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Fake Kickstarter Game Raises Worries About The Platform, But Should It?

from the crowdsourcing-factchecking dept

As Kickstarter continues to mature as a viable platform for funding creative projects, there are still audible whispers expressing concern over fraud and scams on the site. Leigh previously noted one such case, in which the internet community outted a fake game's funding attempt, detailing how that community was responsible for getting the project removed from Kickstarter entirely. At the same time, he discussed how fraud can be found in the more traditional arenas, as can failures. But Kickstarter stories like this seem to garner, what is in my estimation, an undue amount of fear over frauds and scams.

So I expect more of the same as we learn of another case of a Kickstarter project claiming false affiliations and making promises it couldn't hope to keep. Dirty Bird Sports, as the group was called, claimed that it was raising funds to put out an NCAA football game for the PS3 and Xbox 360, and claimed to have the backing of several well-known names in the football world, all of which turned out to be false.
Boasting a backing from well-known Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson, the project claimed that it was hoping to create a competitor to EA's NCAA Football game and only needed the relatively paltry sum of $500,000 to develop a PS3 and Xbox 360 title.
However, many of the 3D models and assets compiled by the group, calling itself "Dirty Bird Sports", were found to have been lifted from sites selling other artists work, a roundup of which can be seen at Kotaku.
While some might freak out over this, that last bit is what's most interesting to me, and is the proper evidence for pushing back against those claiming the sky is falling. Once again, a vibrant internet community has assisted in outing the liars and scammers, proactively preventing any actual financial harm from occurring. While that same community may not end up with a 100% success rate in stopping such cases, I see these instances as an indication of the maturing of the platform and a direct result of the growth of interest in Kickstarter as a whole. As with any other aspect of crowdsourcing, the benefits rise as the size of the crowd increases. That the internet community is so successful in warning the rest of us of these dangers should be taken as a selling point of Kickstarter, not some scary boogeyman.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:54am

    Fraud was inevitable. I'm glad they were outed before any real damage was done.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 3:56am

    A platform for raising money attracts a minority of people who aren't totally honest and want a free ride? I'm shocked!

    On a serious note, it's nice to see that this is has been a self-correcting issue so far. Two instances of fraud being noted, both taken down by other people using the site, no money was taken from anyone who had been fooled into pledging, no harm to anyone. I think anybody seeing this as a problem with the system is probably looking for reasons to dislike them in the first place.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:09am

    I'd be very interested in some long-term statistics. The platform is relatively young, but in a few years it would be very nice to see the relative number of attempted and succesful scams, and failed vs succesful projects. And compare those to more traditional approaches. General investment scams appear to be quite common.

     

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    Zakida Paul (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    Any platform is going to attract fraudsters, be it new or traditional. Let's not forget that Kickstarter, and crowd funding in general, is still a fairly new concept so the kinks still haven't been completely ironed out.

    One thing we should not do is allow a few fraudulent projects taint our view of the entire platform. Crowd funding is still a fantastic way for genuine content creators to fund their projects while interacting with their fans.

     

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  5.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:15am

    Re:

    That. Much like ebay and yet nobody is complaining about ebay because it's an established business...

     

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  6.  
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    Ninja (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:20am

    Re:

    I'm guessing that these fraud attempts will evolve, as will the systems in place to prevent them. It's a cat and mouse game that will never have a winner - rather, one side will be winning at some point and losing at another point.

    How the community and Kickstarter itself will evolve to deal with those continued attempts will determine how successful the platform is.

     

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  7.  
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    Richard (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    side

    "side" of the crowd should be "size" surely

     

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    jameshogg (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    There were similar scare stories about how Ebay would collapse as a result of scammers. But now we have user feedback systems, necessary proof of ID, etc. And soon enough you will see more companies offering to take the fall and refund crowdfunders if the project fails halway through for whatever reason.

    Also, whether or not Kickstarter have realised it or not, they have taken the role of an advertiser by putting the most successful projects on the front page. This is no different from any music label hiding its failed investments in bands that didn't make it, and putting the best bands out there to be advertised the most. So Kickstarter is justified in doing this.

    All of the critique against Kickstarter, and crowdfunding in general, has been very weak in this regard, and cannot stand up to this rebuttals. But like it or not, it is the solution to the artists' free-rider problem that makes the need for copyright-based incentives obsolete.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 15th, 2013 @ 6:54am

    If they have some sort of legit-looking tech demo or product and a sound business outline (with a high enough goal to cover ACTUAL costs, not setting the bar too low), then they're probably safe to support, especially since the community is likely to sniff out foul play before the goal is met if it's not legit.

    Unless they're Euclidean. Fuck those guys.

     

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  10.  
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    jjmsan (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 9:24am

    Old time fraud

    I am surprised noone has brought up banks and mortgage derivetatives

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Feb 15th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    "You can fool all the people some of the time, and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time."

    With KickStarter, you have to fool everybody for a month or whatever... scams are supposed to exploit the heat of the moment or rush, running a scam for a month until it pays out takes a lot of skill.

     

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  12.  
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    creeem, Mar 5th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    The scam is not this project but the ton of useless junk that would have never got funding otherwise

    Anyone who can make a cool video can raise money. The amount of junk and products that have major flaws that make it impractical is more of an issue.
    An outright flaw is ok, one can go to court directly.
    But imagine using the same tactics to exxagerate a product that does nothing

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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