Instagram bans 3rd party apps from using terms ‘Insta’ and ‘Gram’

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If you’ve got a third-party app that posts images to Instagram, then you’d best hope your name doesn’t contain the words “Insta” or “Gram”. Yup, the Facebook owned video and photo sharing social network says that anyone using either part of its name will now be forced to stop doing so “within a reasonable period”.

The new regulation is among a couple of updates to the Instagram Brand Guidelines which include using stuff like its logo and the full Instagram name.

And, as TechCrunch reveals, Instagram has been pretty quick to enforce the new rules too. The company sent an email to Luxogram letting it know it had fallen foul of the new regulations.

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.

That it decided to make the change might seem a little bit strange. After all, prior to the updates, it actually encouraged third-party developers to use “Insta” and “Gram”. Could the changes mean that under Facebook’s guidance it’s decided to pull back a bit defend its name more vigorously?

Sure it can’t stop the apps from using the terms, but cutting off its API would be death to most of the apps which use either “Insta” or “Gram” in their names. And there are a lot of them. To give you an idea of how many, here’s a sample: Statigram, Luxogram, Webstagram, Gramfeed, Instadrop, and Instagallery.

These aren’t hacked together cheap apps either. Many of them provide important services that Instagram has either failed to provide in the past or currently doesn’t provide. Many of them will most likely shut down. According to TechCrunch, that’s the route Luxogram’s founder will most likely take.

This isn’t the first time Instagram has meddled in the affairs of third-party apps either. It recently for instance started blocking and deleting photos from third-party Windows Phone apps that connect to it.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get much more extreme with this kind of action. Otherwise, people will start accusing it of acting like Twitter.

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