Why Kickstarter Is A Scam

So after messaging back and forth with the Kickstarter people we will not be using them as a way to raise funding. After seeing the success of the Diaspora team, another project started by NYU students, we thought Kickstarter would be a great way to raise some funding. So we sent in an application.

Basically Diaspora was an exception to their policy that “tech” programs aren’t allowed on their site. I have 2 questions:

1) Who did they know at Diaspora?

2) Who did someone on the Diaspora team know that made Kickstarter take them?

If Kickstarter were strictly an arts and crafts site – which is what they make it seem like when you speak to them – I would understand. But to selectively allow some projects and not others on an unknown set of criteria (btw you can read the “published” guidelines of what they look for but that clearly is not what they are deciding off of) smacks of unfairness.


Someone remind me to send them a digital middle finger when this ends up being successful.



About clevis1

Christian Levis is the creator of EchoFriendly, a location based chat application for the iOS. He is a graduate of NYU's College of Arts & Sciences and holds degrees in biology and English along with a professional certificate in marketing. He also a graduate of the Fordham University School of Law, and deeply concerned about privacy and the impact that social media has on intellectual property. Christian is also a jazz pianist. His favorite band is Steely Dan. His favorite book is too hard to choose. He enjoys seafood but not really lobster and drinks more coffee than is probably healthy for a normal human being. You can find him on Twitter @echomeback Or on Facebook as...Christian Levis
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124 Responses to Why Kickstarter Is A Scam

  1. N'Gina says:

    I have to agree. After checking out their site and finding over 20 food based groups that were trying to accrue funding for the businesses, we applied and were told that they were a venue for creative artist and not for start up funding to launch a project. WHAAAAT. So the guy trying to open his own brewery, who admitted he was using the money to buy equipment isn’t using his funds for start up funding? Kickstarter is a two faced operation. I will not be recommending them in the future to anyone.

    • mapager says:

      Exactly – I actually engaged in a long discussion via their website about this. My problem was that I felt there was some arbitrary criteria not listed for selecting businesses or ideas. I mean even though a musical artist is not the same as a business buying equipment per se, they are selling the albums they receive funding for and making money. How is it that art which makes money is not a business? One comment they specifically made was the “low rate of return” on certain investments. What rate of return? I thought this was a site where you give your money to projects you find interesting, not where you make back a return. I think this represents a hit at where they may be going – larger funding amounts that take a share of equity as a result.

      That being said I also have a problem seeing how a business cannot be a creative idea. A novel take on anything is creative. If the guy making beer is doing something innovative why should it be any different than an “artistic” project. Kickstarter made sense to me as a way to crowdsource funding – aka let the people pay for what they want to see. If that were the process, a true democratic funding procedure, crazy ideas would be weeded out because no one would give them money to meet the goal. It’s the plutocratic review of some unknown executive board that to me runs counter to the sites idea.

      Glad someone else agrees!


  2. Cole says:

    Kickstarter.com is a complete joke! They have an utter lack of respect or professionalism! They rejected my proposal, so ok fine, I simply asked them how do I go about submitting a new proposal so that they could see if the project now fit their guidelines. I logged in to check for a response and my account is now “no longer active”. They deleted me! What a joke!

  3. Ramon says:

    I have 2 problems with kickstarter. When I first heard about Kickstarter I was all excited, not b/c I had I a project but I was happy that a peer-to-peer funding platform was established for creative projects. I foolishly thought that it is for artists, humanitarian, etc, you know what I mean, non-profit causes. This is the image in which Kickstarter projects itself. Here is my first problem. Most projects there are 100% for profit business, creative or not. So, right off the bat, Kickstarter is projecting a misleading, if not deceptive, image.

    Fine, I am not against business at all. Actually I think it’s a great platform for stratups. Brilliant, really. But here is my 2nd beef. Non of the for profit projects I see on the site offers any equity or profit sharing to the pledgers. Why should I fund anyone to start a for profit business w/o getting equity in return? All the pledgers get is usually a free product. I can see some of those for profit products may potential make the creators millions (remember the snaggie?) So, WTF!

    Kickstarter sounds all high and mighty in saying that “it’s not about investing.” Well, kickstarter get 5% of the pledges! As far as I see it, interm of the for profit business projects, which are the majority on Kickstarter, the only people who is benfitting from it are the project creators and Kickstarter. Again, WTF!

    Don’t take me wrong, I gladly donate money for non-profit projects that strike my cord but I am not interesting in give away my hard earn money to someone to start a business no matter how creative the idea is.

    • mapager says:

      I am not crazy.

      If the site was simply aiming to facilitate micro financing their model would make more sense. I think what everyone who commented is responding to is the noticeable gap between what Kickstarter says they do and what we actually see happen on the website. I look at that weekly email and I am still baffled.

      A simple fix would be a list of requirements. That way everyone knew what’s up.

      That or just put every project up and let the people choose. In theory people would only donate money to things they wanted to see. But I agree with the “for profit” problem. Why invest in a company that is clearly trying to make money when I get nothing in return but a free six pack or something stupid and they get my money to start a business?

      • Kimc says:

        I don’t know about anyone else’s business, but in our case, we are inventing something in our living room that we feel will help the world substantially, but we don’t have enough money to build a factory. We don’t want venture capital, as they try to take over the business and run it for cutthroat profit. We want to build our solar electric generators and sell them, but for every few (five?) we sell, we would like to give one to a poor village or a charitable organization (like Doctors Without Borders, for example). We also want, eventually, to sell the factory to the workers to run democratically as a worker-owned cooperative. We could really use some initial cash infusion to buy machinery to build the generators and pay the assemblers until we start making a profit. If we don’t get it, the world will be deprived of a new, more efficient source of electricity. (Our device should make, with two or three solar panels, what now requires about 30 panels, and it will continue working after dark. It will cost about 1/3 of what that 30-panel system costs, and may go down later.) anyway, we are thinking of applying to Kickstarter, but we haven’t yet.

