Ello is a Public Benefit Corporation, with a legal obligation to never display paid third party advertising, sell user data to a third party, or sell our company to anyone that would ever do any of those things.
We believe that the best privacy protection is transparency, so all of us can make smart choices about how to use Ello. Read Ello's Bill of Rights here.
Here is information about the data that Ello collects when you join our network:
We believe that you should be able to be anyone you want on Ello, and you are not required to use your real name when signing up. Quite honestly, we don’t care who you are because we don’t serve ads and don’t sell user data.
When you use Ello, some information needs to be saved about your account in order to make Ello work. For example, when you post on Ello, servers store your posts in a database, so they can be called up later when you or someone else wants to look at them. We store who you choose to follow on Ello, so we can connect you to them and vice versa when you’re logged in. Also, when you sign up to use Ello, the information that you fill out on your profile and settings pages is stored as well.
When you create an account we do require you to use a valid email address. We may use it if we need to reach you about important system updates; to reset your password; to contact you if there are any safety or other issues you should be aware of; to send you our newsletter if you opt-in to it; and to verify that you are a real human being of some kind and not a robot.
Besides the obvious information mentioned above, that’s used to make Ello run, Ello does not seek to collect or store data linked to individuals. You can download all of the information that Ello has stored about you on your Settings page on a desktop under “Your Data” (coming soon to mobile). It’s yours after all!
In order to make Ello better, we do collect some anonymized data through Google Analytics and Segment. This information shows us in a general way how people are using Ello, where they are coming from, how long they spend on Ello, etc. — which helps us develop new features and improve Ello. That said, we only need general data to do this (not data about individuals), so all of this data is immediately anonymized when you visit Ello so that it cannot easily be traced back to you by us or anyone else.
Furthermore, if you don’t even want to be tracked anonymously, you may opt-out of anonymous Google Analytics and Segment on your Ello settings page. Ello also respects do-not-track browser code and plugins.
Ello uses MailChimp to send out newsletters about product updates, feature releases and other relevant information. We may track open and click rates in MailChimp to make sure we’re not clogging your inbox with information you don’t care about. You can choose whether or not to receive newsletters on your settings page.
Ello allows people to post third party media, such as YouTube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, and other streaming services, that may include embedded advertising. Ello doesn’t make money from ads shown in embedded media, and offers you the option to hide this media when using Ello if you don’t want to see it. Power to the people, right on.
We’re always working on improving Ello, and will continue to enhance our privacy tools as Ello develops over time.
There is a better way.
How Ello Uses Information
When you use Ello, we collect some information related to your visit. This information helps us understand how people are using Ello, so we can make Ello better.
For example, if we create a feature that everybody is using, we want to know about that. If we have a lot of visitors from The Netherlands (which we do) then we might translate our Help section into Dutch (which we are considering, except none of us speak Dutch).
After a great deal of research and internal debate, we decided to use an anonymized version of Google Analytics to collect visitor data. As of May 2015, we have also started using Segment. If that is something you are uncomfortable with, we also offer the option to opt-out.
This solution offers an acceptable level of anonymity and privacy, while providing us with the information we need to make Ello great. As more advanced privacy technology is developed, Ello is committed to adopting that technology as soon as it is feasible for us to do so.
How It Works
The information Ello collects includes your location, language, referring web site, and time spent visiting Ello.
This information is anonymous and aggregated. Before information about you is stored on the Google/Segment servers, your IP address is stripped and anonymized. This means that it is very difficult for anyone (including Ello, Google, and Segment) to trace that data back to any specific user. We can see how people are using Ello in general, but not what you are doing in particular.
To the best of our knowledge, this also makes what you do on Ello useless to Google for advertising purposes.
You Can Opt Out
There are some people using Ello who don’t want to share any information, even anonymous information, about themselves with anybody. We’re cool with that.
On your Ello settings page, you can choose to turn Google Analytics and Segment off completely when you visit Ello. Ello also respects Do Not Track (DNT) settings in browsers. In these cases Ello will not send any information about your visit to Google at all.*
* If you choose to use a Chrome web browser, an Android smartphone, or if you have recently used services like Google Search or YouTube, your web browser or device may be sending data back to Google that Ello can’t control.