Case study: Repost (and congratulations!)

On June 1st Instagram started to apply the new API policy announced last year.

From the end of 2015 all new applications that use Instagram’s API need to be submitted to Instagram for an evaluation. First you need to complete a form indication what your application does, record a video showing how it works. Also, they present you a list of use-cases they allow to use the API and you must choose the one that fits the most with your app. If your app doesn’t fit one of the use-cases listed by Instagram, then you hold no chance of getting them to approve your app. No approval means no API access.

The use-cases are only 3, and pretty restrictive:

  • To help individuals share their own content with 3rd party apps
  • To help brands and advertisers understand and manage their audience and digital media rights
  • To help broadcasters and publishers discover content, get digital rights to media, and share media with proper attribution

 

As you can see, none of them apply to applications that just want to provide a different experience of the content on Instagram or different ways of exploring and discovering it. You may think they do, but when you apply you app (been there), they don’t.

This turns out to be the way Instagram is controlling the experience. Nobody besides them can provide a way to explore and discover new content. Is this ok? Well, that’s debatable.

So let me get down to the point.

Since March I’d been announcing between my colleagues and friends the imminent death of Repost. Repost is an app that lets you share an image you see on Instagram using your own account. It’s the Share button you have on Facebook but on Instagram. Of course this is not part of Instagram. They make great efforts to prevent users from stealing other users’ photos. Repost lets you share another user’s photo and adds a little mask on one of the sides with the username of the original uploader. Of course this mark can be deleted by paying a pro version of the app.

June 1st.

I wake up.

I remember this was the day the new Instagram policies started to apply.

I open Repost.

Didn’t work.

I feel Nostradamus

Oops, new update on the AppStore. Repost. Whaaat?

I download the new version of Repost

Holy s@&*%!!!

Turns out Repost had made a major twist on how it worked. And it was still alive!

What they’ve done is genius. They’re now 100% off the API. They don’t rely on Instagram’s API anymore, so no need to submit the app for approval. Simply genius. The new experience is radically different from what it was before, but still great to me. Actually I think it may be even better. But of course, as all changes, this was hated by the common mortal users.

Review 1Review 2Review 3Review 4Review 5

 

Hey guys at Repost: from developer to developer, cheers to you. You’ve survived what was a tsunami for many apps. Best of luck for the future.


Also published on Medium.