    • Maximum_Mike says:

      Because getting a cut of the profit or equity in exchange for investing in the project is basically selling securities without a license. They it would be the same thing as offering common stock in their company or project.

  4. Joe says:

    Wow. Lots of sour grapes and just plain misinformation here. Where to even start…

    Kickstarter offers the chance to fund worthy projects. If you’re thinking “where’s my profit” you’re in the wrong place. It’s more like “my friend is making a cool cartoon and needs money to do the digital animation” -“oh that’s cool! I’d donate $10 to that”. Some of these comments sound like investment bankers — what’s my rate of return for this investment? Misses the point COMPLETELY. Thus is like giving your roomate $10.

    Complaining that you could do the same on Facebook? Uh, maybe. Speaking for myself, the 12 projects I’ve funded would never have crossed my Facebook page, my twitter feed or Tumblr. So those projects got funding from outside their little circle of “friends”. So, respectfully, it’s not the same thing.

    Scam? Maybe some projects but the dozen I’ve supported (3 books, 5 CDs/recording projects , an exhibit, 3 films) all happened, all provided the promised incentives, all came with heartfelt thank you letters from the makers.

    Kickstarter is a company, not a free service like twitter– they have every right to choose what they will take on. I don’t find their submission process to be cryptic or deceptive or misleading. Some things won’t get taken on for any number of reasons. Stop acting like an entitled little kid.

    • mapager says:

      I think you’re missing the point of our “sour grapes”

      No one is suggesting that kickstarter is a “scam” in the sense that they do not give the money to the people who ask for it (or that those who receive use it for something else). Rather there is a misrepresentation about what the site is actually about. If kickstarter is strictly about funding creative projects than that is fine. But there is a fine line in many of these cases between what counts as “creative” and what does not. While the guy in Brooklyn looking to experiment with making beer is being “creative” he is really looking to start a brewery – a for profit business. The same is even true of the artists. Lets not forget that those musicians making CD’s are not doing this for the charitable purpose of spreading the joy of music but to make a buck, like everyone else. That being said, while kickstarter certainly has a right to moderate, if there are certain standards it should be more clear.

      • TimK says:

        Actually most people who make CDs are really doing it to spread their music not to make money. Especially on the level that the kickstarter music projects are working on. If you are lucky you may sell 1000 copies which rarely covers the cost of making the CDs let alone paying your rent etc.

        Creative process takes many forms and rarely pays the bills. Kickstarters award system actually provides a more real and tangible reward for the backer than any form of equity sharing would for these type of projects.

        Try applying for public monies and you will find the requirements more restrictive, the criteria is way more cryptic and the process is more arcane than the kickstarter model.


      • 66789abcd says:

        This article is called… Kickstarter is a SCAM. I don’t think you understand their sour grapes. you dumby.

      • Mike Mudd says:

        Buddy, if I was doing it to make a buck, i certainly wouldn’t be in the music business.

        It takes a lot of money to make decent quality recordings and to tour -but until you receive quite a high level of success you have nothing in your pocket. I record and release my music for free, because I want people to hear what I do and because I don’t have the money to pay $40-50/hour to go to a pro level studio, +$1200 to get a pro CD package, or $10,000 to do a decent tour.

        If there’s a safe, reliable platform for me to get the money to do those things (even if the people donating are people that I bring to the table) it’s not a scam. Kickstarter, Indigogo, Peerbackers, etc… provide a level of credibility that makes it seem safer to donate. I tried self-funding and it was difficult. I felt I was re-inventing the wheel. I can look at successful projects, see how they did it, how I can improve upon it, how to entertain people while asking them for money. These websites are a trustworthy way for my friends, fans, and family to donate money -and they can compare my project with other ones to gauge my worthiness. (I’m more afraid of trusting Amazon as they have a habit of freezing funds for little to no reason)

    • I can only assume you work for or have some interest in the success of Kickstarter.

      Firstly, no one charges your roommate $.50 for giving you $10. If this were all about getting people you knew to donate, you could easily do it yourself, in person, or with a small, simple, functional website.

      Your roommate also isn’t outside of your “circle of friends.” So, you’re contradicting yourself. Is Kickstarter there to assist you in raising small amounts from those closest to you, or those who wouldn’t otherwise see it? If you didn’t see the projects you funded on a social networking site, where did you find it? Searching the Kickstarter listings? I find that hard to believe, and at the same time, if you did make a hobby of random Kickstarter philanthropy, if you happened to stumble across your “roommate’s” project, I think a Disney ride with animatronics of various denominations would sing a song about the size of the planet, because that’s pretty coincidental.

      It isn’t the “same thing” as what? Again, you’re saying it isn’t like social networking with those you already know, but you’re not telling us what it IS, unless you’re suggesting everyone who donates is a stranger who feels the need to donate to another stranger’s unknown project, at which point it is nothing like borrowing $10 from someone you live with. At all.

      I don’t think anyone is implying the various projects are a scam. I think they’re suggesting that Kickstarter’s inconsistent and counter-policy exceptions and denials, and the fact that they take a percentage of something they have done little to no work for, is where they word “scam” comes into play.

      So, which is it? Is Kickstarter a genuine, art-centric service motivated to help those who wish to create fund their projects, or a business? Are they here to help people, or here to make money? And no, they can’t be both.

      If they don’t stand by their own submission policy, and allow certain submissions that their TOS denies while turning away others of the same class, or worse, that their TOS permits, how is it not cryptic? The words used in their documentation may not be difficult to understand, but if they don’t follow their own policies, their service is.

      Who’s acting like a child here? The first to throw around unwarranted insults, or those stating their valid opinions?

      • D. Skill says:

        “Is Kickstarter a genuine, art-centric service motivated to help those who wish to create fund their projects, or a business? Are they here to help people, or here to make money? And no, they can’t be both.”

        Yes. They can be both.

        In reality, the goals of making money and helping people aren’t mutually exclusive.

