Social network Ello has announced that it will continue to remain ad free, despite recent speculations that suggested it will be forced to allow paid ads onto its network.
Ello said to ensure that it always remains ad free, it has converted to a public benefit corporation (PBC), which it explains as a "new kind of for-profit company in the USA that exists to produce a benefit for society as a whole — not just to make money for its investors".
As part of the PBC charter, Ello will never make money from selling ads and user data, and in the event that the company is sold, the new owners would have to comply with the terms of the charter. It is also legally obligated to take its impact on society into account in every decision it makes.
On the company's site, Ello has described ads as being "tacky" and said it "insults our intelligence".
"We understand some of this cynicism: With the internet turning into one giant billboard, and with virtually all social networks relying on advertising to support themselves, it can be hard to imagine that there can be a better way," the company wrote in a letter signed by all the Ello founders (PDF). "But 2014 is not 2004, and the world has changed."
Ello is an invitation-only social network, which towards the end of September 2014 had up to. While it's nowhere close to being a , Ello has been compared to the much less successful pay-to-use social network App.Net and decentralised social network Diaspora.