"Unlike buying something on Ebay, you're basically 'investing' in research and development of something that has yet to be created."
You're not investing. You have *NO* claim on the methods, R&D, patents (if any), final device, or *anything* other than a promise you'll "get one too."
This is not an investment and thinking of it that way promotes the misunderstandings when "the investment doesn't have a good return on investment."
It's a gamble. A wager. A coin-flip. You're paying for the right to maybe get something cheaper and/or sooner and/or NEVER. No matter which way it comes out, you paid to play, you played, and you get a result.
Most people prefer a positive result (i.e. the product, either cheaper or sooner) but there are no guarantees.
If a guy on a street corner has a sign that says "Will work for food" and you give him a dollar and they he does no work, is that fraud? Is it material misrepresentation? Is it a crime of any sort (other than panhandling which is not a criminal offense in my US/Arizona jurisdiction?)
I see the comments above me calling for these "blatant criminals" to "have something done." Tone it down, wiseacres, because the "something to be done" is not giving money to these people.
"But how do we know?" Don't default to giving money to strangers, and then it's easy. "But this will kill crowdfunding!" No. It will remove from crowdfunding people who think they are shopping at a store. It's not.
When you're supporting crowdfunding you are NOT INVESTING in a RISK that if it pans out then MAYBE what you get is what was promised and MAYBE it will be cheaper than the fully-developed product and MAYBE it will be as good as that one and MAYBE you'll get it first.
You are GAMBLING that you will get your money's worth. That's a far different proposition than investing. Investments have value and assets. Crowdfunding is a gamble.
If you get that you are GAMBLING and your "winnings" are "early, cheaper, and not as fully baked -- if at all" and your "losses" are "yeah none of this may come to fruition" then THAT is what backing a kickstarter is all about.
In the real investment world we have ROI analysis and we have risk/reward analysis. If you apply those to kickstarters you will see they are REALLY REALLY BAD "investments". That's because they are wagers.
They are, however, a great way to help someone get their project going. If you think of it in that way and consider your money "lost" when you invest it, then anything you get back is a win.
Full discloser... things I've supported: OBDLink MX WiFi - delivered and it's $10 cheaper than market. (Yes, I saved $10 and got it 60 days sooner at a risk of 100% of the money I paid). Rubber Band Machine Gun - They're out of Ukraine, and there is a war going on, and they haven't been shy at saying that. I don't expect to see that in my lifetime. PockEthernet - delivered and not yet available to the public. Doesn't have all the originally-envisioned features but it's still a good deal. I got two. Quarter Century Belt - delivered, $10 cheaper than its current market price. Same comments as above. Great belt! Rising desk - due for delivery mid 2015. When I see it I'll know it's real.
So I'm pro crowdfunding but consider it a GAMBLE or a WAGER. If I "win" I get to save $10 or get something two months sooner. That's it.
Stop hassling the panhandlers. The only fraud is anyone who takes a kickstarter claims seriously and thinks if they aren't 100% met there's a criminal event there.
Look, Randy Ellen Zeff, you troll, Walter O'Brien is a fraud and a scam artist. Every post you make keeps bringing this to the forefront of discussions about what a loser he is. Good job!
What gives me the right to speak to you as trash? Well I talk to you and you think you're trash so there you go.
I appreciate you want to discuss my childhood (was yours really bad so you think other people's childhoods are important to how they post online) or IQs (you seem obsessed with yours and Walter "the Fraud" Obrien's)... or something?
Let it die? Let it die? Dude, you keep bringing it back to life.
You will bet money? *LOL* You have no money. You're a self-admitted obsessive-compulsive trash-talking loser with no money or IQ or friends -- all things you think are important.
There's nothing killing me or us. It's killing you. Please hurry it up as you're annoying.
"Let it go and I will go...."
No. You will go or you won't go. Nobody cares.
Walter O'Brien is a fraud. He will be no matter what you do.
You're an idiot. If you go you're an idiot who left. If you stay you're an idiot who stayed. Enjoy.
Lots of people know about the Streisand Effect, but few know the details of how it started.
Amateur photographers Ken and Gabrielle Adelman use their own helicopter and flew up and down the California coastline taking high-resolution pictures to document coastline "erosion" and derosion (that's when celebrities buy beachfront property and add sand and rock to extend their beaches).
Barbra sued them (and other parties) in what became a famous meme, but the original lawsuit was about the pictures of her house from a program that californiacoastline.org documents well.
The use of satellite and other imagery to document our ecosystem and its evolution (whether man-made, caused, assisted, or independent) is a very good thing.
The concept of "open sharing of research information" isn't about labels ("open") nor about paywalls or DRM. It's quite simply about open sharing of research information.
Open sharing allows researchers to build upon the work of other researchers; it allows citing the sources; it allows scouring the sources.
Anonymous Coward aims to take Mike to task because Mike doesn't think that the "you can't download this, you can't print this" content isn't "open".
It's not. It makes no difference whether the tool used to prevent sharing amongst researchers is called a paywall or DRM or SomeOtherMechanism.
What's clear is that Nature is run by idiots. Pumping up your own DRM software is certainly something corporations do... but when it's antithetic to the stated goals of sharing information, and entirely antithetic to the real goals of open information, it's just plain idiotic.
My hat's off to Anonymous Coward for blaming Mike for calling out Nature and using some obtuse examples of mailing out DVDs. Sorry, but DVDs are so last decade.
It's good to see one case where the exclusionary rule is applied judiciously. It's one of the cornerstones of Constitutional protection we THE INNOCENT have until proven guilty. Its erosion has had horrific results.
I'm surprised the cops didn't take the gun, the wallet, the credit card, and the keys and sue the property, because civil forfeiture. Good on the Judge for calling them on it.