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You got Facebooks in my Instagrams
April 9, 2012 11:57 AM   Subscribe

A picture is worth a thousand words and a billion dollars. Facebook has bought Instagram for $1 billion in a combination of cash and shares of Facebook. This is striking for since Instagram was valued at $500 million last week, though, right before the purchase they raised $50 million in venture capitol showing they have the ability to raise lots of money quickly. Instagram is notable for having 30 million users despite having been iOS-only until recently creating an Android app. Facebook had been rumored to be working on a photo sharing app, however, like Microsoft buying Skype, the user base was may have been real value, not the easily replicable technology. For those that rue this news, there are alternatives to host your sepia toned cell phone pictures.
posted by wcfields (84 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
until recently creating an Android app.

An unpopular move in a few circles.
posted by kmz at 12:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is striking for since Instagram was valued at $500 million last week,

Valuation is a funny thing, since the investors who bought in last week at $500 million certainly had no interest in selling for that price. Otherwise they wouldn't have bought in.
posted by smackfu at 12:02 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


As long as Facebook doesn't do to Instagram what Twitter did to TweetDeck, I'm not particularly worried.
posted by tommasz at 12:03 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is striking for since Instagram was

I words in my sentences for.
posted by wcfields at 12:04 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


So is this a sign that Facebook is entering their Yahoo! period?
posted by box at 12:05 PM on April 9, 2012 [22 favorites]


I was thinking that Facebook is the new AOL but the Yahoo analogy works too.
posted by octothorpe at 12:07 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Well, at least we know that Facebook isn't run by people that know what they're doing. Our privacy might be secure after all.
posted by Yowser at 12:09 PM on April 9, 2012


And quietly (though loudly for those of us employed by one of the players), Microsoft bought Netscape this morning.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:10 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Remember what a good thing this was for Gowalla users?
posted by littlerobothead at 12:12 PM on April 9, 2012


I was thinking that Facebook is the new AOL but the Yahoo analogy works too.

Something something 400 million Facebook 3.0 CDs.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:13 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


And for those who can't remember that ole Mefi favourite... (insert Instagram instead of Polaroid) Polaroid App on my iPhone. Taking pictures on London fields. Up on the blog so everyone knows new age fun with a vintage feel.
posted by Yowser at 12:15 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Potomac Avenue: "And quietly (though loudly for those of us employed by one of the players), Microsoft bought Netscape this morning."

Wow, I wonder if they also got a share of Nullsoft as well.
posted by wcfields at 12:18 PM on April 9, 2012


It's interesting, to me, that if the main value of Instagram is its network, that means that Facebook is willing to pay at least US $33 / user, so I assume it thinks that it can extract at least that much value from each of them.
Or of us.
posted by signal at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


Facebook buys Instagram, so now people will be able to...post pictures...on Facebook?

Okay.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:19 PM on April 9, 2012 [11 favorites]


"[There's] a new phenomena that I like to call the Stacks [vertically integrated social media]. And we've got five of them -- Google, Facebook, Amazon, Apple and Microsoft. The future of the stacks is basically to take over the internet and render it irrelevant. They're not hostile to the internet -- they're just [looking after] their own situation. And they all think they'll be the one Stack... and render the others irrelevant. And they'll all be rendered irrelevant. That's the future of the Stacks.

People like the Stacks, [because] the internet is scary now -- so what's the problem there? None of them offer any prosperity or security to their human participants, except for their shareholders. The internet has users. Stack people are livestock -- ignorant of what's going on, and moving from on stack to another. The Stacks really, really want to know you're a dog.

They're annihilating other media... The Lords of the Stacks. And they're not bad guys -- I'd be happy to buy them a beer. But really, a free people would not be so dependent on a Napoleonic mobile people. What if Mark Zuckerberg trips over a skateboard?

This structure won't last very long... But you're really core people for them and their interests. You are them. I'm them. And your kids are going to ask embarrassing questions about them. And there are voices here and there complaining about them, [like] Jonathan Franzen. He says Twitter is destroying literature. And he's right. So don't make fun of him. He's telling the truth."


