@quinn Freemium is one of the few ad-free business models in gaming or social that seems to work. When the Internet unapologetically trashed the previous deep-information economy (buying a daily newspaper that sold ads to everyone from Home Depot to baseball-card collectors), the marketing industry discovered it could push the same messaging on the same masses at a cheaper price.
That led to the blogging "gold rush" in which only a few content makers and community-gatherers got rich. And THAT left the rest of us ramen-gobbling losers to gratefully scrape the pathetic leavings at the bottom of the banner-ad barrel hoping we could pay our hosting bills long enough to build a loyal audience and or community big enough to sell to the advertisers to justify the pennies we were "earning."
So - information wanted to be free - as in beer, it turns out, not (as we were so often promised) as in speech, knowledge and sunlight.
How Facebook and the rest of the social-graphers figure (correctly) that if you build an artful honey trap - or, say, 500 million of them - network them all together and con their residents into giving up a lot of personal information, you can sell said information to companies that want to reach only particular species of honeysuckers.
My point (and I am getting to it) is that the information economy is fucked, so the best tactic may be to provide the social-network functionality that users take for granted (friending, sharing ideas, links and media, etc.) free. And then sell something no one else offers: privacy.
What that looks like in the long run will be up to Ello and its members, but right now it's your one unique product - and it's pretty precious.