Remember when there were news stories about 25% of users fleeing Instagram following its terms of service debacle back in December? Well, to paraphrase Mark Twain, it seems as though the reports of the death of Instagram were greatly exaggerated.
Not only did Instagram survive the scandal (though it still has a lawsuit to worry about over it), in fact the company is stronger than ever, as it now has 100 million monthly users it was announced Tuesday.
Instagram's climb to 100 million users only took two and a half months.
After launching in October 2010, the app was an instant hit, reaching one million users only two months later. After it launched its Android app in April 2012, the same month that Facebook announced that it was buying the company, Instagram saw its user numbers jump by 10 million in 10 days. It cracked the top 10 fastest growing sites in the United States for March, jumping 19% in a single month.
In April, Instagram's unique visitors shot up 78% to 14.5 million, from 8.2 million unique visitors in March, making it the fastest-growing Web property.
Though the company's ride to success seems easy and smooth there was, of course, a time when there was no way to know if the company would be a success or not. In a blogpost celebrating the news, CEO Kevin Systrom reflected back on the early days of Instagram recalling how far the company has come since it was just him and co-founder Mike Krieger cramped into a tiny office with rented furniture.
On an early night in Instagram's history, Systrom and Krieger were in the company's first office wearing winter jackets, because the insultion in the officer was so terrible, where Systrom remembers hearing a baseball game between the Giants and Phillies. He points to it as the moment he realized what Instagram could be, even if only a few thousand people had even heard of them at that point.
"With a few quick commands at his terminal, my co-founder Mike’s screen filled with images of the game: the bullpen, dugout, concession stands, cheering fans and a panoramic view from somewhere up high. In a matter of hours, the people in that stadium had recorded moments in time through Instagram and allowed us to tune into an event while we sat a half a mile away, working—winter coats and all," he said.
"For the first time, we understood why Instagram was going to be different. We understood the power of images to connect people to what was happening in the world around them. And, although Instagram had a fraction of the user base it does today, that night we saw a preview of what Instagram would enable at a much larger scale down the road."
Of course, there were other problems along the way. There was the aforementioned policy change fiasco, when Instagram announced that the service would be sharing user data with Facebook, meaning that pictures uploaded to Instagram could be used in advertisement on the service without user permission.
The backlash was fierce and sudden, causing Systrom to apologize in a blogpost later the same week, saying that the company would be reverting back to its original terms of service from October 2010.
There was also the battle between Instagram and Twitter that went on last year, with Twitter attempting to subvert Instagram by adding its own filters to its photos, and then instagram completely pulling its photos off of Twitter.
But, dispite these hiccups, the company has managed to stay strong and Systrom sees Instagram as a tool that will continue to connect the world for years to come.
“Images have the ability to connect people from all backgrounds, languages and cultures. They connect us to aid workers halfway across the world in Sudan, to entrepreneurs in San Francisco, and even to events in our own backyards," Systrom wrote.
“Instagram, as a tool to inspire and connect, is only as powerful as the community it is made of. For this reason, we feel extremely lucky to have the chance to build this with all of you. So from our team to the hundred million people who call Instagram home, we say thank you. Thank you for sharing your world and inspiring us all to do the same.”
(Image source: http://instagram.com)