Author Archives: blakecoffeey

Future of Instagram and what’s currently hot:

So what lies ahead for the future of one of the hottest apps on the planet. Well before we look into where the app is heading, we need to look at part of what makes it so hot right now. And to find that out, look no further than Hotstagram. Well at least if your looking for hot people, you won’t find anything about cars, food, or electronics, but yes, plenty of attractive faces. They have a page for girls and a page for guys. You get to vote for your favorite and check up on the leaderboard to see who has the most votes, and it looks like it updates pretty frequently, about every 2 minutes or so. It automatically defaulted to voting for the girls for my computer, but upon checking out the voting stats the females have about 8 times as many votes as the
guys. Pretty exciting, especially if someone you know is up there, but I’m pretty sure most are professional models, at least the top ranked ones. You can see that the photos that are appearing are those that are tagged with examples of the following: #hotstagram #sexy #girl #girls #shoutouts #instamood #instahub #instago #instagramers #instagramhotgirls #pretty #hot.

So if that is what is hot currently, what is hot for the future. Well, what if people start to get tired of the retro looking photo filters. What if people want something brighter, sharper, or even want to create their own filters. An author for the Atlantic blogged about a photo that uses every Instagram filter. Check it out through this link. Is this part of what we will look for in the future. Is there a great market potential to be combining previous filters, or like we said before, really customizing the filter so that it fits your exact needs. I wouldn’t doubt it, and if it is not Instagram to move first on the app front, it would be expected to see apps moving in this direction as this type of move would really energize users.

What do you think the future of Instagram will be? What do you think the future of photo sharing applications are? How will you be involved?


Facebook Camera Vs. Instagram

Well, I have to be honest, I was surprised to see the Facebook Camera application released when looking through camera applications on the iPhone. This is an interesting strategic move for Facebook considering that they just sunk 1 billion into Instagram and are now releasing an application camera that looks to be in direct competition. The timing seems a little backward to me as stated earlier in this blog, why not just compete against Instagram, rather than buy it out and then compete against it. But either way, let’s look at some of the features of Facebook camera and then compare it with Instagram.

First off, check out the application purchasing screen. This has only been out since 5/25 and already has over 800 reviews at almost a full five stars. It looks like the main marketing behind this product is that it is faster. This was a main complaint about uploading a photo to Facebook previously and one that Instagram seemed to address.

Once the application is downloaded it automatically recognized me as Blake Coffin, due to the fact that I already have the Facebook application on my phone and I could just click “Use as Blake Coffin” and I never needed to sign in. The GPS location was turned on and I was instantly connected with every single one of my over 700 facebook friends. The home page loaded quickly with all of my friend’s recent photos and I was able to start rolling.

Taking a picture was very easy, but again, very closely resembled Instagram’s logic and controls. The camera loaded up more quickly than my Iphone camera, but probably not quite as quickly as the Instagram camera. Once the picture is taken, multiple photo filters are available that help to make the picture look professional, including the black and white one that I have chose here:

Although, one cool difference was the ease of cropping the photo from left and right. Not just the square format that Instagram uses. Although when posted to the wall it maintained its original formatting and did not show the crop until the picture was clicked on. The multiple effects were browsed through and I ended up choosing a black and white one for the final product. Beautiful huh?

Ultimately, the application works similarly to the Instagram application but it is currently missing the ability to view your friends photos in a gallery type environment as it only shows the recent status update photos. My guess is that this type of feature will be included in an update but the release was probably rushed due to the recent Facebook IPO and the stock price falling dramatically. It seems to fit with Facebook’s philosophy that it is better done quicker, than done right later.

Upon some additional research the critics are saying that Facebook was working on this application long before discussions to buy Instagram. So again, with it being so similar to Instagram, why spend the billion? Any feedback or ideas would be great to see on here, let   us know what you think?

