Before I start reading everyone else’s blog (Danny Brown’s just arrived in the box) post about Instagram to sway my opinion, I’m going to just say right now in a timely way… this is all in a day’s work, right?
- Companies buy competitors to enhance offerings
- They buy sexy upstarts to be sexier themselves
- They buy companies to add more customers
- They buy companies to play in a sector they’re not
- They buy companies just to recruit that company’s CEO (see below)
- They buy companies that have NO revenue just because they can!
Today’s Wall Street Journal tells it like it is:
- Instagram has ZERO, that’s a big, fat ZERO, revenue, yet it was bought for $1 billion in a CEO-to-CEO deal that did not cross the t’s or dot all the I’s.
- Facebook says it will essentially leave Instagram independent to do what it does best (allow its 30 million users to snap images and post on various Interwebz simultaneously).
- Facebook bought Gowalla only because it wanted that company’s CEO to come work for Facebook (did you know that?) and Gowalla ceased to exist last winter.
- Facebook has not jumped on the mobile app bandwagon quickly enough; in fact, its ~380 million users aren’t loving or using Facebook on mobile the way Instragram users HAVE to use Instagram – it’s ONLY a mobile app.
- Instagram users are nervous there will be charges for usage or ads that litter the landscape of the app or integration into Facebook that will forever alter the core application.
So, let me repeat something that still confounds me…Instagram has NO revenue, but it recently closed an angel investor deal just prior to its acquisition by Facebook. So, the little success story from two guys in a garage (well, really from Stanford), became a little darling much like the dot.com era where venture caps were throwing money at any dot.com that launched to see what stuck. We all know the end to that story.
So, did Facebook spend $1 billion (peanuts to them) to buy a company with zero revenue and 30 million users (many who’ve said they loved Instagram for its anti-Facebook orientation) who may drop off like flies or may not, to integrate into its own platform and ultimately knock down a potential competitor?
That’s a mouth full, for sure, and only time will tell.
I, for one, am staying with Instagram; I have never loved a mobile app so sweet, simple and launch-and-play as I have Instagram. But, let me state…after my beloved TweetDeck was taken over by Twitter and we users began to experience the pain and left in droves to HootSuite…I’m holding my breath.
Where will I go next if Facebook alters Instagram so drastically that we feel the difference? C’mon app developers, please launch the next big SnapIt, wouldja? (There, I just named your new mobile photo app, Ladies.)
And, on a final note…Instagram is FREE. It doesn’t cost $.99 to launch like many apps now do; why not? Isn’t that a paltry source of some revenue? About 30 million users at a buck each minus a cut to iTunes app store; well, that’s some source of income, right? What possesses app developers not to build in 99 cents out of the gate to at least cover some overhead?
So, what about you, Instagrammers? You comin’ or goin’?