        Many charitable organizations, in fact, have to make money to continue their philanthropic endeavors to help people. Somehow operating expenses must be paid.

        Conversely, many businesses that are profitable, only earn their profits because they help people by offering products or services that are helpful to their customers.

        Your other points regarding Kickstarter may be valid. This generalization, however, is misguided and just plain wrong.

      • Tamieka says:

        I believe that just as an etsy.com or other sites that may it fact charge a fee for selling your product through their venue, Kickstarter also reserves the right to do so as well. After All, this is a business with overhead (Rent, Staff, Web Developers, PR, Payroll etc.) and they are “in fact” providing you with a platform to openly ask for funding regarding your creative projects. If you are not pleased, then you find a web developer, app designer, graphic designer, public relations agent, etc. to build your project. While some may strongly disagree with how the selection process goes, please do realize that Kickstarter.com or any other website of this nature does have a whole lot of resources and reputation that is already established and at your disposal should you be chosen. I as an Artist (Fashion Designer) recently took a business course and my eyes were open to all of the “small tedious details” involved to launch projects. There should be a small percentage of profit to be given to anyone who assists you in raising funds for your projects. In fact, if you went to a Bank, Venture Capitalist, friends and family, etc. to ask for money to fund your project, they DEFINITELY want to see a financial return on their investment in your project, period.

  5. Anon says:

    Kickstarter rejected my project. Like all the other people, I was excited when I heard about the site and thought it would be a good place to raise some small capital to complete this project. The Kickstarter staff told me they are for ‘creative art projects’ – that I should “look around”. I mentioned to the staff member that their biggest hall of fame project of all time (recently funded) was for over 700k (the Tik-Tok – a wrist watch that holds ipod nanos) and that this was a consumer product, not a creative art project, by any sense. I also made another example. I did not get a response. So disappointing because of how they present themselves. But hey, if my project was a documentary about how reggae music transformed the world of starving school kids in Botswana and offered a free engraved wrist bracelet, I’m sure I would have been approved!

    • mapager says:

      The Tik Tok is a great example of why our negative sentiment is not simply “sour grapes” as one other user suggested. I would love to see someone at kickstarter’s response to this.

    • Bruce Malone says:

      The fact is they don’t want stories about starving school kids in Botswana – I offered a film about grade school kids in Thailand turning elephant dung into biofuel with plenty of creative perks and was denied.

      • John says:

        Not only Tik-Tok. What about Pebble (a watch with apps – sounds like Polar), CloudFTP, Find-my-car, the list goes on. At least for tech projects they are completely inconsistent.

      • Ellen says:

        To me, Kickstarter was a complete waste of my time. I have a necessary and legitimate small business and projects to bring to the mainstream marketplace. I have 1st Amendment Freedom of Speech Rights and hold a law degree as well….well versed in what is libel, slander or defamation. Everyone has the right to express their thoughts on Kickstarter and I stand by my previous comments.

  6. Chris says:

    This maybe a little off-topic but i want to ask something

    Doesn’t Kickstarter Make it seem to easy to scam??

    I mean tomorrow i can present a “Creative” idea to them and raise say “$10,000” and in return present “Goodies” in terms of a postcard maybe which won’t cost much to distribute and keep the remaining money to myself.

    I mean is there a way that kickstarter keeps a check of weather the project is bound to complete after the funding time is over..??

    The official ones i can understand… Like i read a NatGeo photographer is making a documentary on Chernobyl tragedy and that the DVD published would have a list of the names of donors on it if you donated more than $200

    But what if its a random cover band CD raising $2000…??

    How would you know that they have acctually finished the cover from the money donated??

    • mapager says:

      In theory yes – there is no “success” guarantee for kickstarter projects.

      Kickstarter tries to avoid the problem you raise by only approving “Creative” projects. You see, if this is not a “for profit” entity, you are funding an idea. In theory, you’re not giving the money for a “return” you are giving it to help someone try and finish a project. As one comment says, this is like lending 10 dollars to your roommate to work on something. You don’t really care if you get it back, but it would be nice if you got something in return.

      I think that’s B.S.

      I always wondered about this myself. Aside from damaging your own credibility for raising money in the future, there is no real way kickstarter can enforce the receipt of gifts in exchange for contributions.

      Also there is no real time table for completion. If I get 10,000 dollars in funding to complete a record, who says how long that takes me? A year and a half from my my contributors may well have forgotten they gave me 10 bucks, and thus not really expect a cd. For the most part it seems like an honor system.

    • TimK says:

      The money is held in escrow till the project is complete.

      • Nick says:

        Tim, Unfortunately, no it is not. They do not hold the money when someone places a pledge, nor do they hold it for any period of time once the campaign has finished. I had to learn this the hard way. My campaign was said to have reached 21k for over a month and a half, but when the campaign ended, a lot of the charges didn’t go through and I ended up with only a little over 1k. Their system is so improperly set up and run. Even though I didn’t actually reach my goal of 10k, KS still took out their fees and left me short of a refund, and responsible for the backer rewards. It was truly a unfortunate experience for me… with no resolve.

  7. Jamal says:

    Kickstarter really discriminates big time.

    It’s like the unspoken truth. I wish more people who got rejected would get the word out because I don’t think pledgers realize how tough it is to even get on Kickstarter and how often Kickstarter is rejecting creative projects hundreds daily, projects that DO fit the guidelines.

    It’s ok to reject, but just say that from the start. They say that in order for your project to get on it has to fit the guidelines.

    They don’t say that they discriminate some over others depending on what they think of the project.

    I find it odd that Diaspora got on whereas hardly any other web apps could get on except one or two.

    What’s the difference between shooting a movie and building a web app. You either do it or you don’t and let the people decide if they want to pledge or not.

    They also don’t just accept any movie, because people think that’s true but it isn’t. They reject many documentaries and films.

    • mapager says:

      I agree.

      As I’ve said before its also the fact that they make kickstarter sound like its an open universe.

      It’s not

      It’s a group of people who choose – based on God knows what – to reject some projects vs. others. I would be fine with it if that was how the site represented itself.

      I was trying to fund a web app that was giving money to charity and they determined that it was too “high risk” and not the type of project they do. Technology they claim is too high of a risk; mind you that in no other genre do they have a “success” requirement – If I make an album and it bombs, so be it.

    • Stephanie says:

      They also reject Christian material. I have a book on Christians with Autism, it helps the person with Autism better understand Christianity and helps the parents/partner/support better understand the mindset and thinking of the person with autism (I have autism).

      Nothing like it out there from what I can tell, but great demand for it.

      Turned down flat in record time.

      Offered great, creative rewards.

      I have seen lots of other books on there (I mean, come on, they will publish some guys photos from the 1980’s, but not something substantial?) but a Christian book is turned down flat with no explanation.


  8. ted says:

    I think what some of these people may not be taking into account is also the level of creativity of your project, not just what you want to do. It’s not just what you want to use the money for but what you are offering your backers in return, are you essentially just setting up a transaction or are you creating a social experience? Kickstarter is a company and they can chose what ever projects represent them best. I think they obviously lean towards quirky/niche/unusual and that’s what I like. Is it wrong if they don’t approve someone setting up a new restaurant who’s been in the that field for years, but do approve someone who worked a desk job for ten years and is diving into a the field knowing nothing? I don’t think so, it’s what keep site from being awash with banal requests. If you didn’t get approved why not try again thinking about the actual project and how you will interact with the backers as a creative endeavor rather than just what you want to do.

    • mapager says:

      I don’t think you’re wrong.

      Nor do I think they are wrong for picking and choosing – I certainly would.

      But is a watch band for an ipod really something that interacts with users? The Tic Tok is a straight up consumer product, one that could have been funded by regular angel investing or other means.

      Looking at the whole project is a difficult standard when you are not the one choosing. I totally understand the quirky niche project appeal. I fully support offering a way to fund the unfundable because it adds other value to society. But I think the negative feedback is driving at something different. There are many projects that get approved that are NOT granting a social experience or special interaction level that you mention.

      Why the limited exceptions?

    • Jamal says:

      Ted, I think you’re wrong.

      You don’t know what creative projects were turned down by Kickstarter. I know from people first hand and in many cases, I can’t believe they were turned down. Awesome ideas and concept.

      I think what Kickstarter wants (without admitting it) are people who are far off into their projects with large audiences.

      The underdogs with passion and heart have a hard time proposing to Kickstarter.

      It’s funny you poke fun at the restaurant thing as not being so creative, yet I’ve seen that so many times on kickstarter actually! Several times in past 3 months actually.

      “If you didn’t get approved why not try again thinking about the actual project and how you will interact with the backers as a creative endeavor rather than just what you want to do.”

      I think Kickstarter should take this advice as well. Maybe if they didn’t pre-judge everything so fast and actually engaged in a conversation with people they turned down they’d get to the bottom of an amazing project.

      Everyone I know that was turned down receives the same copy and paste email saying the exact same thing . That’s pretty unprofessional coming from a place that thrives on creativity and social interaction for their audiences, and especially since they boast having only 14 people work there.

      It doesn’t give you the feeling that your project was even looked at or reviewed. You think they’d interact a little more, but they don’t.

      I think they need to work harder at reviewing these projects and opening a dialogue. There should be an appeal process. More discourse. At least, more clarity.

      Seems to me they’re in this popularity mode and don’t feel accountable for the way they treat the user base. That could easily backfire on them when someone comes along and figures out a better way to interact with the project creators.

      I wanted to love Kickstarter but was really disappointed about some let downs I heard of.

  9. Jim Lipsey says:

    I want to clarify only one point regarding “investing” and “pledging”. I am pretty sure that the SEC (Security and Exchange Commission) has pretty tight control over what can be invested in for stock or part ownerships. Companies can only ask for pledges and then distribute product as rewards for pledging. Any offer for stock or part ownerships would fall under SEC rules and regulations and all investors would then have to be “qualified investors”, which means something like a minimum annual income of $250,000 and over $1M in assets. Only friends and family can invest outside of SEC control, and then there is still some level that they can invest in the company. This was set in place to protect novices (like me) from being promised the world only to be scammed by companies that fail (either on purpose or other reasons). My two cents (that’s all I’ve got).

    • mapager says:

      Giving gift’s is how they get around this requirement.

      The issue is not with the “investment” aspect but rather how the site represents itself in terms of the projects it takes.

      No one here is expecting to give money and recieve a profit in exchange, rather if they are taking a for profit company but claim to only be taking “creative” ventures that are not aimed at making a profit there is a problem.

  10. Emma says:

    I stumbled across this blog when researching how to rewrite my submission to Kickstarter.

    I’m currently working with a band to help fund the pressing of their latest album, and we were proposing a “project” to help pay for it and to also pay for a van and trailer so they can tour.

    When I went to submit the initial proposal, I reread the guidelines. This is what they said:

    “No business funding, projects only. If your project hopes to make money, that’s perfectly fine! Rather, we’re underlining that we only allow projects. A project is something finite, with a clear beginning and end. Someone can be held accountable to the framework of a project—a project was either completed or it wasn’t—and there are definable expectations that everyone can agree to. Examples are making a film versus starting a film studio, or designing a new piece of apparel versus starting a fashion label.”

    “Oops,” I thought to myself, so I changed the proposal to helping fund the release of the album only…leaving out the van and trailer part, lest they think we were just trying to fund our business.

    I had emailed Kickstarter with a question a few weeks earlier and never got a response, so I was thinking it would take a while for the submission to get back to us.