International Instagram: Asia Updates

Not only is instagram widely gaining popularity in the US. It has also taken off around the world. Specifically, some recent moves that instagram has made have caught the attention of many. Instagrams new version 2.2, which boosts a higher speed camera, also has instagrated(get it?) with two of Asia’s social websites. Now when photos are uploaded, it can easily be sent to Japan’s Mixi and China’s Sina Weibo. For more information on this integration check out this article form The Next Web here. As you can see from this photo:

This is just as seamless as the Twitter and Facebook integration. With these changes and additions in the Asian market it seems that we may see an Instagram office based out of Asia sooner rather than later. Although at this time a user would only see and be able to fully integrate with these other sites if their languages and region are correctly formatted. So if a user was to attempt to upload in the US they most likely would not be successful with the upload to the other social sites.

In addition to these integrations with the social web sites there are additional explorations of instagram coming out of Asia. Upon some searching of the web we were able to locate a website devoted entirely to asian photos. They have searched the instagram database to provide all photos hashtagged with #asian. Check it out here. This website label is shown below.

Statigram allows for many different categories to be viewed, but this category really allows for all asian cultural items to be displayed. One can view pictures of asian cuisine, asian vehicles, asian artists, teens, adults, children and buildings that are all related to Asia and its culture/people. It is wonderful to see the popularity and excitement around sites like this that give a global presence to Instagram and help to categorize all of the amazing photos.

Even companies are using Instagram to market to their Asia customers. One example of this is the Billabong Asia promotions. Billabong is a boardshort apparel leader and is wanting to get more international recognition. They have a promotion on Facebook that will give a winner a new wardrobe worth $2000 once they reach 200,000 fans on Facebook’s Billabong Asia. A photo is below that is taken and promoted through instagram for the contest, thus successfully integrating the expansion movement through both facebook and instagram.

What will be the next innovative idea to further Instagram’s international growth and popularity, especially in Asia?

Desktop Instagram: Is Bigger Better?

Even though the name Extragram sounds very similar to Instagram, don’t mistake it for the same company. Extragram is a third party web-based application that uses Instagram’s API (Application Programing Interface) to access your own Instagram photos once you log onto the Extragram website. This site is so new that my virus software hasn’t completed a review of it yet so click at your own risk, but my computer did not seem to have any apparent issues upon visiting the site.

Extragram is not the only website to bring you your Instagram photos on your desktop. There are many other sites that use the same API of Instagram such as Instagrid, Webstagram, and Gramfeed. I would highly encourage you to check out these other websites and compare them to the mobile device. All of these web-based viewers allow the user to view photos of the people they follow as well as the ability to like or comment on a photo, with the ease of the desktop and desktop keyboard. For those of us that are in an office for the majority of the day and want to see some fancier photos than the ones on Facebook, this can provide an excellent alternative as a web-based application.

The interesting part of this though, is really the strategy behind the release of the API to any public developer. One would initially think that Instagram would want to be the company to develop a desktop based web application, but this has not been the case. A solid revenue model could have been created through the already frequently visited Instagram website and utilizing small ads off to the side of the website. These would not have disturbed the users and they would have brought substantial revenue to the company as it has done for Facebook. Instead, Instagram has released the API. These API’s are available through the development portion of the Instagram site. After cruising through the pages of hypertext codes, I could not find anywhere that showed a charge for getting their API. It appears that Instagram is currently operating under the philosophy that the increased word of mouth will help the brand, and allowing other companies to take the risk of a successful desktop model, which allows them to maintain their brand integrity as Instagram being solidly for the mobile devices. Instagram is really taking additional steps to encourage the creative aspect of the application with allowing access to others within their photo databases.

So we have yet to really see a full revenue model come forward from this company and its parent company of Facebook. Although Facebook has recently released a beta test to only limited users where they can pay for comments to show longer on friends home pages and have priority in the listings . This ability is activated with what is called a highlight button and they are testing consumer price points right now. The payment can be made through paypal or credit card. It will be interesting to see if Instagram utilizes this type of technology to have your photos show up on the top of your friends walls, all for the right price.

So take some time to browse how great your own pictures look on a 13 inch screen rather than a 3.5 inch one. We encourage you to experiment with your creativity on the larger scale. 🙂

The True Instagram Blog

As exciting and cool as our blog is, it wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the official blog website from Instagram themselves. If you’d like to check it out for yourself click here.  But for a quick start guide and some important features to the official website blog that we thought were pretty cool and worth checking out, all you have to do is read on.