- Bruce sterling at SXSW this year
posted by Artw at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2012 [24 favorites]


Oh Internet monies!
Why even use pretend dollars anymore?
Why not just say "for the acquisition of your popular app and rights to it worldwide, I give thee infinite reign over my kingdoms on Jupiter and all of the outer rim territories of Rigel-9"
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


(Yes, yes, I know, the real value to Facebook is the userbase, and the value is likely higher than $33 per given that many of the users were already using Instagram with their Facebook accounts. But functionality-wise, this is redundant to the point of hilarity.)
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:20 PM on April 9, 2012


AOL sells 800 patents to Microsoft for $1 billion

AOL is now, what, some blogs?
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Six people work at Instagram.
posted by PapaLobo at 12:23 PM on April 9, 2012 [14 favorites]


So is this a sign that Facebook is entering their Yahoo! period?

The main problem with this analogy, tempting as it may be, is that the disappointing period of Yahoo! came well after Google started eating their lunch on the search/finding-stuff front, leaving them a headless "portal" of everything and nothing. Facebook is still huge, still growing, and has no serious competition (and, no, Google+ really doesn't count at this point.) This may well be an unwise purchase, but be careful about taking the analogy too far.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:23 PM on April 9, 2012


Facebook buys Instagram, so now people will be able to...post pictures...on Facebook?

No, Facebook buys Instagram, so now people won't be able to post photos on Facebook's competitors.
posted by smackfu at 12:24 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


AOL sells 800 patents to Microsoft for $1 billion
AOL is now, what, some blogs?


Some blogs with A BILLION DOLLARS.
posted by echo target at 12:26 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Dear iPhoners who were up in arms about Instagram getting an Android version last week, I expect you off Facebook in 24 hours. Your hipster-photo-hangout is now mainstream and a sellout. How do you like them apples?
posted by deezil at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [15 favorites]


smackfu: "No, Facebook buys Instagram, so now people won't be able to post photos on Facebook's competitors."

Zuckerberg:
We think the fact that Instagram is connected to other services beyond Facebook is an important part of the experience. We plan on keeping features like the ability to post to other social networks, the ability to not share your Instagrams on Facebook if you want, and the ability to have followers and follow people separately from your friends on Facebook.
posted by octothorpe at 12:27 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, they all say that...
posted by Artw at 12:28 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


An unpopular move in a few circles.

Wow. That's fucking dumb.
posted by Artw at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, my snarkiness notwithstanding, the over/under on that promise is six months.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:29 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


"We plan on keeping features..." there's their out right there.
posted by dolface at 12:30 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]



Something something 400 million Facebook 3.0 CDs.

You mean SIM cards not CDs.
posted by infini at 12:30 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I wonder if anyone at Yahoo even realises that they should have owned this entire market with Flickr
posted by fightorflight at 12:31 PM on April 9, 2012 [31 favorites]


And the word capitol in the FPP is incorrect

/pedant
posted by infini at 12:32 PM on April 9, 2012


I wonder if anyone at Yahoo even realises

I think they all left a couple of years ago.
posted by infini at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bubble. There, I said it.
posted by dickasso at 12:33 PM on April 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


fightorflight: "I wonder if anyone at Yahoo even realises that they should have owned this entire market with Flickr"

Yahoo could have (and still has a chance, but they seem too obtuse to even realize it) owned the entire "Internet 2.0" experience through their properties.
posted by wcfields at 12:35 PM on April 9, 2012 [6 favorites]


Bubble. There, I said it.

If one overvalued company buys another overvalued company uses overvalued shares... what's the difference?
posted by smackfu at 12:36 PM on April 9, 2012


I like apples.
posted by seanmpuckett at 12:37 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yahoo should keep Yahoo Fantasy Sports and turn the rest of the company into a casino/strip club also called Yahoo Fantasy Sports.
posted by mattbucher at 12:38 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


Here's the money Facebook used to purchase Instagram
posted by exogenous at 12:43 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


It's interesting, to me, that if the main value of Instagram is its network, that means that Facebook is willing to pay at least US $33 / user, so I assume it thinks that it can extract at least that much value from each of them.
Or of us.


