The real problem for Instagram was not about selling its users' photos. The real problem was being 'sneaky as fuck'. If you intend to sell our photos, we actually have no problem. You just have to make it clear to us. But what did Instagram do? Silently update it's terms of service WITHOUT informing its users. Legally, it's not obliged to do so, but when you have tons of data that THE USERS have uploaded, it is YOUR duty to tell us, atleast inform us before trying to sell it. This is what created that public outrage, because Instagram failed to notify any of its users of this change. You can't just walk in one fine day saying, "You know what? All the pictures YOU have taken effort getting it right, will be ours from today, and I guess it's best you don't know about it."
Well, fuck you Instagram, you deserved this. When I joined Instagram, I knew someday it would have to make money to sustain and most likely my data would be compromised (something an average user wouldn't realize and would assume it's forever free). Fitting ads somewhere inside your app or on your webpage would have been a much better solution, because it is something the average user would see (and possibly wouldn't mind either). But your sneaky as fuck change in TOS was UNETHICAL. You deserve this. I just hope some other open source app replaces you and your fame fades away. Because you are u.n.e.t.h.i.c.a.l.
I don't think that's true. Anyone I saw that left always made it clear they didn't want Instagram selling their photos and that was their reason for leaving.
Instagram was never going to "sell your photos." If you read the TOS, they were reserving the right to advertise against your photos much like how sponsored stories work on Facebook.
But advertising is so evil right? Time to give up Google Search, Gmail, Google Maps, LinkedIn, New York Times, etc.
Frankly, I find it funny that your everyday consumer is in an uproar because they think that their kissy-face photos could even be sold.
Companies like National Geographic whose businesses are built on the IP around their photos have legitimate reasons to be concerned in general. In this case, though, these changes would've allowed them to advertise their magazine on Instagram. Professional photographers may also want to protect their content from being used in advertising.
But 99% of users are every day people taking pictures of babies, dogs and the sunset...content that would almost never be "sold."
Also, the fine print on AppData shows that their method of measuring users is completely prone to error. Many other apps showed a drop off and FB made some algo changes around the same time.
Dude, are you Instagram's lawyer? How can you be so sure?? Either way, you still don't get the point. It wasn't about whether they were going to sell it or not. It was about they giving themselves the 'right' to automatically, possibly do so in the future.
Naturally, when you do something like this, especially with others' data, you could in the least inform them. Because it's their fucking content. When I joined facebook and orkut, I saw the ads on the side. I knew it was a compromise I had to make. So it really didn't matter to me.
That's why I still use Google. Because I know the company is trying to make money by letting me use it. With Instagram, when I joined it, there were no ads nor did they tell me or give me a hint that my photos would be 'sold'. An average user would have assumed it would remain free forever, but I knew they would somehow need to make money. But, they didn't express their intent to make money (through selling your photos) clearly because they knew if they did so, no one would join their service. Hence they basically deceived you into joining their service for free initially and one fine day gave themselves the rights to sell your photos. That's unethical. The problem here is I took the effort to get the photo right, but I am NOT compensated monetarily for my effort. Instead Instagram just benefits from it. So it's like a free photo sharing site first that is automatically turned into a stock photo site without your consent where you don't even get any benefits when your photo is sold. I'm sorry, that's unacceptable and that's unethical.
What the consumer owns is none of your business - be it
babies, dogs, sunset or even elephants. It's their will to do what they want with their phone's camera. And like I said, there's even nothing wrong with monetizing these photos as long as you express your intent clearly.
But show me one good example of a widely used Internet service that's owned by a public company that willingly cheated its users when it had the chance? Even Apple and Google have not done anything like that.
Also, the change in the TOS wasn't much different than it was before. They were just making it more clear as far as their intent to monetize by allowing your content to be sponsored.
The problem with your position is that its assuming that the company is trying to bait and switch you. It's not.
Google is no better or worse and thinking that they are is ignorance on your side that probably due to bias of media and the general tech community. Want to talk about bait and switch? What about Google Apps that used to be free for small businesses and is no longer? What about Gmail before ads? You can bet that its a matter of time before Google+ uses social ads and any location based service will use your location ads. Bait and switch?
It's ridiculous for you to complain that they didn't "express their intent to make money." Listen to yourself! Look at this site? It was a startup! Of course they want to make lone, as does every other for profit startup on Hacker News.
