Article details why Hipstamatic has struggled while Instagram thrives


posted Tuesday, October 9, 2012 at 5:10 PM EST


If you're interested at all in how imaging companies need to stay current to survive, you should check out "No Filter: Inside Hipstamatic’s Lost Year Searching For The Next Killer Social App" on Fast Company today. It's the first of a three-part series on how one of the more popular smart phone apps in the world suddenly found itself playing second fiddle to the photo sharing giant that is Instagram.

The reason? According to the article (and conventional wisdom), while Hipstamatic has produced addictive filter packs to give your images a quirky, retro look, the company simply took too long to make itself social network-friendly.

The result was flat revenue that forced Hipstamatic to lay off all but five of its employees in August.

Here's an excerpt from the Fast Company article:

"[W]hen an ex-Googler named Kevin Systrom launched a photo-sharing service called Instagram, there was no way of knowing that it would mark the beginning of the end of Hipstamatic’s honeymoon. Like Hipstamatic, the iPhone app enabled users to add vintage-era filters to photographs, but there were two key differences: Instagram was free and inherently social; Hipstamatic was not. If Hipstamatic was the camera utility used to enhance your photos, then Instagram was the network where you'd share those photos."

From a personal note, I felt Hipstamatic has done a poor job of spreading the word about its latest products. Two of its attempts at adding social networking features to the app -- Family Album and D Series -- were flops, which few people have even heard of.


Though this is largely anecdotal, I've made several attempts to reach out to the company for various stories I've worked on about photo apps and have never once heard back. While Instagram is not much better at communicating with members of the photo press, the company's new relationship with Facebook means that every update and tweak to the app garners significant attention.

Tomorrow's Fast Company story on Hipstamatic will detail what happened when Twitter came calling and how Hipstamatic lost focus when Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion.