Instagram clamps down on brand copycats

Instagram clamps down on brand copycats

20 AUG 2013

Instagram has published revised guidelines around the use of its brand assets, forbidding use of the words ‘insta’ and ‘gram’ in the names of third party apps that connect to and interact with the photo sharing service.

Apps with names that show their connection to Instagram — such as Luxogram, Webstagram and Instaframe, Gramfeed — will be affected.

In a letter sent to Luxogram by Instagram, and seen by TechCrunch, the Facebook-owned service said that while it encourages developers to build apps with Instagram support, “we cannot allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us”.

The letter added that the use of ‘insta’ and ‘gram’ is harmful to the Instagram brand and asked Luxogram to address the name issue “within a reasonable period”.

In its guidelines, Instagram said developers can still make it clear their products are compatible with Instagram, for example by using the format ‘[Name] for Instagram’.

The ban on the use of the two parts of the Instagram name won’t be enforceable for apps and services that don’t work with Instagram, but will need to be heeded by those that want to work with the service.

In the previous API terms of use, developers were specifically told they could use these two parts of the Instagram brand in their product names, as long as they weren’t used together.

Such has been the growth of Instagram that it seems the service will now gain little promotional benefit from apps featuring elements of its name.


Tim Ferguson

Tim joined Mobile World Live in August 2011 and works across all channels, with a particular focus on apps. He came to the GSMA with five years of tech journalism experience, having started his career as a reporter... More

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