Ello’s sudden rise to fame makes it the perfect target for hackers, who launched an apparent distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the new social network over the weekend.
According to reports, users were locked out of the site for about 45 minutes on Sunday as the Ello team worked to patch the problem.
A homepage message told visitors that “The site is currently unavailable while we conduct some necessary maintenance. Follow along for any updates on our status page.”
But the status page told a different story, telling users “we are undergoing a potential denial of service attack.”
Ello reopened by 4:50 p.m. Eastern after blocking the IP addresses responsible for the attack, according to The Next Web.
Ello did not immediately respond to PCMag’s request for comment.
The startup network exploded last week, reportedly thanks in part to Facebook’s “real name” push that forced several San Francisco-based drag queens to stop using their stage names in their profiles.
A “simple, beautiful, and ad-free” service, Ello does not have a “real name” policy; instead it preaches the idea that a social network “can be a tool for empowerment … not a tool to deceive, coerce and manipulate.”
Currently in beta, the invitation-only service is welcoming new users in small groups while it continues to roll out new features, including better security options to combat concerns from the public.
But the swarm of new Ello users may get a surprise when the free service begins implementing new fees. With no money from advertising and about $435,000 in funding from Vermont-based FreshTracks Capital, it will likely turn to a fee-based system in the future to stay afloat.
Reports tip additional charges for extra features; managing two separate Ello accounts, for instance, could set a user back $2. It remains to be seen how folks will react to a pay-for-service network—quite contrary to popular sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.