There's no deception. There's no unethical behavior.
Google benefits from serving content I've ceeated on its search engine by returning it as organic search result. Why am I not compensated?
Why does it not compensate sites like Wikipedia where their content and links are returned under their search engine?
Take a step back and remove your bias. No ones out to get you.
Do you know how many times Facebook has done this? Thanks for atleast demonstrating your ignorance, dude.
Are you affiliated to Instagram somehow? If yes, let's not waste both of our times (Atleast, I have none to lose to a troll)
Did you read my comment properly? The problem with you guys is you half-ass read everything before you comment. I mentioned I knew they WILL make money, but it's the average user's perception that they wouldn't do so. Either 1)You failed in your English classes or 2)You are mis-representing whatever I said, time and again.
>There's no deception. There's no unethical behavior.
Let's have it like this. I give you free canvas'es to paint on. And you create a dozen paintings. One fine day, you notice at the back of each canvas, there's a tiny print that says I have the right to sell these paintings as mine. I would love to see you not be upset about this.
When I gave you these free canvas'es, I never told you about these nor did these tiny prints exist. Of course your common sense must have told you there must be some catch. But this is too extreme of a catch. I gave such free canvas'es to a dozen people like you and they were just 'average users' who thought they are getting this canvas for free. And suddenly they realize I somehow sneakily printed in small letters that whatever the painting be on canvas is mine and I can fucking resell it under my name. The question is, if you knew of such a catch and if you were a passionate artist, would you have got these free canvas'es from me? If you say yes, then I can atleast confirm you are a troll arguing for fuck's sake.
>Take a step back and remove your bias. No ones out to get you.
It's not bias. That's the whole point. I feel so sorry for you though. I can send you some english books via FedEx for free (trust me, there are no catches here) so you can learn to understand english sentences in general.
They were never going to sell users' photos. The TOS changed to make way for "promoted" photos (advertising).
Please correct me if I'm wrong.
They admit right there that the TOS allowed for brands to feature user photos in ads. It's a nice cover to claim you never intended that, then if so why put it in TOS? Maybe the legal department got carried away, but more likely they envisioned photos being like Facebook "likes" (e.g., "Joe Adams likes Amazon!"). You might have Amazon promoting a user image of someone reading a Kindle on Instagram.
Either way, let me give you an analogy - You catch a someone red-handed trying to steal your belongings from your house. If you asked him what was he doing there, he's obviously going to defend himself. He would say anything but 'I'm here to steal your stuff.' In this case the burglar just said he's here for a cup of coffee, which to me seems too good to be true.
Scroll down another three inches, and you'll find this gem: "Legal documents are easy to misinterpret."
Well no shit. Privacy Policies and ToS agreements are notoriously opaque. But here's what's even harder to understand: a person who (correctly) thinks that documents like these are "easy to misinterpret" nevertheless asserts that they "help communicate as clearly as possible", and does so at the top of a blog post that is supposed to do what? Communicate MORE clearly than possible?
Maybe all this can simply be chalked up to bad communication skills, a general lack of self-awareness, and a weak grasp of academic basics like logic and English. But most people don't regard freshly minted billionaires as idiots, and refuse to give them the benefit of the doubt. That's twice as true when the billion dollars come from someone who is widely seen as untrustworthy.
"... it was interpreted by many that we were going to sell your photos to others without any compensation. This is not true and it is our mistake that this language is confusing. To be clear: it is not our intention to sell your photos. We are working on updated language in the terms to make sure this is clear."
"The language we proposed also raised question about whether your photos can be part of an advertisement. We do not have plans for anything like this and because of that we’re going to remove the language that raised the question."
So it sounds like they never wanted to sell people's photos, or use them in advertisements. (which is what the major complaint was, right?)
The other problem is that even now, they're still bullshitting, and indirectly blaming users for the fuss. In truth, there was nothing unclear or confusing about the language they used. To the contrary, it was explicitly clear. And what it said was awful. Even if the message conveyed wasn't what they intended, it's dishonest to to characterize the resulting uproar as "confusion". That wasn't confusion. That was justified fury aimed at a richly deserving target.
Even now, they're still remain very unclear on the concepts of respect, integrity, and honesty. What they should have said was not "Thank you" (as if people's rage is a favor gladly bestowed), and "Hey, we're listening", (as if there was any doubt when their entire brand was headed for a cliff.) This is just more patronizing nonsense, which only exacerbates the mushrooming trust issue they've got on their hands.