    But we did get a response the next day saying:

    “Hi there,

    Thank you for taking the time to share your idea. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right fit for Kickstarter. We receive many project proposals daily and review them all with great care and appreciation. We see a wide variety of inspiring ideas, and while we value each one’s uniqueness and creativity, Kickstarter is not the right platform for all of them. We wish you the best of luck as you continue to pursue your endeavor.”

    I know for a fact that a band that’s close friends of ours recently submitted the same type of project and they were approved for it.

    And like many of people who commented before, I understand that they are going to reject people, I get it. But I would love to know why.

    “In theory people would only donate money to things they wanted to see.”

    I totally agree to this. The bad projects will weed themselves out.

    And I would love to see Kickstarter make some guidelines and not just write: “Examples are making a film versus starting a film studio, or designing a new piece of apparel versus starting a fashion label.”

    This is just too vague.

    We are looking at resubmitting, but it’s a little discouraging. I’m glad to see this blog and know that we are not alone.

    I think it might be best to cut our losses and just try another site to raise funds.

    P.S. I also 100% agree on if Kickstarter is not “for profit” why do they charge a 5% fee?

    Thanks for writing this!

    • mapager says:

      You are not alone.

      This happens all the time and is my main problem with the site and writing this article. Clearly there is something going on behind the scenes that is arbitrary and unfair.

      The only way we can change this is to make it well known and that is what I hope this blog will do.

      Spread the word

      Hopefully it makes a difference

    • Jim Lipsey says:

      We received the same “off the shelve” response from Kickstarters a few weeks ago. We knew that my submission was going to be a tough one to get through. I found http://www.Peerbackers.com and submitted our project to them, which they have already approved and we’re now up on that. Check us out… http://peerbackers.com/projects/reinvent-america-real-people-real-ideas-real-results

      Peerbackers makes sure that you understand that they provide a way for you to contact all your friends and family to see if they are willing to support your project and then tell their friends. It’s a startup itself, so it doesn’t have the draw yet as does Kickstarters, however, they were just in January’s edition of Entrepreneur Magazine, so maybe they’ll get more attention and grow. Plus, we’re about to get in touch with our over 2,000 contacts which will hopefully drive more traffic to their site.

      • Sally Outlaw says:

        Just saw your comment Jim – thanks for mentioning http://peerbackers.com as an alternative to kickstarter. We are happy to have anyone here submit to our crowdfunding site where we are all about supporting business ventures, ideas and entrepreneurs. We do not invite folks to post based on judging the viability of their idea – our criteria is simply to ensure the submitter fully understands what is involved with running a successful crowdfunding campaign and is prepared to launch and sustain it. Anyway – good luck to all you folks trying to get crowdfunded, it’s a great financing route and we are happy to help!!

    • rahrah says:

      I find this particular post very interesting… I have a friend who just did a successful Kickstarter campaign for the purpose of purchasing a biofuel tour bus for his band. *scratching head*

      • J J says:

        rahrah, you are not the only one scratching your head here.

        Large majority of the postings here have been saying that they do not see any reason why Kickstarter should have declined their application when the application meets the written Kickstarter rules and they accept other applications that are in some sense similar.

        Kickstarter is just being run in an arbitrary, unprofessional way. Thats all.

  11. Adam says:

    II SOOOO agree with you, my friend and i are trying to get this site up and running, you should post everything on his site, and let others know to post on his site, check it out and you will understand what i mean

  12. Ariel says:

    instead of arguing about kickstarter why not make our own pledge system… instead of having 1 person reading over the projects and deciding for themselves if they think its a good project or creative project why not make our own pledge system have a project board(board as in a team of members) to approve projects! Kickstarter gets a 5% kut off of all the pledged money for example if you get $5000 kickstarter gets $250 out of your $5000 pledged money…why not if by starting our own pledge system we lower that percentage and that earned percantage money we invest it in projects with in our pledge syster….in other words we are taking less money from pledged money than kickstarter but we are investing that money into projects posted on our own pledge system!!! i dont know if i made any sense but this seems like a good idea…i would submit it to kickstarters but i dont think they would want some competition and call me uncreative!!! hahaha tell me what do you guys think!!

    • mapager says:

      I think its a good idea but might be too close to Kickstarter to be a viable business. I’m interested though. Email me and we can maybe work on it together.

      • Ariel says:

        well any pledge system will be too close to kickstarter!

        the only difference on the pledge system im talking about is the investment into projects… following up on posted projects isnt bad either… it could also work as a testimonial to our pledge system!

        other than that kickstarter is more into revenue wich i would assume isnt bad since you have to pay for staff and servers and all that good stuff but taking a 5% cut from pledged money is really bad i completely disagree on that! but like i said we can also take a cut from pledge money but invest it into projects so like taht we keep a cycle… people at times wont pledge if no one has they might think its a lost cause since no one has pledged so by seeing us the company behind our product investing in projects it would make people thing its a worthy cause!

        bare in mind this is all coming to me…!!

  13. Ariel says:

    woops sorry i forgot the spell check … system*

  14. Ariel says:

    i dont know how to get your email…im sorry! if you can email me that would be great! agaxiola16@gmail.com

  15. Farrell says:

    I too am searching for an answer why my project was turned down.

    Who are the Kickstarter proposal examiners anyway – surely its the backers that ultimately decide whether to fund a project or not. the whole scheme seems to be based upon the fear of having too many projects that fail to meet their budget pledge requirement.

    In the beginning I was all fired up about this site but when I too received the boiler plate “NO” reply letter within days of submitting my proposal I realized there is something awry with this process.

    I am an inventor and only make a living by coming up with radical technology devices that the world needs. If I don’t continuously create or people don’t want what I make – I go hungry!
    If this is not creative work then I think the adjudicators need to go back to elementary school!

    I don’t raise funds for creative projects that would take me to an underdeveloped nation and bring their story to the western world – I do however take my inventions to all people to make their lives better in a sustainable and environmentally sound way.

    I would gladly support the establishment of an independent ‘crowd-funding’ site that in fact re-invested some of its fees as nominated awards to projects that meet responsible community building and sustainability criteria.

