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Startup pleads with Instagram not to use ‘Bolt’ name for rumored app

instagram asked to change name of bolt app
Image used with permission by copyright holder
Last week we learned that Instagram appears to be prepping the launch of a new “one-tap photo messaging” app, apparently called “Bolt.”

But the launch, which could take place in the coming days, may have been scuppered by an app called Bolt. Yes, there’s already an app called Bolt, and therein lies the problem.

The software, which touts itself as “a free replacement for Android’s default phone app,” is the brainchild of Andrew Benton, now CEO of Bolt – his Bolt, that is.

Instagram's Bolt?
Instagram’s Bolt? Image used with permission by copyright holder

Understandably alarmed that Instagram appears to be on the verge of rolling out an app of the same name, Benton took to his company’s blog to plea for the media-sharing site to reconsider.

In a post that starts “Dear Instagram,” Benton said that while he hopes the rumored Bolt app will be “a spectacular success” for the company, there is “just one problem.”

The CEO said his team knows “Bolt” is a great name “because we chose it last year.”

He added, “We’ve worked really hard since then building the Bolt brand and technology to where it is today. Please don’t destroy all that effort.”

Confused users

Confused users have already been in touch asking if the company has been acquired by Instagram, Benton said, while others have been downloading his app thinking it’s Instagram’s.

In an effort to appeal to the better nature of the Instagram team, Benton reminded the Facebook-owned firm how it was only a couple of years ago that “you were the little guy.”

“I know you haven’t forgotten how hard it is to build something from nothing. And not just technology, but a brand and distinct identity for yourself,” he wrote in the post. “Imagine how it would have felt if Google or Apple or Facebook had launched a photo-sharing app called Instagram in 2011.”

‘Do the right thing’

Benton closed his message by insisting that it wasn’t too late for Instagram to consider using a different name, even offering to pass along a list of alternative titles that his team brainstormed last year before settling with Bolt. “Please do the right thing, and choose an alternate name,” he wrote.

Of course, the current publicity surrounding Instagram’s rumored Bolt app should ultimately do Benton’s Bolt more good than harm, though understandably he could do without the hassle if Instagram does choose to go with the same name. The CEO should find out if he has a battle on his hands later this week.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
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