Luxogram logoI mentioned briefly at the end of the App of the Week post about there not being enough originality in app names, the newly launched Drync was the one in my line of sight at the time, but there has been a flurry of stories this week, similarly about the lack of originality when it comes to naming apps, however now it is coming directly from the Instagram camp and focuses more on people trying to align themselves with the brand.

In a letter that was sent to Luxogram (and forwarded to TechCrunch), Instagram are clearly not happy with the tagging onto the back of their brand

“We appreciate your interest in developing products that help people share with Instagram. 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.

As we hope you can appreciate, protection of its well-known trademarks is very important to Instagram. For example, it has always been against our guidelines to use a name that sounds or looks like “Instagram” or copies the look and feel of our application. Similarly, as we have clarified in the new guidelines, use of “INSTA” and “GRAM” for an application that works with Instagram is harmful to the Instagram brand. 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.”

This letter I would imagine went out to the many online services that integrate directly with the Instagram API.  Obviously Instagram doesn’t want anyone to be releasing a poor quality app which has aligned itself with their branding, this would obviously give off a bad impression about the original service.  However all of the big brands I can think of actually offer quite a complimentary service to Instagram, expanding the apps (to be honest, quite restrictive) functionality.

One of the main reasons I could see Instagram forcing everyone to change their names is the possibility of it launching its own, possibly paid for, additional editing and discovery apps. Having the market filled with unlicensed clones would severely reduce the impact of an additional ‘Insta’ service, this could just be a smart business move in an effort to start monetising Instagram.  A problem which they have had to tread carefully around since December after there was uproar about the selling of users photos due to a change in terms and conditions (although you have to wonder where the market for photos of cats and peoples lunches really is?)

Instagram is now owned by Facebook, who, quite arrogantly trademarked both the words Face and Book last year, along with over 70 other associated Facebook terms including the letter ‘F’ and the number ‘32665’.