    Any like minded people out there who want to do this – lets do it!

    • Ariel says:

      I like your way of thinking farrell… you can be vital team member and you seem like a good person, you help us out on our idea of creating a pledge system that isnt only led by a group of people but it is led by people who are just like every other person submitting to our pledge system!

      do you have skype!?!?

      if so anyone interested please do add me… my username on skype is vanity.land

      i have many ideas to contribute… but im with no internet at the moment so im limited with communication but when i can i email and skype in times when i can get my hands on wifi!

      i would like to ask to all who want to participate in our project…what can you offer to the project?

      i have the skills of web desing and web development…i can work on the front and back end of the site or our pledge system… among other qualities

      with that i would like to have a conference call on skype and we can all take notes and talk about ideas and how we can get things going!!

      if you dont already i do suggest to get skype it is a great communication tool!

  16. Jim Lipsey says:

    Hi Farrell and Ariel! I’ve written a couple of times above and mentioned about http://www.Peerbackers.com where we have been accepted and now looking for people to pledge. ReInvent America is all about helping inventors and people who have ideas but don’t know what to do, or just wants to connect with other inventors or people with ideas. There is no “real” national group and so we’re working on this process. Our first project (on Peerbackers) is an E-Book Guide that will help people with an idea from Concept to Market. We’re NOT one of those marketing companies that keeps on charging more and more, but rather a network of Subject Matter Experts and we’re trying to build a social network for inventors and others.

    We’re also developing software for inventors to help them file their own patents. I’ve got over 30 years experience in the patent industry and joined with ReInvent America because of their goals to help inventors. I originally built the software for patent attorneys but now will have to re-write it for inexperienced inventors and we’re putting it on the web.

    These two initial projects are just the start and so reading your comments Farrell and Ariel, it is people like you who we are looking for. Peerbackers will most likely accept your concepts and we’ve already talked to Sally (one of the founders) about working together in the future as our clients would greatly benefit from their website.

    You can contact me at JLipsey@ReInventAmerica.us or JBLipsey@GMail.com to talk more about this, but I wouldn’t try to “reinvent the wheel” with designing another competitor of Kickstarters as I believe that Peerbackers is already out there.

    On another note, we also believe in ReInvesting as well. ReInvent America will be giving 10% back to the members of our organization similar to what you mentioned in your comment Farrell. We’ll be encouraging every member to “pay it forward” as well and we’ll lead by example. Right now we’re calling it the ReInvest Project and will eventually have stories from successful inventors and how their giving back. Our giving back will be based not on our decisions as to who to give back to, but by the other members as to who they feel deserves the help.

    We’ve got a lot of things we want to do, but we have to start somewhere. Together the founders have over 70 years of experience helping inventors, and for over a year now we’ve been working on how to start helping thousands at a time rather than one or two at a time. So we need your help! Please go to our website (www.ReInventAmerica.us) and from there you can link to our Peerbackers page. Please pledge if you can and become one of our unofficial members. Even if it’s only for $10 we’ll get your information and be able to build our system. But if you want to get our products at a greatly reduced amount, you can pledge $45 or more to get our products as well as a reward.

    But most of all, tell everyone you know about us and what we’re trying to do. We need to get the word out, so help us help others.

    Check out Peerbackers and I’ll bet that they’ll accept you. We need to drive more traffic to their site!

  17. Chris says:

    I understand the fuss. Kickstarter is known for being exclusive. They don’t provide funders. They accept both for-profit and non-profit ideas. And they take a 5% cut of a successfully funded project. But all of these things are normal for any fundraising enterprise. The true innovation and benefit of Kickstarter is the pledge system. A pledge is a promise to pay money. But why would someone pledge instead of just giving money? It’s not usually because they don’t have the money at the time.

    In the early stages of any venture, funders want to see where the project is going. They want to see who else is giving and if the project is viable. If it’s not, they wriggle from their obligation and don’t return your emails. This is the problem many fundraisers have. Kickstarter removes this issue. Pledges automatically become funding when the goal is meant. This is actually a pretty big deal.

    I’ve been a fundraiser for 5 years, raising money for everything from tree care to the arts. I think Kickstarter is a brilliant plantform for certain types of projects (no, I’ve never applied, but I know many people who have successfully started projects through the site). As far as their elitistism, it’s their site. They have that luxury. It seems like they’re trying to keep the number of projects down to a manageable minimum.

    I don’t think it’s actually a bad thing to provide your own donors. Raising capital is difficult. It would be great if it were as simple as funneling rich people to your project. And believe it or not, some people actually do surf the site to pledge for projects of people they don’t know. In our business-centered culture, it’s natural to ponder over projects that don’t incentivize with investment opportunities. It’s odd to fund other people’s ideas with just “goodies” in return. Microfunding is one of the best alternatives to the old fashioned grant-based funding, or pandering to the interests of the wealthy (if you thought Kickstarter has a narrow focus, you should talk to some of these funders).

    Anyway, all this is to say I think it’s great that this is prompting more people to start similar sites, just make sure you retain the pledge-gathering element. Good luck to all of you.

  18. Ariel says:

    Hey Jim,

    Actually re-inventing the wheel is not a so bad idea…why did peerbackers get even created if kickstarter was already there! the one thing that i hope to change aside from just being a plain pledge system like peerbackers or kickstarter is getting people involved and making it more of a social experience rather than just pledge/fund a project… and thats it…

    ive checked peerbackers and some of there pages are either blank or under construction and that just tells me that they are in what we tech guys call “BETA” stage! Dont get me wrong they have a great site and alot of potential…but i have greater ideas that neither one of these crowdfunding sites will ever want to even think of doing!

    re-inventing the wheel from stone to wood to rubber wasnt a bad idea but they all function the same some better than others! thats what we are trying to do here…we all know that by creating our own pledge system is the same as making another wana be kickstarter but why not make it BETTER than kickstarter or offer something better or bigger than what peerbackers is offering! long story short we are not trying to reinvent kickstarter or peerbackers…just trying to make a pledge system better than theres that involves the community it serves!

