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Instagram Loses Almost Half Its Daily Users In a Month 250

redletterdave writes "Instagram scared off a lot of users back in December when it decided to update its original Terms of Service for 2013. But even though the company reneged on its new terms after a week of solid backlash, Instagram users are still fleeing the photo-sharing app in droves. According to new app traffic data, Instagram has lost roughly half of all its active users in the month since proposing to change its original Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. In mid-December, Instagram boasted about 16.3 million daily active users; as of Jan. 14, Instagram only has about 7.6 million daily users." Towards the end of December data showing a 25% drop in Instagram's daily active users came out. While it caused quite a bit of discussion online, it was suggested that the decline was due to the Christmas holiday or an inaccuracy in the data.
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Instagram Loses Almost Half Its Daily Users In a Month

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:49PM (#42586461)

    I find it to be a decent example of how not to treat your users.

  • by Synerg1y ( 2169962 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:50PM (#42586471)
    Dunno, could be the beginning of a new trend of websites not updating their TOS based on their CEO's mood of the day, but rather consulting with their user base first? Might take a couple more of these types of cases to pop up before new business practices are drawn.
  • by Daetrin ( 576516 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:56PM (#42586529)
    Because if it's true it's good evidence, and a good warning for other companies, that you can't send up a trial ballon [] and see if you can get away with something outrageous and just recant later if the users notice without suffering any negative long term effects.
  • by mrheckman ( 939480 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:56PM (#42586533)

    A change in usability could explain the drop in users, or maybe it was a fad and people have moved on to something else. Most of social media is faddish. It's like the night club business. It's very difficult to maintain popularity, even if you achieve success, because people are moving on to the next hot club.

  • by Dzimas ( 547818 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @06:57PM (#42586547)
    Because Instagram is a massive cloud service that tried to take ownership of content generated and curated by its users. It's about as reasonable as a hotel declaring that you, your luggage and your kids are their property simply because you're in one of their hotel rooms for the night. Perhaps there is a sliver of hope that the CEO of a future hot company will remember The Instagram Implosion and step away from similar behaviour. I won't hold my breath, though.
  • by Press2ToContinue ( 2424598 ) * on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:02PM (#42586591)

    I suppose. I was thinking it more accurately demonstrated the illusion of worth of any web-supplied service. Popularity != true value.

  • by girlintraining ( 1395911 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:10PM (#42586677)

    Might take a couple more of these types of cases to pop up before new business practices are drawn.

    ahahahahaaa... (wheeze, gasp) aaaah ha ha ha haaaaah. Hundreds of sites are doing stuff like this. Privacy online has become a joke, and marketing firms are coming up with exciting new kinds of fraud to build comprehensive profiles on everyone, from a preference for two or one-ply to search terms that might flag you as a terrorist or ciminal. They're not going to reverse this trend... they're going to bury it in even smaller and more obtuse fine-print -- or just get a law passed giving corporations all that data with immunity from prosecution by coming up with some kind of "implied consent," etc.

    Businesses adapt to bad press by burying things in deeper and deeper levels of bureauacracy to avoid it. They don't change their process; Just decrease its transparency.

  • by ohnocitizen ( 1951674 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:11PM (#42586701)
    Is it just me, or is "why should I care?" the new "first!!!" on slashdot posts?
  • Great! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by blahbooboo ( 839709 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:18PM (#42586767)

    The sooner instagram dies the better. There are great cameras in smartphones now, it's crazy people want to make their photos look like crap with filters.

  • by Jeremiah Cornelius ( 137 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:25PM (#42586833) Homepage Journal

    Anything that gets Facebook to get closer to ultimate FAILTARD is great by me.

    They'll try this again, on another front, unless they cross the hot, burning, electrified wire of their user's tolerance.

  • by thoth ( 7907 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:30PM (#42586887) Journal

    Because this kind of beating is critical for corporations to experience. It shows that decisions have consequences, and you have to treat your customers/users with respect. Quite frankly, this should happen more often when corporations step over the line. Otherwise how will any of them learn?

  • by tlhIngan ( 30335 ) <> on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:32PM (#42586905)

    Like perhaps the holidays are over? I'm sure a bump in the number of users could be due to the holidays and snapping lots of photos of family and their holiday preparations and such.

    And now, a month later, the holidays are over and the drab January days are here. Which likely means well, there's less stuff to post about?

    That's like saying Apple is failing because their iPhone sales are falling in January after spiking in November-December. January is a very slow month to begin with for most businesses (especially after the holiday bills come due), and likely, is very slow because it's a drab month to begin with.

  • A lesson for all (Score:2, Insightful)

    by U8MyData ( 1281010 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:35PM (#42586933)
    Imagine if we did this to services we dislike more often? Democracy still works folks.
  • by Grayhand ( 2610049 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:47PM (#42587033)
    Got Greedy
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:55PM (#42587125)

    Thank you.

    People need to ask themselves something on all "free" services. "How is this company making money off of this service?"

  • Uhh no not really (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sycraft-fu ( 314770 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @07:57PM (#42587131)

    Services like instagram absolutely require user submissions to survive. They make their money on advertising and that only works if they have stuff that people want to come and see. Since they have no content creation arm, they rely on user submissions. Piss off the users, and they've got nothing and they are boned.

    It would be more like if the guy in the comic was leaving all sorts of cool antique items in Chad's garage and Chad was charging others to come and look at them, but was still saying he was going to take and sell them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:03PM (#42587177)

    Anything that gets Facebook to get closer to ultimate FAILTARD is great by me.

    They'll try this again, on another front, unless they cross the hot, burning, electrified wire of their user's tolerance.

