Kickstarter Introduces New Rules To Try To Limit Disappointment

from the some-good,-some-bad dept

There have been a few stories of late about the possibility of backlash over failed Kickstarter projects. After all, for all the cool things about Kickstarter, anyone investing in a project there is taking a risk, and some of that risk leads to dashed expectations. Kickstarter has apparently been taking those concerns quite seriously, and issued some rule changes directed at hopefully limiting the disappointment factor for supporters of physical products, mainly by doing more to highlight the risks and current state of the offerings.

New projects will be required to detail what the risks and challenges of the project are, and how they intend to overcome them. It should be pretty interesting to see how those sections turn out. To be honest, I could actually see that being really useful for people behind these projects, as it's not uncommon for enthusiastic creators to not even want to confront the risks and challenges they're facing. Forcing them to do so will hopefully lead to more realistic assessments of what can be done.

The other rule changes seem a bit strange to me, and I'm not sure they'll be as effective. The first is to ban renderings or simulations of products:
  • Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
  • Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.
  • I can certainly understand why they're doing this, as it will clearly give a much more realistic picture of where things are at the moment. But it seems like requiring renderings and simulations to be clearly marked as such might be a more effective solution -- along with showing what the actual current state of the technology is. Since many of these projects need money to finalize development, it seems fair to show what they intend the final product to look like.

    The other ban is on offering multiple quantities of a reward, unless it really only makes sense that way (like where you need a pair of devices to make something work). That's to reinforce the idea that this isn't a "store" for pre-buying things, but to really get people to invest in the project itself. While it does often feel that projects got a bit lazy with upper tiers that were little more than "5 of x," I'm also not sure that this one really makes that much sense. Kickstarter defends the decision this way:
    The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and offering multiple quantities feels premature, and can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship.
    I understand the line of thinking... but I could see that taking away value from potential buyers who are willing to take the risk and buy in on a product early, where they'd like multiple quantities.

    Either way, it's fascinating to watch how Kickstarter continues to evolve -- and to note that the company (as it has for a long time) seems very keen on listening to what people are saying, and figuring out reasonable ways to avoid any problems.

    Filed Under: crowdfunding, products, rules
    Companies: kickstarter


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    1. identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 23 Sep 2012 @ 4:51am

      It's a business plan.. just like what a bank requires

      thats right, just a business plan, anyone who has started an actual REAL business knows all about them.. it simply details what you are intending to do, how you intend to do it, and a carefull analysis of potential issues that may stop you from acheiving those goals.

      Masnick claims to be an amazing business expert, im sure he has worked on many, or at least several buisness plans...

      Masnick, you might want to try to inform your readers about the formal and content of a 'standard' business plan..
      and why you find it amusing that investors would not require this information before they are prepared to invest.

      so what is the difference between Kickstarter and a bank ??

      If you want finance for a 'plan' it makes sense to detail your 'plan' to those who may be willing to invest in you..

      if you cannot write a clear and accurate business plan that 'looks right', then you most certainly are not ready to run an actual business.

      until you get the basics of business 'design' down you might as well not play with the real thing..

      but reading Masnicks 'analysis' of certain industries it is clear masnick has never written a business plan, let alone turned one into a reality..

      your business plan is a blue print of what your business is to be, it explains how it will work, and how it may not work, it defines direct and indirect competition etc, it is also dynamic, HAS to be written (not just an idea in your head), and is quite often the determinator of the success or not of a new business. It also usually requires considerable research, something masnick does not seem to take into consideration when stating his 'analysis' of certain industries.. industries he's never worked for or in, he has also never seen to apply standard business concepts to his analysis.. all opinion no facts.. a good reason why he has never and will never work in the industry he professes to know so much about... :) (but does not)...

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