Your worth is as a member of a network, making the network more valuable. It's necessary to have 27 million users to reach 100 million users, or 200 million, or wherever the dollars per user is low enough to make a profit.
posted by michaelh at 12:48 PM on April 9, 2012


This is kind of nuts.

I first heard of Instagram when I was at a holiday party at my sister's place a year and a half ago. A good friend of mine, Chris, from back in Providence was in town, and I brought him along. He owned a small software consulting company that I'd worked as the interface designer for in the early to late 90s. We operated out of an office in his basement, and the company had 2-3 other people (all programmers) working for it. One summer that number swelled to 5 when my friend's nephew Kevin and *his* friend were hired on to help out during their (high school) vacation. They helped liven the place up with their youthful energy and Cult Of Linux ways. We had a couple of really big corporate clients (one of them a company that made devices for tracking stolen cars, *cough cough*) we were designing software for, and part of Kevin's job was answering the phone and taking down bug reports (and fixing what he could). It was endlessly amusing that the CTOs of this company had no idea they were talking to a (very competent) high school kid. After vacation ended, Kevin continued to work with us off and on during weekends and school vacations.

Anyway, we were at this party, and my sister has a lot of tech reporters in her circle of friends. My friend Chris was sitting on the couch, snapping some photos with his iphone when I saw a NYT reporter stop by the couch and get engaged in what seemed like a lengthy conversation about Chris's phone. Later Chris explained to me that the reporter noticed he was using Instagram and asked Chris how he liked it. Chris said he thought it was pretty fun, and was actually taking photos at the party to share with his nephew Kevin, who invented the application in the first place. Of course it turns out that the reporter had been trying fruitlessly to get in contact with Kevin about an article about Instagram he'd been tasked with writing. Happy coincidence.

Personally, I haven't see Kevin in years except for briefly at his grandmother's funeral last year, where he seemed just as friendly and normal (for lack of a better word) as I remembered him being in high school. I guess what I'm trying to say is that if anyone is going to get showered with half a billion dollars, I probably can come up with a pretty long list of worse people it could happen to.

I finally broke down and bought an iphone a few months back, but I've still yet to find a reason to download Instagram
posted by stagewhisper at 12:58 PM on April 9, 2012 [8 favorites]


Yahoo is still trying to figure out how to monetize Geocities.
posted by any major dude at 1:00 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


If Facebook changes it so Instagram shots show up in the news feed that'll be a lot more useful to me. I don't much see the appeal of shooting pictures with Instagram but I'm game to look at other people's overly-filtered/contrasty stuff. But I never remember to open the app and look through the feed. It's the same problem I have with Tumblr's dashboard system.

A billion bucks though is just crazy. Hard to believe someone thought that was worth the per-user cost.
posted by phearlez at 1:07 PM on April 9, 2012


I don't think there's a per-user cost component to this, unless you're doing the math from the other side. There was a possibility that Instagram would become the de facto "cool" place on the web for creating/viewing/sharing images, and maybe they'd figure out a good way to monetize that, and maybe people would be sharing things on Instagram and NOT Facebook, therefore Facebook must prevent that from happening. Facebook is kinda stuck in their niche, sharing things largely with people you already know, whereas Instagram uses photography and sharing to discover new people/art.

The whole "formerly iPhone-exclusive" angle is a pretty interesting one - reading the twitter backlash from certain users is the type of guilty pleasure I love. The fact that they were abandoning this to maximize the size of their userbase was probably enough to force Facebook's hand. I think this is definitely a move to eliminate what I would call an indirect competitor rather than to add a technology to facebook's portfolio.

Then again what do I know.
posted by antonymous at 1:28 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Like signal I'm curious about the $30 / user price, too, but I'm pretty sure this deal wasn't primarily motivated by user acquisition. It seems more like a bet on the team and the innovation that will come out, plus maybe keeping Instagram out of the hands of some competitor like Google.

