Founded: March 2010
Original Domain: instagr.am
Preferred Domain Name: Instagram.com
In October 2010, Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger launched Instagram as a mobile social platform for sharing photos and videos online. Within a year or so, the site boasted 10 million users! In 2012, Facebook purchased the app and increased its market share, as is evidenced by its high popularity among younger people whose world involved smartphones and sharing of their images, thus, their preference for Instagram over Facebook.
Instagram didn’t come out of the woodwork, so to speak. Systrom developed and acquired funding for Burbn, an app prototype with features similar to Foursquare in that it was a location-based, check-in app. But after getting $500,000 in investments, the co-founders decide that Burbn had to be stripped down due to its cluttered design. Since the photo aspect was the most popular among the beta users, they decided to keep the feature as well as the comments and like features, and started on the development phase again. This time, the app was named “Instagram”, which was a combination of “instant” and “telegram”, aside from sounding “camera-y” in Systrom’s words.
Not even Systrom and Krieger could have imagined the meteoric rise in the number of people who downloaded the app when it was first released in the Apple App store. Within four months, Instagram acquired $7 million in additional funding, thus, increasing its value to $20 million. Bloomberg Business even observed that Instagram lacked real company accoutrements, not even a permanent web address since it was still using instagr.am.
In 2011, Systrom paid $100,000 to buy the Instagram domain from its owner. But in 2014, a relative of the original owner asserted that the seller didn’t have the authority to sell and contended that he wanted the domain returned. Facebook won its 2014 UDRP case, as well as 21 more domains that were spelled similarly as Instagram.com domain.
While domain hacks have a certain cool factor about them, these should also be secondary URLs. Take the case of instgr.am that its users called Instagram instead of pronouncing it as instgr.am – and there’s not even a uniform way of saying it. You should always try to get the domain name that your customers, employees and stakeholders can pronounce easily and quickly, if not by default.
Instagram - A simple, fun & creative way to capture, edit & share photos, videos & messages with friends & family.