What to look for in Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects

Unfortunately, not every crowdfunded project lives up to expectations. Often, these projects ship later than expected (roughly 75%) and sometimes the actual product doesn’t quite match what you’re shown in the pitch video. Why is that?

Some good advice.

  • A few good points, but some of it isn’t very fair or realistic. Specifically these:

    • “If the pitch video is sloppy and unrehearsed, then there’s a good chance the product will also be sloppy and underwhelming.”

    Yes and no. If it’s a bunch of college guys in track pants and passing a bong around while talking about how they’re going to make an invisibility costume, then use your brain. Don’t give them your money,

    But otherwise, bear in mind that if it’s not a movie-making project then cut them some slack. Campaign managers are encouraged strongly by both KS and IGG to create video, and just because they seem nervous or awkward in front of a camera doesn’t mean they can’t deliver. Look for signs that they take the project and backers seriously. Don’t measure it by how slick it is.

    • “If you frequent either of these sites, you’ve probably seen a few projects that have frequent changes to the front page in terms of the product features, donation tiers, and deliverables for backers.” Changing donation tiers and deliverables is extremely hard to do. You don’t just flip a switch and reduce your deliverables pitch after you’ve got people’s money. Indiegogo, for instance, doesn’t let you edit your perks or tiers after your campaign is launched. You can write to them for a one-time change, but that’s really a pain in the ass to implement. You’ll never see “frequent” changes to those things on KS or IGG. It’s not permitted.

    The rest of it’s pretty solid, but I’ll add my own thought: When you give money to a project on KS or IGG, you aren’t actually “buying” something. This is important to remember: You’re not owed anything. You’re investing in an idea, but there’s no legal recourse if it delivers late, if the product changes, or if it never materializes at all. Don’t misunderstand me: I’m not saying it’s fair, and it’s definitely a loophole that a lot of weasels will exploit. I’m just saying you have to be really be aware of what you’re actually owed when you contribute. It might not be what you think you’re owed.

    • hrpanjwani

      Nice solid post joel. Just one clarification: I think KS and IGG both charge your cc only after the goal has been met and not before that. Is that right?

      • Yes, that’s correct as far as I know. Though once you pledge you can’t suddenly click “undo”.