So the one thing that this blog really makes you want to do is go out and start snapping some incredible pictures with the cool effects that Instagram offers. The blog works as an area to display high quality photos from all over the world, famous athletes and celebrities, and has a walk through of multiple ways to get the most out of the application. The pictures are from all over the world and come with four different blog series. The series consists of: tips, photo features, user features and Instagram news. The best series to check out is the tips, especially for those new users that haven’t quite gotten the hang of the program so far. But that’s not all.

The most exciting part of this website to us is what’s called Instameets. This website offers a forum to connect fans of the application and discuss concepts, uses, and cool new ideas. And we’re not just talking about an online forum anymore; it has moved to the physical environment as actual locations and times are established. For an example of a successful Instagram meetup you can click here to see what they did in NY. This was one of the more successful meetups that we saw on the website. Just for fun, we checked out our local area to see if anything like this was happening in the Riverside and Moreno Valley area and there was nothing to that extent occurring. So who knows, maybe in the future you will see an event listing from the Instabloggers ourselves 😉 Would you be interested in attending?

Insta Integration

If you haven’t heard yet, there is an app for Android and iPhone that has been released that is getting quite a bit of attention recently. This is not a new app, as instructional videos have existed since 2009 and it won Disruptive Innovator at the 2010 Deloitte Fast 50 awards. The app is called Layar.

A large part of the reason that this application is getting more attention recently is the integration feature that they have installed with Instagram. Before we can go into specific details on these features a description of the Layar app needs to be discussed. The Layar app works by showing you a video imaging of what you show through your phone’s camera lense. It then works to produce a layer of text and pictures of information outlining the different stores, restaurants, real estate, etc that are around you. This way you can directly look at a building and see the restaurants inside. The visual effects are exciting and have worked to develop a concept called Augmented Reality, which means the changing or modifying of what your phone shows as the camera images by inserting the database information on top of the view. So how does this relate to Instagram?

Recently, this application has allowed you to complete these same actions, but rather than see images and texts about restaurants or stores, you can see Instagram images that have been uploaded around you. So if you are at your home and you hold your phones camera up to show your neighbor’s house, you should be able to see any Instagram photos that have been uploaded from that location. Screen shots have been attached below that show the search that came up when pointing my phone at a wall and facing another persons house. This is really incredible technology as it allows you to connect in new ways with those neighbors or people close by. It also can help to identify trends in certain areas, for example if one was to do this same search near a dog park, there should be a lot of cute dog pictures that would be uploaded and viewable. It is almost like locational hashtags.


And here are the Instagram photo capability displayed largely:

Lets just run a quick Groundswell check of the integration of this Layar application with Instagram to see how much potential it has:

1. Does it allow people to connect? – Yes, through seeing other people’s photos who are nearby.

2. Is it effortless to sign up for? -Yes, with a simple download you can be viewing the photos uploaded near you.

3. Does it shift power from the institution to people? -Not really as there is not much of a marketing relation with this type of product, other than choosing a restaurant or store that is purely close by rather than based on advertising dollars.

4. Does the community generate enough content to sustain itself? -Yes, as the photos uploaded alone by people close by would continue to provide a large amount of content.

5. Is it an open platform that invites partnership? -Absolutely, we just saw it with Instagram.

Passing 4 out of the 5 isn’t too bad and could lead to a promising future. Check it out and I encourage you to give this cool application a try, again, it’s available for both iPhone and Android users. If you’ve already tried it, what do you think?

Power of Instagram

Coachella goes Instagram:

Just to show the sheer reach that Instagram has embodied, they are now being used by celebrities attending specific events. Many celebrities used Instagram to display their outfits at the recent event that ended on April 22nd, Coachella.  The link to their page that contains a listing of the photos can be found by clicking here.

