Spotlight On: Carel van Apeldoorn, Managing Director of Ink361.com
Barely a year old…and with over 10 million users…the Instagram iPhone app has sprouted a cottage industry of apps and websites. One of the leading sites is Ink361.com (see link under our header) which allows you to browse and manage your Instagram photos right on your PC or Mac. And the cool thing is, you don’t need an IG account or even an iPhone to enjoy Ink361.com. The site’s clean, modern, user-friendly interface makes it easy to share your mobile masterpieces with friends, family…anyone…with internet access (although you do need an account to “Like”, comment and follow people). To learn more, we spoke to Carel Van Apeldoorn, the site’s Managing Director….
InstagramNYC: Tell us how Ink361 was born:
van Apeldoorn: Ink361 was born from Joshua INKenbrandt in March 2011. He instantly fell in love with the app after downloading it, and as a rock star engineer wanted to solve the issue of making Instagram accessible for the web, which he did as soon as the API was released. Inkstagram has grown very fast, obviously due to the success of Instagram. For the last couple of months it has reached the milestone of 500,000 unique visitors since March 1, 2011.
InstagramNYC: What makes Ink361 different from the many, many Instagram-related websites and apps out there?
van Apeldoorn: In terms of product features we have already shown innovations that our users have embraced….
1) My Likes: We launched this even before Instagram started including it.
2) My Public Profile: Sharing your IG content with everybody who has an internet connection in a beautiful slideshow and grid viewer.
3) Hashtag Albums: This allows users the ability to organize their own photos in separate hashtag albums and sharing those photos with friends, loved ones and everybody out there who is interested. This feature has been very well received and we see many new albums being created daily.
4) The new All-Screen Map Viewer helps users discover IG from a different perspective.
5) Last but not least, users always share that they love the intuitive user interface.
InstagramNYC: What innovations can we look forward to with Ink361? Can you give us a peek of what’s in store?
van Apeldoorn: Without disclosing a specific feature in detail we are developing a way for users to organize their content better. With the growth of users’ own photo content, the issue arises that people tend to view only the most recently uploaded photos. The fact that there is so much hidden beautiful photos in all those streams requests a proper solution to make them easily accessible.
InstagramNYC: Why do you think Instagram (and photo-sharing in general) has become such a social-media phenomenon?
van Apeldoorn: The Instagram community is embraced by people who love to share and be creative. There is a human desire to tell stories and explore/follow other people’s lives, and Instagram made this especially simple, with filters and an easy user-interface. With so many sub-cultures and unique individuals present on Instagram, there is something to be excited about for everybody, whether it is just the love for photography, following your favorite fashion brand, keeping up with celebrities, making new friends with like-minded people and obviously sharing your life story. Plus there’s the fact that there are unknown Instagrammers with 10,000+ followers, creating the exciting element that you can be discovered tomorrow and experience the excitement of being talked about. And now, we are seeing companies like Burberry, Starbucks and Red Bull amongst others start to experiment with Instagram. So we are confident that companies will further explore the options they have to integrate photo-sharing in their marketing strategy. Photography in our view will remain a very important communication tool, because it tells stories instantly. Once you are presented with a photo, you get the complete story, which makes it extremely powerful.
Thank you, Carel, for speaking with us!