To Vero or Not To Vero
Have you heard of VERO? They boast they are the new "True Social." You be the judge.
The first one million customers get it for free for life! And VERO promises not to use any algorithms, bots, or fuss with your posts in any way. You can share movies, books, music, links, and basically share your life the way you live it. BUT WAIT, before you sign up...
Before you "DOWNLOAD" you may want to know something about the glitches and more importantly how the owner, Ayman Hariri, is accused of not paying thousands of past employees. We're not just talking about a few hundred people either. Employees were left with no means to survive because they were immigrants held hostage by the company contract they signed. Due to unpaid residency permits, laws prohibited immigrants from use of sim cards, embassy visits, and even being able to move from their home. The permits should have been paid by their employer, Saudi Oger construction company. The company was owned by Ayman's father.
This has caused a major upheaval against VERO and many people have already uninstalled the app. But as you know, there's always two sides to every story.
Here is a Skype interview with VERO's owner and CEO, Ayman Hariri.
As a digital marketing professional, I have downloaded the app for myself to gain a better understanding of the UI and it's assets as a new social app. Without judgement of the stories behind Ayman Hariri's father's construction company (Saudi Oger), I feel it is important to look at the app purely from a technical and social marketing perspective. I have done my own research on the CEO and will not make any judgment without further review. But I will say this, we all make mistakes or have been involved in things and people who may not have lived up to our expectations, and we all can choose to change.
UPDATE: Feb. 28, 2018, 10:58 a.m. EST:
A previous version of this story included a headline titled, “Vero's founder didn't pay his employees, but now he's all about 'trust,'" referring to Vero founder Ayman Hariri's close ties to the Saudi construction company, Saudi Oger and its non-payment of salaries that left thousands of migrant workers in destitution and homelessness.
A Vero spokesperson took issue with the claim and sent us the following statement:
"Saudi Oger was a Saudi construction company founded by Rafic Hariri, Ayman Hariri’s father, in 1978. Rafic Hariri was Prime Minister of Lebanon in 1992 to 1998, and again from 2000 to 2004, prior to his assassination in 2005. Ayman was living in the U.S. at the time of his father’s assassination and returned to Saudi Arabia to support his family and the business until 2013 where he was Deputy CEO and Deputy Chairman, after which he exited the business to pursue other initiatives, including the founding of Vero, which launched in 2015."