Instead, they should have said, in big bold letters at the very top "We're really Sorry! We just published something truly awful. In no way does it reflect our intentions, but none of you had any way of knowing that, so if we were in your position, we'd be just as furious as you are. Again, we screwed up the ToS - badly. We're scrapping that effort entirely. Please accept our very humble apologies. "
Continuing, the should have noted "And that's not the only thing we screwed up. By failing to share our plans for the company with the community we rely on - in plain English, clearly, and up front - we left you no choice but to assume the worst when our train-wreck of a ToS update hit the internet. Furthermore, we've failed to account for the residual trust issues that our new owners at Facebook developed in their rapid growth phase, and which they are still dealing with today. We are now aware that we're a part of putting those concerns to rest, which means being especially careful with things like Privacy and IP. As noted, we weren't. Please believe us when we say that we've learned these lessons hard and fast, and that none of these problems will be problems again."
At that point, they could do what they should have done from the very beginning, and clearly explain the (hopefully) non-abusive, non-sleazy way they intended to build a commercial service to the IP holders they rely on.
All this 'outrage' seems to fundamentally be about the user being reminded that the ToS actually existed in the first place, not any changes made to it.
It may be that Instagram would normally have an increase rather than a decrease at Christmas but I wouldn't assume that without data.
Even if it dropped to one million, one million users making you money is arguably better than any number of users who aren't making you money if you're running a business.
Photos are Facebook's biggest feature by far, and Instagram is the only company that has come close to challenging it, when you look at it in those terms, 1% isn't a lot at all
And what kind of revenue does that feature bring in exactly? How exactly does Facebook profit from providing free photo hosting to a billion people?
The "goal" of facebook is for you to share and connected with your friends. Photos are just one of the things everyone wants to share. Without it, Facebook would have a giant hole for a competitor to attack.
Facebook profits by having the most active and connected users. It's not necessary to make money from each feature. That's extremely short sighted.
Which is correct. Google provides search functionality, but makes its money from advertising.
But what feature exactly is Facebook making money off of? They seem to still be scrambling to find a revenue source. I don't understand how this situation is at all acceptable from the investors' viewpoint. That is why I say that SV has jumped the shark.
If Instagrams growth is stopped now, who profits from it? Do users get back to Facebook or other services?
Google is the exception. Or rather, search is the exception. You can make money off of search advertising because people are explicitly looking for things when they perform a web search. So if you show people good ads, they will click on them.
But how many people are going to click on ads when they're trying to connect with their friends on Facebook? Facebook's entire premise with respect to advertising is that they have more information about the user, so they can target ads better. But it doesn't matter how targeted an ad is if the user isn't interested on clicking on it when it's presented.
> Facebook is now making a non-trivial amount of money from advertising as well.
There's a big difference between "non-trivial" and "enough to turn a profit".
Google+ and FB are in direct competition for the attention of the same users.
I don't see how the value of the users' attention determines whether or not they are on the service. If you put out free food on the street, people will come and eat it, and you will have their attention. Doesn't mean you can turn a profit doing that.
> Google+ and FB are in direct competition for the attention of the same users.
Yes, they are, but I have yet to see "user attention" be properly monetized on a large by anything other than search engine advertising. Facebook is still trying to find solid revenue sources. Their new gifts platform is the latest example of this.
Lurkers like I are fine with regards to display ads where the number of viewers is important, and where user profiles can be created over their like/follows/follower habits.
It's not like people who don't post are necessarily bad for business.
Were there other options available to them that wouldn't have lost users? Possibly. I have no stats to back it up other than personal experience, but I would venture to say that no matter how you monetize your userbase, there's always going to be some people who expect it for free, no strings attached, and will cause a stink then leave if there's any monetizable component to it.
However how many are already Facebook users and thus already profitable?
If Instagram notified users of a change of TOS and clearly stated that the scheme would be opt-in and perhaps offer a mechanism where users could get a cut of the revenue obtained through the use of photos that they specifically flagged for commercial use, media coverage would have been completely different and I doubt that many users would leave in this scenario (or other more user friendly scenarios).
After that - or before, if Instagram insist on changing their rules - I'll probably delete it altogether.
I'm afraid this is all moot. Instagram didn't lose 25% of it's users.
The best I could come up with is a search, which is silly.