    They are desperately looking for revenue streams and they are fucking things up at every other step. If they had created a mechanism by which companies could make customers purchase offers for publishing/usage rights to images and simply taken a commission they might actually have succeeded in creating a revenue stream. Simply grabbing a people's images and expecting them to be happy about it like some potato-head Israeli politician making a land-grab in the West Bank did not go down very well with their users. People don't like having their stuff confiscated... mass exodus follows... shocking result... whoddathunkit? What did they pay for Instagram, $1 billion wasn't it? Then they turn around and wreck the service with one ham-handed act of stupidity. It kind of speaks volumes about exactly what the kind of inept tossers it is that seem to be running things at Facebook.

  • by Jah-Wren Ryel ( 80510 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:05PM (#42587199)

    Or we'll see them lobby for legislation to make secret TOS's legally binding.

  • by icebike ( 68054 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:11PM (#42587231)

    you can get away with something outrageous and just recant later if the users notice without suffering any negative long term effects.

    Well, if you read the linked article, and both the New and Reverted language, you will see this was all about nothing. The reverted (original) language was just as bad as the language the triggered the outcry.

    So by recanting, they fell back to the original language which gives them FULL RIGHTS TO EVERYTHING you post on instagram:

    you hereby grant to Instagram a non-exclusive, fully paid and royalty-free, transferable, sub-licensable, worldwide license to use the Content that you post on or through the Service

    Not sorry to see it meet its demise in any case.

  • by Mandrel ( 765308 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @08:21PM (#42587299)

    A switch is inevitable in companies that need to become profitable after the bait of building popularity with a service that seems like a gift to the world.

    But you need to be slow and subtle to boil a frog.

  • by smash ( 1351 ) on Monday January 14, 2013 @09:44PM (#42587927) Homepage Journal
    I find it to be a decent public warning to users that "free shit" isn't free.
  • to be fair, the user bleed isn't about ToS.

    It's because of the twitter disintegration.

  • by dutchwhizzman ( 817898 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @01:31AM (#42588917)

    They already had pretty lousy terms to start with. Nobody reads terms when they sign up. They only start getting enraged once somebody else tells them the terms suck, usually after they get changed and people influential enough to be listened to complain vocally. In fact, Instagram merely made the terms more specific and by doing so, allowed users more freedom in a lot of cases than with the previous terms. The only real difference was that they actively stated that they might print ads over users pictures when displaying them. They already had that right with the previous terms, so meh.

    The true lesson here is that people should read terms before they sign up and if a company makes the terms illegible, they should vocally complain to the company about the terms being illegible. Since most people can't be bothered, they end being part of a human centipede. I guess people need to have that happening to them every once in a while to be reminded that there's no such thing as a free lunch and if you're not paying, you're the product.

  • by Anonymous Brave Guy ( 457657 ) on Tuesday January 15, 2013 @03:09AM (#42589157)

    It's one of many downsides to a global economy. With seven billion prospective customers you can afford to target only those who are stupid and lack self-respect. The rest of us are boned, all we can do is bitch, and refuse to go along with the stupidity.

    Sadly, one thing the big tech success stories of recent years have proved beyond any doubt is that a lot of people will place convenience and cheapness above almost anything else, including quality, customer service, respect for privacy, etc.

    This will continue unless and until enough people (a) make it clear that they would prefer to have a better product and better service from the business running it, and (b) are willing to pay enough actual money for it that it becomes commercially attractive.

    What we seem to have today is a curious distribution of customers/commercial interest. There are mass-market, cheap and nasty products that make money on sheer volume (or even make money based on the mere expectation of making actual money from sheer volume one day). That includes the "you are the product" services where you don't pay any money at all to use them. To some extent it also includes creative industries with the ever-present IP and black market/piracy issues. Then there's a middle-ground, where the products and service are qualitatively better than the cheap junk and the price is higher accordingly, but there are enough people paying the higher price to keep these offers accessible below the die-hard specialist/enthusiast/elite market who will pay just about anything to have the best possible stuff. And finally, sometimes there are very high-end products that do a much better job and come with good service, but they have a much smaller potential market because of the price tag they come with, so it's mostly only that enthusiast crowd who buy.

    Unfortunately, often that middle ground doesn't really exist in a given market because it's too hard for commercial organisations to identify and target it, and sometimes the high end of the market is barren or empty as well, leaving cheap junk the only option left. Economic theory might suggest that if enough people want better products and are willing to pay more for them then someone will come along and fill the gap, but so far that theory isn't standing up well to modern market dynamics where competition doesn't always work as well as it's "supposed to" for various reasons: literally global networking effects, artificial barriers to competition, and other such factors that can create a huge advantage for an incumbent with a mass market cheap and nasty product and a war chest.

    I'm optimistic that this is just growing pains as we learn to cope with the implications of modern technologies and truly global markets with near-instant feedback, and that in time (perhaps after the global economy recovers from the current extended mess) new players really will enter the markets and start to compete on genuine quality and customer service again. If it becomes clear that this is still a viable option, then it's possible that businesses who treat their customers well could take advantage of the same modern efficiencies and word-of-mouth advertising to rise rapidly, and I think cultural change from apathy to acceptance or even positive support for such models is not only plausible but potentially something that could happen very quickly if momentum builds.

    However, I fear the situation is going to continue deteriorating for a while longer before it starts to pick up, and I do worry that an entire generation may be growing up never knowing the alternatives or understanding the hidden prices they pay for what they use today. It's going to be hard for cultural change to happen if a significant chunk of the population have no concept of what the alternative might be.

The road to ruin is always in good repair, and the travellers pay the expense of it. -- Josh Billings