Still, just for comparison, Zynga bought Draw Something for $10 / user. And Draw Something had significant revenue.
posted by Nelson at 1:45 PM on April 9, 2012


AOL is now, what, some blogs?

AOL is my mom, and a few million other moms and dads and others, who, despite being set up with a gmail account and mail client that works perfectly with no ads, insists on logging into the hell that AOL continues to be because the nice-lady-down-the-street's daughter set it up for her.

I have no idea how they expect to make any money off of her, though, and they must be finally running out of 90s money, so they sell patents.
posted by Huck500 at 1:49 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


I remember laughing about Instagram's $100 million valuation this time last year.

This is absurd. It's a service that adds an old-timey filter to pictures you take on your phone. I mean, I'm aware that it has social features but in practice, people use this service to post pictures to other services.

This is the Pets.com of Bubble 2.0. Guaranteed.
posted by downing street memo at 2:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [10 favorites]


I'm not sure I buy any of these arguments. I've been trying to think of how they came up with the 1 billion dollar number. As other people are saying, $30/user is outrageously high, and even if they think they'll hit 100 million users in the next year, 10 dollars a user is still too high.

Their IP can't possibly be worth that much. As others have pointed out, it's a bunch of digital filters. A college kid in his dorm could create a competitor in two weeks.

The team itself? You could probably have hired each developer away for a fraction of the cost. Hell, you could probably have them assassinated for a fraction of that as well.

Killing off a competitor is probably worth some number as well. I guess if you add up all of these things, you might get somewhere within an order of magnitude of 250 million dollars, but I'd really like to see the due diligence documents from Facebook on the reasoning behind this deal.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 2:14 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Killing off a competitor is probably worth some number as well.

Is it even really a competitor? I mean I know some (presumably very small) fraction of their userbase actually uses the platform to do social things. But it feels like the vast majority are just people who want to take faux-artistic photos and share them to Facebook.

It seems like this company has a symbiotic relationship with Facebook, a la Zynga, rather than competing with them. Which makes this decision all the more puzzling.
posted by downing street memo at 2:17 PM on April 9, 2012


I mean, I'm aware that it has social features but in practice, people use this service to post pictures to other services.

What? That's not really true at all. Most of the stuff I see on Instagram is only posted to Instagram. A couple of friends cross-post everything to Facebook but they are definitely in the minority and they are also usually the lower-volume users. The social aspect is the point of the app for my contacts and for me, I never use filters at all.
posted by enn at 2:19 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


wcfields: "This is striking for since Instagram was

I words in my sentences for.
"

Yeah but has anyone really been far even as decided to use even go want to do look more like?
posted by symbioid at 2:23 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Instagram Is Facebook's Pinterest Killer

Not sure how much sense this makes as the main driver, but perhaps it's part of the logic...
posted by Esteemed Offendi at 2:30 PM on April 9, 2012


Is it even really a competitor?

I honestly wouldn't have thought it was a competitor before last week's 500 million dollar valuation. And it seems like if you have social media in your site's meta tags, Facebook and Google are going to consider buying you.

To me it seems too much like Groupon's overvaluation. A product with what I see as a not-terribly loyal userbase, and an incredibly low barrier to entry.
posted by thewumpusisdead at 2:32 PM on April 9, 2012


What? That's not really true at all. Most of the stuff I see on Instagram is only posted to Instagram.

Well then, you're different from me and my peeps then, aren't you? Good on you, son.

A lot of weirdness going on here, making me wonder if Facebook is buying the brand name more than anything, but what makes it especially strange is that, based on my usage of Instagram over the last year, it is a buggy app that I always figured was half-finished. Uploading a new image on Instragram is guaranteed to fail at least 50% of the time for me, especially if I'm on 3G and not on Wifi (and taking pictures out there in the world, while you're on 3G is kind of the point, no?). It just says "Failed..." - no reason. You click retry, you wait 20 seconds, and it says "Failed..." again. Shutting down the app and trying again in half an hour usually works. And of course, the web interface for Instagram is famously non-existent, such that other people have had to go and make it for them - I assume these sites aren't getting a cut of the $1 billion,

Maybe Zuckerberg was just insanely frustrated and annoyed by Instagrams failings, wearing on his mind like the buzz of a mosquito, until finally he had enough and decided to throw some cash at it to own it and fix it...
posted by Jimbob at 2:54 PM on April 9, 2012


Some Instagram users ain't happy...
posted by Jimbob at 3:04 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


I had a Facebook status recently: "I don't understand Instagram. Why would you want to deliberately reduce the quality of your photos?"

