This article was published on March 10, 2011

How did Labelbox become the #1 photo app in 25 countries?

How did Labelbox become the #1 photo app in 25 countries?
Courtney Boyd Myers
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Courtney Boyd Myers

Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups gr Courtney Boyd Myers is the founder of, a transatlantic company designed to help New York and London based technology startups grow internationally. Previously, she was the Features Editor and East Coast Editor of TNW covering New York City startups and digital innovation. She loves magnets + reading on a Kindle. You can follow her on Facebook, Twitter @CBM and .

The newly launched Labelbox is now the #1 photo app in 25 countries, according to appannie. The app is exactly what it sounds like, it lets you creatively label and box (frame) your photos.

The app is top 5 in 65 countries, and #26 in USA overall app charts. In fact, it’s ranked above Instagram, Picplz and even Skype. But in the photo tweaking/filtering/sharing craze, have you even heard of it?

How to use:

Simply take or upload a photo. Choose from 5 different tape options – Blossom, Steply Blue, Label, Masking it! and Stamp. The strips of tape can be maneuvered around the photo to act as a label or frame the photo. Hold tape to remove the label. Shake to clear all of your work if it sucks. And when you’ve finished your masterpiece- photos can then be shared to Steply, Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and via email as well as tagged by location. Integrations with Posterous and Flickr are coming soon.

It’s fun, especially if you want to tell the world that this poor puppy has a redneck owner, but it’s more work than it’s worth. Deleting a label is easy but it’s hard to move labels once they’ve been created. Also, in order to share photos you have to manually sign up for a Steply account then connect your other social networks to it. Some would call that a pretty steep barrier to entry.

Once you’ve created a Steply account, you can search for friend updates, explore other users’ photos, as well as the ability to email those photos and copy a link to other users’ photos, and search for nearby places to tag locations in your photos.

So, how did Labelbox become the #1 photo app in 25 countries, beating out both Instagram and PicPlz?

“Labelbox’s success is just a teaser on the power of network effects when formed within a network of photo apps. We could achieve such ranking because we cross promoted it on other apps such as Phototreats, Actioncam and Darkroom within in Steply network.” Steply’s Leon Ho

Steply is “ngmoco for photo apps”.  Similar to ngmoco’s plus+ network, Steply has released a native SDK for the iPhone for photo app developers. Accepting 3rd party photo app developers allowed Steply to scale the network much more quickly than other competitors because developers can create a photo community within an hour by integrating into Steply’s library.

‘We will increase our channels from 2M+ downloads from our apps to over 10M+ unique downloads from the first batch of developers. As we’ve only started accepting 3rd party developers this month, so this is just the beginning,” says Ho, a graduate from Queensland University of Technology in Brisbane, Australia.

The photo community is integrated inside of the app, which allows developers to gather and interact with users easily. Developers immediately receive tons of social shares. Steply also helps developers to cross promote their apps within the network. For instance, users are interested to see which app has been used to take a specific photo, so Steply’s shows the app meta-data on each of the photos. Steply already has 8 apps including Photo Mess, RetroCamera and PhotoShake signed up to their network.

Steply is accepting applications from 3rd party developers here.

Interested in the app? Download it here for free.

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