I guessed an Ello invite code… And you can, too!

The internet has been exploding with buzz over the new and ad-free social media site, Ello, and has as a result exploded Ello at the time of this writing. I am proud to say that I am an official member (@veritastrophe, of course) despite the fact I can not currently access the site.

Ello is at the moment invite only. And due to its meteoric rise, those coveted invites are hard to come by. Ello has said somewhere that they will continue to churn out invitation codes to its thousands upon thousands of requestors, but who has time for that? I DON’T! What follows is the dramatic recount of how I was able to obtain a spot on Ello without having to wait or ask anyone, and subsequently was able to aid my supervisor at work using the same method.

By the way, if you happen to be the guy from who I took the invite code (and I would look up the handle if I were able to log-in): I’m sorry and my official story is that I bought it on eBay for $5. This is actually my “unofficial” story.

The Story

Being distracted from my boring spreadsheets as I typically am at work, I had inadvertently found myself scrolling through the Facebook feed on my phone when I saw yet another friend post their Ello handle. This had been approximately the 5th time I had seen mention of the site in the past 24 hours. Rather than continue my copy-paste-function-formula Excel nightmare, I believed it to be in my best interest to investigate. It was not long before my supervisor had joined in on the sleuth (because he is as distractible as I am) and we had found ourselves on Reddit. Reddit is where the internet happens, after all.

Save but for one lonely thread, the entirety of the /r/socialmedia sub-reddit landing page was concerning Ello. And on one of these Ello threads, there was a lengthy conversation regarding the exchange of invite codes. The only issue was, if one redditer posted their codes, these were generally snatched up within minutes. We soon found through additional digging that people were selling these codes everywhere and promptly we “went back to work.”

Several hours had passed by the time I could no longer bring myself to continue looking at my project and thought, “Hey! I wonder how that sub-reddit is doing.” And by a stroke of luck, the newest comment on the thread had mentioned that, using two random words joined by a hyphen, they were able to simply guess an invite code for Ello. They guessed. Guessed.

“Wait. Hold on. This is a thing I can do?!”

At that moment, I found a link for the sign up page and, sure enough, in every entry field there is a little dot. And when you type in an invalid entry, that dot lights up red. However! If you type in a valid entry, guess what happens? GUESS! Wait, I’ll tell you! The dot lights up green.

The Denouement

Frantically I scanned the reddit thread looking for any patterns in the words used for invite codes. While they were simple, yet randomized words, I noticed a few were repeated. I chose to re-use the first word of another code, followed by a hyphen, and began typing in other random, short words. Within four tries, I got a green light on “startled-hear.” I quickly typed in and submitted my other information and did a confusing victory lap around the office. I did still happen to be at work.

Shortly after, my supervisor returned to his desk and I told him of my victory. He of course now had to try what I had done. He went to the sign-up page, and asked me again what words I used.


As I watched him type, he asked, “Startled-here?”

“No, startled- wait..”

Another green light! Upon misspelling my one-time-use code, though I still do not  know why he was going to try it, we discovered yet another unused code.

I mean, bought another code on eBay for $5.

The Conclusion

I joined Ello strictly because of peer pressure and that I could. While I don’t have as high of hopes for Ello as others writing on the internet may have, I will say that it is pretty and that I’ve seen people post a lot of pretty things on it. I have also  made it perfectly clear on my personal Facebook page that I am a marketing slut and want internet sites and emails to tell me what shoes to buy and clothes to wear. I am a part of your system, now please take my money.

But for those of you joining the frenzied perceived exodus of ad-copy feeds and marketing circle jerks, by all means, I invite you to cheat the system like I did. For now, I will be hoarding my codes. Because I can. I really hope you’re seeing a theme here. Thank you and good night.

:Mic drop:

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