I still have that same question, plus "on which planet is Instagram worth $1 billion dollars?" And possibly "what have you guys been smoking?" as well.
posted by MattMangels at 3:14 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bubble. There, I said it.

If one overvalued company buys another overvalued company uses overvalued shares... what's the difference?


At the end of the growing bubble there isn't a greater fool to unload your 7000 dollar tulip bulb on. In Kindleberger's Manias, Panics, and Crashes my favorite bit is how Isaac Newton (THE Isaac Newton) lost his life savings in the South Sea Bubble.
posted by bukvich at 3:44 PM on April 9, 2012


I had a Facebook status recently: "I don't understand Instagram. Why would you want to deliberately reduce the quality of your photos?"

Because they are "throw away" photos. No-one used to get all paranoid about the quality of Polaroids or 110-format cartridge film. Do you still have the negatives from every photo you ever took on film carefully stored away? Maybe you do, but I've kinda given up caring.

It is an aesthetic (and, I admit, an overused and kinda annoying one), but there is something fun about just taking a photo, making it look a bit interesting, and releasing it into the wild instantly. It serves a different purpose than taking RAW images on my DSLR and then importing them into Lightroom and mucking about with them and exporting them and uploading them to Flickr, then making sure I back up my drive so I don't lose all those precious RAW images...
posted by Jimbob at 3:50 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


Don't understand the hate for Instagram. I love the shit out of it and its made me take more photos than I ever have before. Its disposable, for the now. Not meant to be high quality.

Not sure how I feel about the Facebook thing.
posted by AzzaMcKazza at 4:33 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I get the retro aesthetic, and I've even heard that typewriters are becoming popular among some members of a certain "hip" segment of the population. "Everything old is new again", as they say. Instagram always seemed a little funny to me (though deep down I really do understand why people use it) because it was only a few years ago that, technology at the time being what it was, cell phone cameras took pictures that were of a relatively poor quality, and now phones have such advanced cameras that people are making their pictures look old and grainy on purpose!

Do you still have the negatives from every photo you ever took on film carefully stored away?

I was born in 1990, so digital cameras have been the norm for practically half of my life. Pretty much every photograph I've ever taken in my life has been on a digital camera. I'd wager that a lot of parents of people a little younger than me have to explain to their kids what a "negative" was.
posted by MattMangels at 4:34 PM on April 9, 2012


Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish: "Facebook buys Instagram, so now people will be able to...post pictures...on Facebook?

Okay.
"

Pictures that have been run through a filter. Don't forget that part.
posted by Bonzai at 4:43 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


Five famous pictures given the Instagram treatment

Yeah, I'm going to go with scratching my head at why you'd want to make your picture look like it;s had a bad Photoshop filter applied.
posted by Artw at 5:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Most photos I see on IG these days don't have borders. You can choose to turn those on and off.

2. IG is not good for taking good photos and making them better. It's good for taking mediocre photos and making them better.

3. Most photos that come out of phones are mediocre. A lot of that is composition, yes, and Instagram doesn't give you magic compositional skill. But a lof of the suck in phone photos is because the lighting is bad or, really, just unintersting. Instagram filters go a long way toward mitigating the problem of bad lighting.

4. Further, almost every photo that comes out of a phone cam lacks a look. Even if you have great lighting, the colors are going to lack excitement, the color response is going to be linear, middling contrast, etc etc. It's the nature of most digital photography these days, really. Digital sensors provide "high quality" images that lack the things that make us really connect with images.

5. There's always a lot of people saying things like, "Instagram isn't going to make your bad photo better." It's just not true. Take that "bad" photo and really pump the contrast and saturation and you're looking at a completely different photo — the shape of the light and shadow is now a major compositional element whereas before it was barely noticed, the red shirt that your friend is wearing now looks dramatic and exciting, etc. etc. Filtering can change so much about a photo!

6. Instagram (and other like-apps) lets you make pictures that look how the world feels, not how it looks. It's not about "quality", it's about a feeling.
posted by wemayfreeze at 5:21 PM on April 9, 2012 [13 favorites]


wemayfreeze: That's why Instagram is worth more than nothing. I don't really think it explains why it's worth a billion dollars though.

My vote is with the folks who are saying "abstruse and possibly misguided business strategy reasons"
posted by aubilenon at 5:51 PM on April 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


I still think this is Bubble 2.0, but then I don't analyze startups for a living like this guy does:

Robert Scoble, I study startups for Rackspace.


Facebook has a problem. After its IPO completes it needs many quarters of strong revenue and profit growth to report to convince investors to stay put and convince new ones to buy the stock.

Zuckerberg is aiming at turning the $80 to $100 billion valuation that will happen at IPO into a $500 billion to $1 trillion company. How will he do that?

Look at mobile. That's what.

Today Facebook has NO revenues from mobile. None. That's amazing, since so many people, hundreds of millions of us, use Facebook on mobile clients.

That will change very quickly after the IPO. Instagram will play a huge role here, plus Facebook gets a very talented mobile development team that has built world-leading mobile apps on iOS and Android (which got a million users in its first day).

Let's say that Facebook can turn on monetization on mobile clients. That could mean $500 million in revenue on first quarter, $700 on second, $900-$1 billion on third. Looking at it this way paying a billion for Instagram makes a LOT of sense.

.....

Instagram adds some important new pieces of data to the Facebook databases:

1. It knows who you like seeing photos from. That gets Facebook a dramatically better photo "graph." That keeps it ahead of Google+, which wooed photographers strongly in its first seven months on the market.

2. It knows where you are when you shoot the photo. That is very important info for Facebook to know about you.

3. It shows a range of passions that you have. If you are a skiier, you take pictures of snow and skiing. If you are a foodie you take pictures of food at high-end restaurants. If you are into quilting, a lot of your photos will be of that. If you are into mountain biking, the same. Facebook's databases need this info to optimize the media it will bring to you. This data is WORTH SHITLOADS! Imagine you're a ski resort and want to react skiiers, Instagram will give them a new way to do that, all while being far more targeted than Facebook otherwise could be.

4. Instagram will let Facebook develop a new kind of Open Graph advertising. One where Facebook will be able to offer mobile developers a lot of money in return for opening their apps up to Open Graph. Venture Capitalists in Silicon Valley are slobbering over this new potential revenue stream, so having lots of VC buyin (they just got a nice payday) will be very important. Imagine that Benchmark now "asks" all of its member companies to support such a new advertising scheme? This could result in billions of revenues for Facebook and member companies.
posted by longdaysjourney at 6:40 PM on April 9, 2012 [4 favorites]


$1 Billion is overvalued.

I got it for 99 cents.
posted by ShutterBun at 6:48 PM on April 9, 2012 [5 favorites]


So when Instagram came out, I thought it was cool and was bummed that it was iPhone only and hoped that they'd make an Android port. Then by the time the Android port came out, I was so sick of seeing thousands of faux-seventies style pictures that I gave it a pass. Maybe the sharing stuff is well done but it just feels like a trend that's right about to die.
posted by octothorpe at 7:01 PM on April 9, 2012 [2 favorites]


Robert Scoble is an idiot hack with a vested interest in keeping bubblemania going (he "studies startups" for another bubble company). And even if he was right about all that stuff, Facebook already has a very popular photo feature - one that's ten times more popular than Instagram, at least - that could do every single thing Instagram is allegedly adding to this company.
posted by downing street memo at 7:24 PM on April 9, 2012 [3 favorites]


smackfu: "If one overvalued company buys another overvalued company uses overvalued shares... what's the difference?"

