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The big news on the net this week that has got everyone talking is Instagram’s acquisition by Facebook for the absurd amount of $1 billion. Why absurd? Because Instagram has zero revenue, so how can anyone say that the company is worth $1 billion?  It’s as if Mark Zuckerberg suddenly felt like buying something. Other people buy a puppy or a sports car. Zuckerberg drops a billion on a company with no revenue, and in the process makes everyone at Instagram millionaires, including one employee who joined the company only 3 weeks ago.

I have recently started using Instagram myself, when I bought an iPhone last month, so I sincerely hope that Facebook doesn’t ruin my new favourite site with ads, games and other crap that normally clogs up Facebook. But you have to wonder how Instagram managed such a stunning success in such a short space of time (17 months). Has any other website managed to pull off a one billion dollar coup in a shorter space of time? I’m pretty sure the answer is no.

Our infographic today shows Instagram’s beginnings back in March 2010 and its astonishing rise to where it is today. It just goes to show that indeed anything is possible on the Internet.

What do you think? Is the one billion dollar valuation justifiable? Or is it just silly numbers plucked out of the sky simply to close a deal and wow everyone? Are you excited or afraid that Instagram may changed by Facebook?

Click on the infographic below for a larger version

Infographic Source: Visual.ly

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  1. Abdelhafid
    April 13, 2012 at 9:24 am

    Nice point of view you got there, mark is a rich jerk and this what jerks like him do in their free time

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 13, 2012 at 7:31 pm

      For a moment I thought you were calling me the jerk but then I realised you meant Mark Zuckerberg (I hope!) :-)

      For a moment, I thought "I'm not rich! Or a jerk!" LOL!

      • abdelhafid
        April 13, 2012 at 10:08 pm

        i don't know about you being a rich or not, but definitely you're not a jerk
        any way,with your permission i'd like to translate the post into my native language - which is Arabic by the way - ans re-post it translated in my blog -abdelhafid.com-

        • Mark O'Neill
          April 16, 2012 at 11:32 am

          If you want to translate the MakeUseOf post, then it's OK as long as you credit MakeUseOf with a linkback to this page, as well as credit visual.ly for the infographic.

          If you want to translate only the infographic, then you will need to contact visual.ly for permission, as they own it, not us.

        • abdelhafid
          April 16, 2012 at 4:52 pm

          done, thanks, and here's a link to my article

          http://www.abdelhafid.com/2012/04/instagram-from-zero-to-billion/

          i translated the basics (the main idea) and the rest was from me, no infography was translated either, and of course a make use of-credit link was posted at the end of the article .

  2. Dave Parrack
    April 12, 2012 at 4:49 pm

    It's inevitable Facebook will change Instagram over time. But I don't think $1 billion was that over the top. Facebook now owns a growing competitor it could make money from in the future, has opened a backdoor into Twitter, and has added some obviously talented engineers to its workforce. Bargain.

    • Mark O'Neill
      April 13, 2012 at 7:35 pm

      But there was no need to buy them. Facebook is THE dominant force on the Internet. Everyone leaves their status messages there, so why worry about Twitter? Everyone puts their photos on Facebook so why bother with Instagram? Facebook has the money and the clout to flip the finger at everyone and not worry about a thing.

      I think it was basically a case of "we'll buy them so no-one else can" - consolidating their position of power. That and Zuckerberg already had enough puppies and sports cars.

      • Dave Parrack
        April 13, 2012 at 8:23 pm

        It is the dominant force right now but things can change very quickly on the Web. Just look at MySpace, that was once the dominant force that everyone was signed up for.

        I read tweets from youngsters bemoaning the buyout as Facebook is for old people. That says a lot.

        It's definitely consolidation though, just before the IPO too. They've just acquired another mobile startup as well. Zueckerberg will never have enough puppies or sports cars. Or indeed startups.

      • Paul
        April 17, 2012 at 12:57 pm

        Agreed they are dominant but in this game things move very quickly. Take a look at how Pinterest are speeding along now.

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