On Monday Facebook dropped a bomb by announcing its $1 billion acquisition of social photo sharing site Instagram. At the time, we suggested it might provide opportunity for other players in the same space as Instagram to gain some much-needed traction, and competitor EyeEm is seeing an uptick in activity – engagement on the service, which provides photo editing via simple filters and sharing around different subjects and context points, nearly doubled overnight, requiring EyeEm to add additional server capacity to its backend.
“As a photography community with strong values, it’s very important for us to let our users decide whether they want to opt in their account and share their photos with Facebook and other services,” EyeEm CEO Florian Meissner said when asked why he thought Instagram users might now be looking around for alternatives. “The copyrights to the images will always belong to the photographers [at EyeEm]. I think that a lot of people are not really sure what’s going to happen [with Facebook] and that’s why they are looking for an alternative.”
Berlin-based EyeEm already has presence on both iOS and Android, something it beat Instagram to by about six months. Meissner thinks EyeEm is well-positioned to take advantage of any change in the market precipitated by this deal, mostly because they aren’t a straight-up Instagram clone, thanks to their location and interest discovery elements.
“The big challenge for the future of photo sharing remains to create relevance. Pure social discovery is not a satisfying experience on the long run,” he said. “Based on locations and topics, our users are able to customize their photo sharing experience and discover new content with every new photo taken.”
Any talk of a mass exodus from Instagram in the wake of the Facebook deal is premature at best, and outright ridiculous at worst, since Instagram managed to rack up five million Android downloads in just six days, and it’s unlikely that kind of momentum will simply fizzle out. But if EyeEm’s experience is any indication, Instagram competitors will benefit from the deal with at least a temporary chance to impress a fresh new crop of potential new users.