Because when it all comes crashing down we discover that the utter fuckwits acting on behalf of institutions which are actually important to us (local government, nonprofits, banks, our employer with our pension fund) have been feeding money into this madness and whoops, it seems to have, um, vanished.
posted by dickasso at 1:13 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Instagram is all about adding a shitty, cheesy 70's chic to your already craptastic photos.

As somebody who has never used Facebook and never will, I am LOL'ing in my pants.

I do use tumblr, and I'm pretty quick (not always, but often) to unfollow dudes who take pictures of their morning coffee and Instagram it.

Seriously, Hamster Dance was less annoying.
posted by bardic at 2:34 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


Meanwhile, basic science funding can't break even. I wonder how all of those oncologists and physicists feel about bullshit like this.
posted by AndrewKemendo at 4:28 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


As somebody who has never used Facebook and never will, I am LOL'ing in my pants.

I'm guessing the 10 people that just sold their retro-filter and digital photo sharing business for $1b are LOL'ing a tad harder.
posted by modernnomad at 5:58 AM on April 10, 2012 [3 favorites]


This is how iOS is supremely relevant. One big example of how the Apple ecosystem feeds into so many other businesses. Crushing some, lifting most.
posted by judson at 6:52 AM on April 10, 2012


I wonder if anyone at Yahoo even realises that they should have owned this entire market with Flickr

They owned it for a long time. Then they got lazy. They just didn't keep up.

In any event, this really has nothing to do with "technology". What Instragram does isn't even remotely new. It really more about fashion. It's the same technology that's been around forever wrapped up in a spiffy new design, and it's fissionable now. It's not even like Instragram is the only app that does this.

That's why it wouldn't have mattered if flickr had added 'retro filters' to their website. Most people wouldn't have even noticed. Flickr wasn't cool When you use instagram, you're only using it for that thing, but if it were added as a feature on something else.

Anyway, you can't even predict these things, that's the problem. They're completely chaotic. As long as your code and artwork are at a minimum level, the only thing that matters is whether or not something becomes cool.

However, I think there is some myopia in the "tech community" thinking that the stuff they happen to like using on their iPhones is also going to be liked and adored by everyone else. Stuff like Path or Instagram, or Pinterest for that matter. There is a certain aesthetic sensibility with those programs, and people without that aesthetic sensibility are not really going to care all that much.
So when Instagram came out, I thought it was cool and was bummed that it was iPhone only and hoped that they'd make an Android port. Then by the time the Android port came out, I was so sick of seeing thousands of faux-seventies style pictures that I gave it a pass. Maybe the sharing stuff is well done but it just feels like a trend that's right about to die.
Yeah that's the problem with investing in something because it's trendy. Trends die.
Robert Scoble is an idiot hack with a vested interest in keeping bubblemania going (he "studies startups" for another bubble company). And even if he was right about all that stuff, Facebook already has a very popular photo feature - one that's ten times more popular than Instagram, at least - that could do every single thing Instagram is allegedly adding to this company.
Agreed. It's like people wish they were still living in the world where the internet was doubling in size every six months, eventually, every single person on earth is on it. Stuff is still "sloshing around", people are moving from one service to another, looking at one website, then changing to a different.

But it's annoying to hear people talk about this stuff like it's some epic revolution. It's just the same stuff with slightly different color schemes. Who cares?

Check this out, there was a series of Linux based IPOs in the late 90s. Eric S. Raymond wrote some long blog post, essentially saying "I'm rich, biatch". By the time he could actually sell any shares the price had collapsed by 90%.
posted by delmoi at 7:01 AM on April 10, 2012


That's why it wouldn't have mattered if flickr had added 'retro filters' to their website. Most people wouldn't have even noticed. Flickr wasn't cool

That's not what Flickr missed out on. Forget the retro filters, they're a distraction. What this is about is owning photo sharing in the mobile space. Facebook, despite being by far the biggest on the desktop, was and is failing miserably at this in mobile.

