users will have to pay an annual fee to get onto the site. Companies will also have to pay if they use a "buy now" feature that will let people buy things directly from their posts.
But, for now, the first million users to sign up will receive free accounts.
"We're so excited to welcome so many new users as part of our first million who get Vero free for life!" Vero posted on Twitter. "We still have room before we hit our first million users."
The rest of Vero's manifesto mostly makes clear that it will try and avoid the problems of other sites like Instagram. It has a chronological feed that includes everything people post, which isn't decided by an algorithm and means that companies or people can't pay to boost posts, as they often do on other platforms.
It also claims that it will avoid the aggressive data collection techniques of sites like Facebook. "Vero only collects the data we believe is necessary to provide users with a great experience and to ensure the security of their accounts," the manifesto reads.
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