Instagram, Sell My Photos—Please!

Empty sports arenas and sushi are super hard to photograph. $1,000,000 each.

The formerly beloved photo-sharing service Instagram has updated its terms of service to reflect the interests of their overlords and owners: Facebook. To nobody’s surprise, the community of users has reacted by forming a mob and levying proclamations at the Facebookstagram monster. The new TOS is unsavory, so the mob is threatening to leave.

Since 2010 I have used the service to slightly alter photos of food and other things people don’t care about and posted them online through the Instagram app. I, like many others, have been there from beginning and in my tumultuous and zesty relationship with the service, I’ve developed quite a soft spot for it. In April, 2012, Facebook made an offer to buy Instagram for $1 billion and like any sane human being, the top brass at Instagram graciously accepted. Now a company doesn’t buy a tiny little mobile application for one-billion-fucking-dollars unless they have big plans for it. The updated terms of service has a couple conditions that show us what those plans are: advertising using your images.

The NY Times Bits blog did a great job of explaining what the new Terms of Service mean, so I’ll just quote Nick Bilton and Jenna Wortham:

1. Instagram can share information about its users with Facebook, its parent company, as well as outside affiliates and advertisers.
2. You could star in an advertisement — without your knowledge.
3. Underage users are not exempt.
4. Ads may not be labeled as ads.
5. Want to opt out? Delete your account.

When these new terms go into effect on January 16, 2013 your photos and any information stored with it (hashtags, geolocation data, ect.) can be used to sell ads which will appear on Instagram but not necessarily be called advertisements.

Horrendous as this sounds (“what about my privacy,” the mobs yell), this is actually a practice Facebook already does. When Facebook plops down a cool billion dollars for a service people use for free, it kind of makes sense they’d enact their same ad policies they use on their 100-billion-dollar service people use for free.

Yet the mob freaks. So to the mob I offer some advice. Facebook doesn’t care what you think and won’t change the updated terms. Your only option is to leave Instagram. The best way to do that is to use Instaport or Copygram to back-up and download all your current Instagram photos, and then upload them to a service like Flickr who just released a mobile app that has filters. Let the great migration begin! Happy travels.

Now that we’ve let them go, I, for one, welcome Facemonstergram and have some good ideas for them to sell my photos. Of course, it’s not like the users get a cut from the money made off our laboriously framed images of sunsets and quiche, but I think a lot of my images show promise to be blockbuster advertising successes.

The symphony reeks of culture, poise, and cash. Stick this with an ad for Visa or Mastercard and you won’t be able to pick up all the gold they throw at you.
Going rate: $500.

What’s even more refined than old men and women in tuxedos making music with odd hunks of wood and metal? Music notes and piano keys. It’s so classy and ambiguous, you could sell a bike with that shot.
Going rate: CA$H MONEY.

What looks like a tool used by an eye doctor must be a tool used by an eye doctor, right? WRONG. With the rise of animated films, everyday objects are being turned in no benevolent and amicable childhood friends. First it was Nemo the clown fish, now it’s Dennis the Opthamologist’s Phoropter.
Going rate: the $miles of 10,000 children.

Ah yes, the beloved Airspace logo which was hand-crafted after the impossibility of a Penrose triangle. Some publications pride themselves on their strict ethical standards and their refusal to sell out. Facemonstergram can have our identity and do what they like with it (though I think it would sell toothpaste best).
Going rate: $20

These both are photos of paper with words and pictures on it. I had absolutely nothing to do with the creation of these images but Instabook can do what they like with intellectual property I don’t even own.
Going rate for both: On the house.

At a giant mall in New Jersey (like, bigger-than-the-grand-canyon giant), I found a comely store selling knock-off Native American goods. I would have unloaded all my cash right then and there if it weren’t for their pesky inability to spell. This would pair well with an advertisement for literacy services, SAT Prep, or a self-help hotline.
Going rate: 72$

In LA, the Lakers girls taught me not to give up on dreams early. You can do what you love and make a career out of it. These daughters deserve to be advertised with a motivational poster supplier like the company that quotes Ghandi on coffee mugs.
Going rate: Anything is Po$$ible.

This one could serve great for an ad including a medicinal anti-depressant or it could be a symbol a patriotism (American flag shines through the fog). Either way, I hope to see a strong and heavy-handed appearance on the Fourth of July.
Going Rate: 100,000 pesos or 50 jujube beans, whichever comes first.

The folks on Instagram love retro things like vinyl records, sepia filters, and polio. This should just be included in all of Instagram’s own advertisements.
Going rate: $1,000,000,000.

Have you ever seen the tendrils of God descend upon an apple orchard in fall? I haven’t, but I took this photo of the sun doing some crazy light magic. This could be used to sell any type of produce (starfruit, kumquat, cauliflower, watermelon—you name it), but I think it’d be best-suited to sell the idea of romance. Imagine a couple getting all snuggle-bundle-y right in the middle of that grove. Jewels have never sold so fast.
Going rate: XOXO.

This deer taught me to learn, to live, and to love. Actually this one isn’t for sale.
Going rate: BACK OFF.

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