Flickr, on the other hand, was well positioned to own photo sharing in mobile. Instead they snoozed for a couple of years, then scrunched down their desktop website into a mobile website, sacked some staff and went back to sleep.

They literally had all the pieces in hand (yes, including "cool"). They just didn't bother to assemble them. They've been sitting there for four years looking at their claws and fangs like "how do I kill this bunny?"
posted by fightorflight at 7:42 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Can I just say that any time anyone links to a Flikr picture and I'm on my phone, if I really want to see the picture I open Splashtop to remote-control my desktop, go to whatever page I was looking at and click on the link there? That's how bad mobile Flikr is.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 7:46 AM on April 10, 2012


My favorite Flickr drop-the-ball moment is you know that wildly successful tablet with a beautiful 10.7" screen that is just awesome for viewing pictures on? They don't have an app for that. But hey, they just made a minor tweak to your Favorites and Contacts page on the desktop!

Instagram's filters aren't my favorite on my iPhone, but they sure do make it easy to share. So, congrats to Instagram.
posted by entropicamericana at 7:58 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


What this is about is owning photo sharing in the mobile space.

Facebook's mobile apps are not good, true. But this is what I don't understand: when people take Instagram photos, and want to share them with anyone other than a particular breed of tech-savvy hipster, they post them on Facebook. So while I agree that Facebook needs to plow their resources into getting mobile right if they want to be worth half of their IPO valuation, I don't see how this helps.
posted by downing street memo at 8:37 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think I figured it out.

Between:

Artw: "a new phenomena that I like to call the Stacks"

and

downing street memo: "So while I agree that Facebook needs to plow their resources into getting mobile right if they want to be worth half of their IPO valuation, I don't see how this helps."

Facebook is creating a mobile Stack that will supersede whatever mobile operating system you are using. Apple and Google have the advantage because they built the damn OS, but neither has a good Facebook-esq app. Nearly everyone installs the Facebook app as the first thing they do.

It has been reported that Facebook is building a separate app store INSIDE of Facebook which will use Facebook mobile payments (which is also the "next thing" or so I've heard).

So what Facebook is doing is trying to render the phone itself as a 'dumb pipe', much as the phones rendered the carriers. As long as you have internet on your mobile device you will access Facebook for everything: Photo sharing, Social Network, Mobile Payments, and future TBA Web Appz.
posted by wcfields at 9:36 AM on April 10, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm going to post this on my geocities site and link to it on friendster!
posted by srboisvert at 9:51 AM on April 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


…people take Instagram photos, and want to share them with anyone other than a particular breed of tech-savvy hipster…

I have 50,000 followers on Instagram — I got on the Suggested User List about 6 months ago and have benefited from their extraordinary growth. I bring this up not to brag (my engagement rate on that 50,000 is incredibly low) but to say that I see a broad spectrum of Instagram users. I get all kinds of followers from all kinds of places with all kinds of backgrounds. I'm not saying it's some sort of multi-cultural paradise with everyone in the world equally represented, only this: "tech-savvy hipsters" make up a small (and getting smaller) percentage of Instagram users.
posted by wemayfreeze at 10:22 AM on April 10, 2012


Instaport Lets You Download All Your Instagram Photos as a Zip File
posted by Artw at 2:27 PM on April 10, 2012


wcfields: "So what Facebook is doing is trying to render the phone itself as a 'dumb pipe', much as the phones rendered the carriers. As long as you have internet on your mobile device you will access Facebook for everything: Photo sharing, Social Network, Mobile Payments, and future TBA Web Appz."

Their plan is...whoahahaha...their plan is to get people to buy shitty web-based webapps?

I can't wait to short their stock.
posted by mullingitover at 6:55 PM on April 12, 2012


Web freedom faces greatest threat ever, warns Google's Sergey Brin - Threats range from governments trying to control citizens to the rise of Facebook and Apple-style 'walled gardens
posted by Artw at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2012


Yes, if I ran an advertising company masquerading as a search engine, I would be somewhat concerned about "walled gardens" that I could not index and sell ads against.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:11 AM on April 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


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