I'm I getting myself into a dead end?

Hey guys! I manage an e-commerce site and I've been working lately on a tool for myself as a side project to manage some of my instagram conversations.

One of the features I built has been very useful for myself and also for a couple of friends who started using it and are loving it.

I really see an opportunity for this product but I'm struggling with one thing: I'm using Instagram's private API right now which could be against their ToS.

It started as a fun project to toy around but now I'm not sure if I should give it a try as a serious business or not since I'm using something which does not completely comply with the platform rules.

What do you guys think? Should I keep hacking my way around or I'm just entering a dead end?

  1. 2

    I think the most likely worst case scenario for you will be to get a cease and desist which will force you to shutdown your service. Regardless of this, the decision whether to productise it or not depends entirely on the effort, risk and reward ratio you're willing to put up with. For me, to go with such a high risk product - the effort must be low enough and should warrant enough of a reward for it to be worth it. Hope I made sense

    1. 1

      Hey Justin! thanks for your reply, it makes a lot of sense to me. Thanks for the advise!

  2. 1

    Hi milanr

    I would rather think about my reputation: "With such an approach I brand myself as somebody who is unwilling to stick to the market rules."

    Choose wisely!


  3. 1

    It will absolutely get shut down, it's just a matter of time

  4. 1

    In general, building on top of a platform will lead to limitations you have to abide to. I was thinking about developing website on the HubSpot CMS for example, and they have this markup language known as HubL which is honestly ridiculous, it's just a way for them to ensure the codebase is proprietary so they keep you onto the platform. Platforms will have more or less sophisticated ways of doing this, but there's no going around the fact that if I want to build a business on top of HubSpot, I have to use HubL. Long story short, I dropped the idea altogether as I prefer owning as much of my projects as I can :)

    1. 1

      Woow, never heard about a company building their own language, they took it one step further hahaha.

  5. 1

    any lawyers or Instagram experts on here that can give @milanr a quick appraisal? Without that then yes it could all be a horrible waste of time.

    But do try to think laterally - are there other ways to achieve the same solution.

    1. 1

      Thanks for your comment! It's hard to find another solution because we are automating some things me and my colleagues are doing manually since there is no api to do it.

  6. 1

    I heard an interview with someone who created a very profitable business using an API in a way that was against the terms. He thinks the platform either hasn't detected it or turns a blind eye because he brings them so much business. But of course it's a risky foundation to build something on and given it is Instagram then I imagine they would just close you down if detected. What is the non-compliance? If it is using a private API for public consumption then couldn't you just require your users to provide their private API key to use your service? If it's note allowed to access API with an automated agent then no way around it. You could sell the tool to users to install & use at their discretion but that's not ethical imo.

    1. 1

      I'd love to hear that interview if you find it by any chance. Right now we are using an automated agent which is not allowed, but we are sure its creating value for everyone in the platform and not just other businesses.

      1. 1

        Think its this one. If I've misunderstood or am mistaken, my bad.

  7. -3

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