This is starting to allow Instagram to flex their muscles as does Twitter with celebrity feeds. This gives free celebrity advertising for the application and will provide mass media attention to continue to build the brand. This is another aspect of Facebook that was missing previously, other than celebrity pages being able to receive likes. All of the top followed people on Twitter are celebrities, so this same type of following should entail with Instagram.

The celebrity power of Instagram is also shown through the search statistics jump that  occurred when Obama joined as well as the top search results including Justin Bieber instagram. This is a very exciting time for this company.

Facebook Takeover of Instagram: The Right Decision?

As is well known, Instagram has been bought by Facebook. But the following are specifics that you most likely don’t know or haven’t thought about.

  1. This deal was worked out over a long weekend (roughly 3 days) between CEO Zuckerberg (Facebook) and Kevin Systrom
  2. The CEO’s  are both under 30 and this deal is one of the largest in recent history
  3. Facebook is set to go public and is estimated to be worth around 100 billion, so roughly 1 percent of net worth has been spent on this takeover
  4. Systrom’s initial offering price was around $2 billion according to sources
  5. Analysts valued Instagram around $500 million
  6. Instagram currently has around 40 million users
  7. This type of deal would only be possible in non-publicly held companies and could be viewed as Zuckerberg’s last impulse purchase decision, before the IPO

Let’s take a look at the above and see about more of an in-depth review of these issues.

First, the power of these two young players is incredible being that they are both in charge of privately held companies. With the technology boom there appears to be a shift in authority to the younger and more tech savvy generation. This type of purchase is considered risky and unorthodox by many investors and by the book analysts. It almost seems that Zuckerberg is acting through paranoia and desire to eliminate any potential competitor, when ultimately, Facebook may have simply been able to out compete Instagram. Think about this, one billion was paid for a company that to this date did not have any revenue and only 13 employees. That is 76.9 Million for each employee if you do the math evenly, sounds a little high for what it is, don’t you think?

Secondly, there are plenty of other photo upload apps that are on the market. Is Facebook’s strategy to try to buy up and eliminate all competitors? This will only encourage more new companies to form to compete for this market and a share of Facebooks deep pockets. Where is the competitive advantage development of one of the world’s most successful companies, where are Facebooks strengths and abilities to outsmart, out develop and out compete? I would like to take a moment to reference one of the greatest strategic thinkers of our time, Michael Porter “Eliminating Rivals is a risky strategy. A profit windfall from removing today’s competitors often attracts new competitors and backlash from customers and suppliers” I believe this accurately portrays that this will entice others to join the photo uploading, social media competition market.

Lastly, the motives behind the deal need to be investigated, such as:  was instagram really a threat? Business Insider argued that Instagram was Facebook’s biggest threat and that Facebook could eventually lose out to Instagram because of Instagram’s ease of use through the mobile devices. As more and more users access the internet and social media websites through their phones, they want to be able to upload and view photos easily. One way that the article outlines the ease of use of Instagram is the sheer number of screens that are used vs. Facebooks number, Instagram users need to only access one screen, where Facebook users need to use six and the load time is slower. This article is missing a major factor in a consumer’s decision to abandon and move to a new social media/photo sharing website. They are completely ignoring switching costs. The specific cost of switching from Facebook to Instagram is the rebuilding of your friend lists as not all Facebook users have Instagram. We each remember the annoyance of creating a Linked-In profile and connections when we already had a Facebook page and friend database collected, but we did it because the purpose and intent are different. Facebook and Instagrams purpose and intent are the same, and there is no reason that Facebook couldn’t have developed better mobile updates to limit the amount of screens to go through.  Facebook could also add easy photo editing options without having to buy out a competitor that would not have been a long run threat with some small tweaks to the already existing Facebook mobile application.

Ultimately, a quick search of the internet will reveal many articles that completely disagree with my assessment above and state instead, that the acquisition was a bold and intelligent move that will eliminate a very real threat to Facebook. The logic is the same as mentioned above as well as the platform being created for mobile users and not for desktops or laptops. But the common thing that these articles are assuming is that Facebook would not have strategically adapted to out compete these smaller businesses. I think the acquisition was an easy way out of having to creatively solve the problem, but again, thats just my opinion.

Sources: 1, 2, 3