The Trouble with Kickstarters
Kickstarter and other crowdfunding sites have become a normal part of internet culture. These sites help people with ideas find support for those ideas using popular sites. This has helped fund all types of great ideas from cooking to video games. The only problem is anything can sound like a good idea in theory. Many Kickstarters have actually gone south after their campaigns have ended. Crowdfunding sites don’t guarantee a quality product or even a product at all. This leaves many consumers who get shafted by the creators to become bitter with the services over losing money to them.
Kickstarter projects can be pretty much anything. This means that you have to vet the projects you are interested in to make sure they feel legit. Projects can literally be submitted by anybody and it’s not that hard for someone to find a friend with persuasive writing skills. If the team is dedicated enough they could even make some pretty convincing project designs with programs like photoshop to aid them. Faking a product isn’t that hard. This is why you are warned to not believe things you see on the internet. So much false information is circulated daily that there’s no possible way to keep count of all the misconceptions uploaded to places like Facebook.
At times it may not even be the “fake” projects you have to worry about. Some projects have great strategies behind them at first. The team has done all of their research into making their product a reality and posted a comprehensive list on their page. The only problem is that most things sound simpler than they are. This can cause projects to fail because they either ran out of money or learned that a part of their product isn’t going to work the way they had thought it would.
A lot of projects that appear are by innovative thinkers. Not all of these people have had the actual chance to even run a business. As most business owners can tell you there are a lot of times expenses will pop up out of nowhere. This can shake a project pretty bad after it’s funded and even cause the developers to abandon it or put out less quality than they were initially promising. This isn’t to say all new inventors won’t be able to handle the problems that come along, but you should look into the actual possibility of the products cost when deciding to fund something.
No Money Back Guarantee
Next, before you donate to a Kickstarter, understand that you aren’t guaranteed anything for supporting it. That means that the $20 you just gave for chocolate bunnies went to someone’s alcohol problem. As pessimistic is it is to look at projects this way remember to protect yourself. Once you hit that donate button your money is pretty much forfeit. If the project doesn’t reach its goal you are refunded, but if it does your money is sent off.
At this point it’s completely in the developer’s hand and while you can take some civil action for unreceived products, who wants to? Is your $20 really worth a court battle you may lose because “They are still working on it?” The people that have money to put towards things like Kickstarter have jobs and school to attend. Trying to push a court case for a small sum of money is just unrealistic for most people. This causes a “cut your loss” type of mindset and drives people away from contributing to projects that actually need the support.
If you are waiting on products it could be way past the date when you get them. Crowdfunding can’t guarantee you get that cute gift by Christmas. More often than not, most products can’t realistically meet their guaranteed release date. This can mean you can be waiting to receive your backer rewards from a few months to even a few years. You may have gotten $100 off that robot vacuum, but that $100 is now tied up to an unknown point in time. You could even receive most of your rewards and then the project cancels the last part. Kickstarters are notorious for getting out products to the backers.
While delays can be frustrating some of them are beyond the part of forgiveness. As mentioned above anyone can start a project. This counts for people who can’t meet deadlines too. Some people will literally wait until the last moment to even begin the process the item needs to go through. These are the people that want to get rich quick but do none of the work. This means that they may be slow in even setting up partnerships to sell the completed item. While this may not be as bad for some physical items. Games and productions are a different story.
Several times, the media on Kickstarter has been pushed back and gone silent. In these cases, incompetent people can make the process three times as long. With games, you have to get them rated by ESRB to actually give them out. A lazy person may put this process off to the last moment. If ESRB is busy during that last moment then a Kickstarter funded game isn’t going to take priority over the established companies who timely put in there games for rating. This can extend to things like finding a proper publisher for a book and finding a quality warehouse for making items.
Next, a lot of projects have seen delays only to come out with disappointing products. These products are protected by creative freedom still meaning you can’t win a court case. As long as the item promised somewhat resembles the item originally displayed on the page. A popular Youtube series known as Bee and Puppycat found this out. The Kickstarter took years to finish and the director completely changed the styling of how the show ran. This has also happened several times with movies and games funded through the sites. Just ask the Mega Man fans how they are enjoying Mighty Number 9 right now.