For this specific campaign, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway
plans to use geotags to plot Instagram photos with the
#Indy500orBust hashtag on an interactive map. Fans can also win a
VIP race experience by posting their photos on Instagram, Mr.
Jarrod Krisiloff, marketing director for the Indy 500, said that
user-uploaded photos will only appear in Indy500orBust.com, the
microsite associated with the campaign hashtag.
"When someone hashtags [an Instagram photo], we're not using
them commercially, we're just showing them. People are making the
choice," Mr. Krisiloff said.
The Indy 500 received advanced access to Venueseen's API for its
campaign, but the API will be available to any interested brands
come Wednesday. In addition to allowing brands to see specific
Instagram photos, Venuessen's software provides access to geotagged
By providing an API, Venueseen is opening up a seemingly endless
realm of possibilities for how brands can legally use Instagram
photos unbeknownst to the users. As Mr. Zuercher said in an
interview, Instagram photos have always been public domain and
brands have always had the liberty to use them as they see fit.
This new software feature merely simplifies the process.
But it also exposes Venueseen and its marketing customers to
ridicule from Instagram users who have stated they don't want their
Instagram photos used for marketing purposes. When Instagram
changed its terms of service last month, users were so unhappy with
the prospect of their photos being sold and used by advertisers
that Instagram reverted to its old terms of
service less than 24 hours after the change.
Those old terms of service don't provide users with much
protection either, though. Instagram users have always surrendered
the licensing rights to their content in exchange for using the
Mr. Zuercher said that a user backlash will be avoided if brands
communicate with Instagram users about how they intend to use their
"We end up helping that concern for consumers," he said. "People
want to be participating in a good way with the products and
services that are behind them. What they don't want is to feel like
someone is stealing."