Instagram has decided that the best way to get its inactive users back on its platform is to send them emails about the pretty pictures they have been missing all this time.
Users have reported receiving emails from Instagram since the beginning of May, but Instagram has made no official mention of it. On Sunday, Instagram has finally confirmed to TechCrunch that the photo-sharing website is resorting to sort of spamming its users to get them back to log in.
The emails, called Highlights, are composed of some of the best photos from the people each user follows. Instagram says this is the first time it has experimented with sending emails to re-engage users who have stayed away from the service for quite a while. By sending these Highlights, the Facebook-owned photo platform hopes people will realize how much fun it is to be on Instagram and start getting active with their phone cameras once again.
Currently, Instagram has 300 million users, far short of the 1.4 billion users prowling on Facebook every month. However, not all those 300 million people use Instagram regularly. Although Instagram doesn't explicitly say it, it is likely that a portion of that user base barely logs on to Instagram. For the Facebook-owned service to maximize its ad-based business model, it needs to bring in new users while encourage old users to stay on its platform more often.
The move to introduce Highlights is not actually new. Earlier this month, Twitter began sending out weekly "best of" email digests to users' inboxes, indicating that the microblogging network is also hell-bent on getting people back to its never-ending chronological feed of 140-character tweets. Like Instagram, Twitter wants to get the most out of its 240 million user base, an unknown percentage of which are simply inactive accounts their owners don't open often or at all.
But while Twitter's "best of" emails allow users to unsubscribe from the email listing, Instagram has decided not to include any Unsubscribe link anywhere in its own Highlights. Whether it plans to allow users to unsubscribe in the future or not is unknown, but one thing's for sure. If Instagram decides to rope in unsuspecting users by sending them emails the users did not explicitly consent to receive, the service will annoy a lot of people who are receiving already too many emails and could possibly have its plan to bring people back to its platform backfire.
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