    • Sally Outlaw says:

      Hi Ariel: Just wanted you to know that peerbackers.com has a generous streak and is already doing – or planning to do – some of the things you are discussing above. We give a % of our 5% back to projects on our site (sometimes using the $ as a matching challenge to help our entrepreneurs get even more backers) and to organizations we work with (like entrepreneur group, schools, etc) to use towards student scholarships, business grants, and such. What we also love is that many of the entrepreneurs posting on our site actually back OTHER entrepreneurs on our site for encouragement before they are even fully funded themselves…I just like seeing the support everybody offers each other! We are excited to be part of the crowdfunding community!

  19. Jim Lipsey says:

    Hi Ariel,
    I understand what you’re saying about re-inventing the wheel. Innovation is what drives our economy so you’re right. I guess what I’m saying is that to establish what you’re talking about takes time and it’s best to build it up as the need(s) dictate and actually drive the next step. I’ve learned from several people who’ve been there, done that, that you should start with the most basic need and get it started, even if all the features or options aren’t available (much like Peerbackers right now). Their clients will dictate or drive which way the “machine” should go. Of course you plan the future but leave room for change and listen to your clients and they will tell you.

    I do believe, 100% of what you’re saying about what do you do after the pledge is provided! None of the web-based software provides anything else after the pledge. This is where real help and guidance is needed.

    ReInvent America (RIA) provides help before pledges are needed by providing guidance and software for protection. Then provide options that are available from which to choose from based on the client’s individual needs and they decide which is best for them based on knowledge. We will provide Mentors who’ve been there and want to pay it forward to help others. We will have a system such as Peerbackers that will not be discriminatory like kickstarters. We also plan to help with licensing options through our SME (Subject Matter Experts) list. These SME’s will be rated by the RIA members. We also have a lot of other things that we are working towards, but we cannot do all at the beginning. So we start with the basics and surround ourselves with people who are smarter than us in the areas outside of our individual experience so we will grow over time. Our clients will tell us where to go based on their needs and instead of us deciding what we feel is best for them, they will dictate to us what is the next step to “invest” in.

  20. Nick says:

    I have the best proof that this site is a scam!

    I was actually “successful” at first glance… I raised 21k and at the end of 2 months, I lost 20k because kickstarter didn’t bother to secure any of the funds nor did they even check to see if these backer’s cards would go through at any point. It was very devastating. For two months I was told I was a “Success!” So I poured my heart into promotion, interviews, magazines. I started getting quotes for production, getting things moving and really, unknowingly, setting my self up for a huge devistating disaster…

    Consider yourself lucky if you didn’t get approved. The site is a scam. They could only clear a little over 1k from my backers, and although my campaign goal was 10k or higher, it didn’t stop them from taking their fees out of what little they did get. So now I have angry and confused backers, no money to produce the rewards I promised, and not enough money to pay everyone back! My and my company’s reputation has been soiled and I won’t be able to run another campaign now on my own to raise money.

    Truly an incompetent and unprofessional site.

  21. Denise says:

    I am really happy that I have read this blog. I was very excited at this concept but now that I have read everyone’s experience – I will stay away.


  22. Lee says:

    Another thing about Kickstarter which is really annoying is this:

    If you don’t have your own audience, fans a big email list, FORGET IT!

    They do nothing to promote you. Your project will just sit there and collect dust if you don’t go out and get pledgers yourself one by one, manually.

    People might think there’s nothing wrong with that, but let me tell you its HARD.

    And for this who think Kickstarter shouldn’t do that for you, I want to ask you a question:

    If you have to do all the sales & marketing work for your project so what is the purpose or value of the Kickstarter website to this world?? To give you a way to collect money? You can do that with Amazon payments or Paypal yourself for free and plus without giving away a cut either.

    I mean you go to sites like kickstarter because you DON’T have an audience. You want to build one.

    I wish there was a site that helps you actually BUILD an audience around your project.

    • Ben says:

      I too received the standard rejection letter from kickstarter.

      I was very excited to discover the site at first. A friends project has been accepted and it currently today 600% over the target! It will be interesting to see if they have the same issues with the pledge conversion I’ve read on this blog.

      My project is http://www.brakeboard.com. I’m currently generation my own pledges or registered pre-orders. I’m generating all my orders through Youtube promoted videos. It’s cheap and works very well! I don’t have the escro advantage but the pre-orders help me trying to get investors the standard way.

      It looks like I may have been lucky to have been rejected by kickstarter.

  23. Mr. X says:

    Just because you pass through the initial approval process does not mean you are free and clear. My project is currently overfunded (large amount) and has been up for a long time and they (now) may pull my project because it doesn’t (now) fit with their “rules.” I will have a riot at my doorsteps if they pull it.

    We are using Kickstarter as a platform to raise funds for our project and we knew, just from looking at other projects backers, that we would have to find backers outside of the Kickstarter community (they’re out there, just most, not all, of them are vain hipsters that only back hippy projects). If you do go the Kickstarter route, make sure to have your marketing/networks already in place and ready to support you… you will not raise the your funds by launching and then waiting around until your deadline. Like anything of value, it takes hard work to get it (and planning).

  24. fotosonics says:

    Step 3 after project acceptance: Verify your bank account with Amazon

    Kickstarter.com requires applicants to verify their bank account information with amazon.com

    To verify a personal checking account, Amazon requires a driver’s license. I don’t have a driver’s license, but I have a passport — but unfortunately, Amazon does not accept a passport number as proof of identity. Amazing.

    To verify a corporate account, Amazon requires a fax of the last statement.

    Since I just opened a business account, there is no statement. Additionally, I requested that my bank (Bank of America) issue paperless (electronic) statements. Plus, I do not own a fax machine.

