Instagram Cautions third-party apps to stop using ‘insta’ and ‘gram’


If you’re a developer of a third-party app or service connected with Instagram and it’s called something like InstaShutter or EffectaGram, then you’d better put your thinking cap on pronto and come up with a new name for your creation.

Updated brand guidelines issued by Instagram on Monday state that it’s no longer OK to use “insta”, “gram”, or even “IG”, in the name of your app.

According to TechCrunch, the Facebook-owned company has already started to go after offenders, with Luxogram creator Jeff Broderick this week receiving an email about the changes to the guidelines.

Instagram says in the message that “while we encourage developers to build great apps with Instagram, we cannot allow other applications to look like they might be official Instagram applications or endorsed or sponsored by us.”

It continues: “It is important that you develop your own distinctive branding for your applications, and use Instagram’s trademarks only as specifically authorized under our policies.”

Anyone violating the guidelines is being told by Instagram to make the necessary changes “within a reasonable period”.

Visit the “using Instagram brand assets” webpage and you’re presented with a long list of what you should and shouldn’t do when it comes to creating an app using the Instagram API.

So it’s fine to “name your product something that is unique and original to you” but don’t whatever you do “use ‘Instagram,’ ‘IG’, ‘Insta’ or ‘Gram’ in your app name.” Do “design your own app icon that represents your brand” but for gawd’s sake don’t “use the camera logos, or the Instagram name or logo, in your app icon” or “the Instagram stylized font in your product or marketing materials.”

Change of mind

But the thing that might have a few developers banging their heads against the wall is the fact that, as pointed out by TechCrunch, Instagram’s former set of API terms of use clearly states that, hey, you’re free to use either “insta” or “gram” in the name of your app.

This is what it says: “While you cannot use the word ‘Instagram’ or ‘IG’ in your product’s name, it’s ok to use one (but not both) of the following: ‘Insta’ or ‘gram’.” Not anymore, it’s not.

In light of the changes, Broderick described Instagram as “no longer my favorite company”.

While some will accuse Instagram of overdoing it when it comes to protecting its brand – after all some of the affected apps now being forced to change their identity/app name/website address will be ones that helped Instagram along its way in the early days – others will see it as a necessary move typical of an expanding company seeking to get a tighter grip on its name and logo in a bid to build and strengthen its brand among users.

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