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.

Filed Under: crowdfunding, fakes, frauds, internet, worries
Companies: kickstarter


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  1. icon
    jameshogg (profile), 15 Feb 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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