Fuck You, Instagram

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Tuesday, December 18th, 2012, 2:35pm
Categories: Mouth Diarrhea

Oh, the silliness of it all
-My first picture on instagram
Image By: Mike Peralta

Quick rant of the day. Instagram just announced that they now have the right to sell your photos, without compensation or restriction, to 3rd parties. If you recall, this is generally the same thing that caused a mass exodus from twitpic back in the day.

Some people are on instagram's side, taking a sarcastic tone with a general sentiment of "So this company that I use absolutely for free is trying to make money? Oh how DARE they!!", but I feel like they're not seeing the whole picture.

For one, of course companies should try to make money off their 'free' products, but there are much better and more creative ways to do it. For one, instagram is now pushing their main web interface more (don't even get me started), and ad supported websites are historically proven to work (provided you have traffic, which instagram does/will). Not to mention promoted 'whatevers' (like promoted tweets, or facebook's promoted posts), selling anonymous data, API fees, and on and on and on.

Selling instagram user photos could also be a great idea, provided each user is allowed to opt in or out at will, without losing their account, and I could see most people opting in if they were also offered a share of the money earned.

As I understand it now, it seems that instagram isn't allowing anyone to opt out, and all you're able to do is cancel your entire account before some date in January, or you're automatically opted in. Instagram is essentially telling people "give us license to sell your photos or we don't want you here". But people are already attached. They have large follower lists; Some have very huge lists. Some have tons of photos that they're emotionally attached to, but may not have a backup of. Some have put in a ton of work just creating and promoting their account in general. I myself am following around 60 friends and fans, and have over 1,000 followers as of this writing, with a few pages of photos. Instagram is essentially saying that we must all agree to their new overbearing terms, or lose everything. Of course people are going to be pissed!

You might also be wondering what's inherently bad about having your photos used. The thing is, I understand that the vast majority of people have nothing to worry about - casual users who are simply having fun online and don't do anything significant with their account. That's okay, and I used to do that too before I became a huge whore (read as: Self Promoter).

The problem is that you don't have control over how your images are used. According to everything I've read, instagram could conceivably sell your photo to an ad campaign for genital herpes, and have your photos plastered all over it, or drug addiction ads, and any other products you're not comfortable with. And seriously, to any instagram sympathizers reading this, how would it make you feel to know your picture was good enough to be used in an ad campaign, online or otherwise, and that you weren't being paid for it?

This could also apply to pictures of your children too.

And what if you found yourself in some incredibly newsworthy situation? What if you were in the middle of some crazy situation, or you spotted your favorite celebrity, or one of your photos went viral by some chance? Would you be okay with them then taking your photo, and using it for their own financial gain, without paying you a dime?

I for one, am not okay with this. I will be watching the news, and if Instagram doesn't backpeddle before their deadline in January, I'll probably end up deleting my account, and I recommend you do too.

I hear Flickr just released a new app...

Disclaimer: I do not represent any of the above statements (nor any in my entire website or life) to be fact. They only represent what I believe I have observed at any given time.

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Mike Peralta is an independent musician and you should follow him on Twitter (@MikePeralta) and Instagram (@MikePeraltaMusic), then subscribe to his blog just a bit below this text!
Current avatar photo by Heinz von Bockelmann (CC by 2.0, modified by Mike Peralta)

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