Update: Instagram heard the complaints, & posted a response. Are they back-pedalling, or did we all really misinterpret their words? National Geographic would say the former. But either way: Flickr is still awesome. Try it out; you’ll love it!
Officially: Instagram is dead. Done like a dog’s dinner. Dead in the water. Over. Finito.
When Facebook snapped Instagram up in April of this year, for a cool billion dollars, people hoped that the two would stay mostly separate. We all know that Facebook’s policies are pretty brutal at best. Unfortunately, as is often the case with whatever Facebook touches, that was not to be.
Some big changes came into effect this week. Basically, as of January 16th, any photos you upload to Instagram can be used in advertising. You will not be notified, you will not earn royalties, you do not have to give consent. If you agree to their new terms & conditions, you have already given your consent.
From what I’ve read, this only affects photos uploaded from January 16th onwards, so your last year of images, for example, can’t be pilfered. But anything you post on Instagram after that date is up for grabs. The only way to avoid it is to delete your account.
For the majority of people, this probably isn’t a big deal. Instagram mostly consists of grainy, poorly-lit photos of food or people making silly faces, so the odds of becoming an unwitting poster girl for TGI Friday’s are pretty slim.
But what if you’re someone whose life & image is how they make their living?
Bloggers definitely fit into this category. If a company is paying you for a campaign, imagine their ire — & the potential messiness — if their competitor snatches up your Instagram image & uses it in their advertising?
Beyond that, how would you feel if a picture of your child was used in a campaign for a company whose ethics upset you? Or a photo of a long-lost family member? How about a photo of your bedroom or you in your underwear? (Instagram no longer guarantees that accounts marked “private” will remain that way.)
Remember, of course, that you will not be paid for this privilege… Or even notified!
As CNet says, this could effectively turn the site into a stock photo service without the benefit of fees paid to photographers. Not cool, Instagram; not cool.
I wish that Instagram had offered users the option to pay for a subscription to their service. I would happily give them a couple of bucks a month for the right to use it. Instead, they have taken all rights away from their users… & if they stick to their guns on this, I think they’ll lose a lot of people.
2. When you upload images to Flickr, they are full-size, not 612 pixels. They don’t get cropped into a little square, either.
3. If you’re a filter addict, Flickr has them too… & they don’t make your pictures all grainy & useless. Bonus!
4. When you share a Flickr image to Twitter, you get a preview of it in the tweet. (Instagram & Twitter “broke up” a couple of weeks ago, meaning that Instagram images no longer preview at all.) You can also use hyperlinks in the description of your Flickr images, so you can link it to your blog, Twitter, or anything else you please! (Instagram never had this ability.)
5. It’s really easy to export all your Instagram photos using Instaport… & then you can upload them to Flickr, if you so please!
6. Flickr will inspire you to get out your actual camera again. It will encourage you to take better, more considered photos… & since the community there is made up of real photographers, you can expect great, helpful feedback.
7. You can store 300mb images on Flickr every month — at full resolution — for free, & after that, you pay a nominal annual fee to store as many pictures as you could possibly desire. I’ve had my account since 2006, & I continue paying for it, because quite simply, it’s worth it.
8. Flickr has a great community, as well as groups that make it easy to find other people with similar interests to your own. The groups are full of inspiration: I have been a member of the LOMO, Wardrobe Remix, & Bedroom Stories (not safe for work!) groups for years. I love ’em.
9. I use my Flickr account multiple times a day. I have a folder full of my favourite pictures, which is the link I always send to journalists or other bloggers who want to use a photo of me to illustrate an interview of feature; I can search my (6 years worth of) archives to find specific photos; I have my images tagged by location so I can find “that random photo taken in Las Vegas in 2008″; I have favourites I’ve been collecting for six years. By the way, if you’re worried about no one seeing your photos, don’t sweat it: my Flickr account has been viewed over a million times.
10. Instagram is going to sell your photos. I mean, really. This is the best possible reason to switch!
Let your friends know: tweet it out!
From January 16th, any photo you upload to Instagram can be sold. No royalties, no notification, no consent. Click to tweet!
Maybe the world won’t end on the 21st of December; maybe, instead, it signifies the changing of the guard. Making way for new things to rise to prominence.
Yes, if you’re a blogger, or someone who has spent over a year cultivating an audience in one particular place, this is an immense pain in the ass. But I believe in supporting companies that treat you with respect. Instagram doesn’t.
So come & join me in the new era, won’t you?!
Click click flash!