The Instagram Economy

Apr 18, 2012

Success breeds success. At least that’s the hope of a number of start-ups that decorate pillows, t-shirts, magnets, ceramic tiles, and of course, iPhone covers, using your Instagram photos.

The Huffington Post says the popularity of Instagram has created an ecosystem of small businesses capitalizing on the loyal 40 million users who have signed up for the mobile photo sharing site.

That built-in customer base was one of the main attractions for Adrian Salamunovic, co-founder of CanvasPop.com, a site that blows up, prints, and frames  Instagram photos.

“What makes Instagram so perfect for doing business is that they have a highly influential, early adopter, connected, creative audience that loves to share stuff -- in other words, the clients that everyone wants. These people look for cool authentic products they can get behind. More importantly Instagram never had a focus on monetizing their audience, so we did it for them via their API that they provide for free to developers.”

The ease of use and access to Instagram’s API - application programming interface, for those who don't speak technical-ese - has helped Doug Pfeffer grow his Instagram-inspired business, Stitchtagram, a company that allows you to craft 15-inch throw pillows with photos from your Instagram account for $95 plus shipping.

“It’s a simple thing to go in there and access your photos. Instagram has this great API, so it makes it really easy for third parties to go in and pull the photos out of there. A side effect of this simplicity is that all Instagram photos are the same dimensions so it actually makes it way easier to print.”

Who knows? Maybe one of these new Instagram spinoffs will attract the attention of Facebook someday.

Check out some of the companies and their products in Huffington Post’s slide show

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