instagram icon caged

In recent news, Instagram has changed its brand guidelines, forbidding brands that rely on Instagram’s API to use the name ‘insta’ or ‘gram’ in their name. Although we at Picpack are not directly affected by this change, this move made me think.

A big part of Instagram’s success is built on their eco-system which evolved over the last years around their public API. At launch, Instagram didn’t have a web interface, but a lot of passionate developers stepped in and filled the gap. Thus, websites like Webstagram or Instadash got widely used and loved by millions of Instagram users. Hundreds of developers and entrepreneurs built apps and services that made Instagram better for everyone. There are a couple hundred apps just in the AppStore alone that are in some way enriching and extending the Instagram experience — from the 112 Instagram services listed on Instahub, 78% use either ‘insta’ or ‘gram’ in their name.

It’s fully understandable that Instagram would want to protect their brand. You could argue that a photo sharing app with a camera icon and either ‘insta’ or ‘gram’ in their name is too similar and somehow harming Instagram – but why? Why would you shake the foundation of the ecosystem that has risen up to help nurture your offering? That would most likely not ever be able to (or want to) overtake what you offer?

Most of these apps and services that exist to add value are now forced to completely rebrand, confusing their users, losing engagement and potential customers, destroying SEO and of course, hurting their business.

It’s no secret that Instagram wants the return of their one billion dollar acquisition. Running a service that relies heavily on Instagram and looking at the similar history of Twitter, it looks like we’re about to announce some changes here at Picpack HQ very soon.