    Amazon finally sent this to me:

    “Greetings from Amazon Payments,

    If you are unable to send the fax, please ask your bank to contact us so we may verify your bank account information.

    The bank can contact us via the fax number 1-206-266-1838 The fax should include the name and fax number of a specific representative with whom we can correspond if necessary.

    Also please ask them to ensure that the fax includes the email address associated with your account. So that your request is processed in a timely manner.

    Please don’t hesitate to contact us should you have any questions and thank you for your interest in Amazon Payments.


    Account Specialist
    Amazon Payments

    However, my bank has turned down this request! They cannot share information via fax about a client’s account!

    This is horrible treatment by all three companies!

  25. Sally Outlaw says:

    @fotosonics. Let me know if we can help in any way. Our crowdfunding site http://peerbackers.com does not have the requirements Amazon does so you will not run into the difficulties you are currently facing. Either way – good luck with your venture! – Sally Outlaw

  26. Lucy B says:

    Those who make CDs simply for the ‘creative’ reason, and don’t intend to make money, should NEVER put them up for sale. You’re diluting the business for real artists.

  27. Bobby says:

    9 other crowdfunding websites for those who prefer not to use kickstarter.


  28. CP says:

    Hi guys. Great thread, but I thing you’re missing some points. First off, why taking sooooo much trouble with kickstarter? There are lots of other services around that will be happy to accommodate your pitches (invested.in and rockethub.com are two great examples, however, to my opinion, the best of all is indiegogo.com from the day it was born). Secondly, don’t waist time with the platform selection, just forget it: if you have the next groupon in mind, who cares where you post it? Third, visibility: Yes, you have the next groupon and want to access the hundred thousands of kickstarter, insteaf of the few thousands of invested.in. Wrong. It’s not how crowdfunding works: unless you have a great pitch AND put incredible effort promoting it through your own circles first AND there is a whow factor to make it viral, there is no visibility, no matter if it’s on kickstarter or the next-door blogger’s page. And last but not least, many things in kickstarter just don’t make sense. Let me tell you another that you Americans would not have notices: IT PAYS ONLY AMERICAN BANK ACCOUNT OWNERS (actually, that’s an Amazon PS restriction, but anyway, hadn’t they heard of paypal?!!!). So, why make a selection over pitches when you hit the hundred thousands in unique visits, and why be open to one single country when you’re the market leader, globally? Didn’t I tell you? It just does not make sense…

    All the best

    PS.1 If you are asking, it is almost impossible for a foreigner to own an American Bank Account, due to Bush’s Patriot Act. PS.2 Yes, as a friend said before, US Code 77 and SEC Rules make it impossible, to the day, for crowdfunding businesses to give out equity for contributions.

  29. Rick says:

    It seems the biggest grudge that people have about Kickstarter is that it is “unfair” in its selection of projects.

    I don’t know how many of you are actually over 25, but selection in life generally isn’t fair. Have you ever interviewed for a job? If your brother knows the hiring manager you’ll get the job. If some hottie with a tight skirt interviews, she’ll probably get it instead. Not really fair either way, but that is the norm.

    All bitter because someone at a successful website doesn’t like your idea? And they won’t give you free money? Yeah, that may not be fair either.

    But If you REAALLY want to see “unfair,” check out how rich you are compared to 99% of the world at http://www.globalrichlist.com.

    Then stop your whinning like a spoiled brat and shut up. Or go pitch another project. Or go fund it your self. Or make your own funding site that would be better. Or get another job so you don’t need funding.

    Bottom line: Life ain’t fair. Complaining doesn’t help. Action does.

    • mapager says:

      Life is certainly unfair in the way you are using the term. Good people get things they don’t deserve, like cancer. Sometimes the reff makes a bad call. And people with a lot of talent and great ideas end up being unsuccessful.

      The argument that kickstarter is “unfair” is not using the word in the same way. The issue here is not one that upsets the general balance of life which, as you point out rightfully, is skewed to begin with. Rather, it is unfairness in kickstarter’s process, namely that they say one thing and do another, that people are complaining about.

      This type of unfairness is something our society does not tolerate. In the U.S. we make it illegal for companies to use deceptive and unfair business/trade practices. In fact we have a whole government agency, the FTC, put in place to investigate and enforce exactly this situation – where businesses say one thing and do another.

      I reject the idea that because life may be unfair in many ways that cannot be controlled (such as where you were born, who your parents are, how much money you inherit, how intelligent you are, etc) that all types of unfairness is tolerated. In situations where it is possible to regulate or enforce fair play we generally try to do so. That’s why we have referees in the first place, even if they sometimes make the wrong call.

    • Hi Rick,
      My husband and I are actually filming a documentary about the economy, and what’s really going on, and your argument about what’s unfair is exactly what we’re discussing. We would LOVE to interview you. If you’re interested, email me at HellstarProductions@gmail.com. We’d love to hear more…
      Thanks a bunch!

      BTW, Kickstarter denied us as well… and we have a bunch of famous people already signed on. not sure why we’re not the right fit, but does anyone really know?

  30. Eric Striffler says:

    I’m 20 years old. I’ve been using Kickstarter for 2 years. I’ve backed 25 projects (as of today) and I’m currently running my own project. Every single day I’m doing live shows on BlogTV.com, just like telethons, to raise the funds. I’m also walking around and putting flyers on mailboxes, as well as handing them out in front of stores and whatnot.

    Basically my two points are;
    1. I back a lot of Kickstarter projects and I don’t know any of the project creators. It’s almost too easy to browse the site and find a project, so if your project is “collecting dust” then it’s possible that people have seen it and nobody is interested in funding it. I’ve had friends start projects, meet their goal, get the money, and make their projects happen numerous times over the last 2 years and never heard a peep of complaint.
    2. I’m spending all of my spare time working hard to raise this money, but a lot of you seem to think you shouldn’t have to work at all and once you post the project they should do the work for you. They DO promote random, interesting projects every day, and I know that because they promoted my project as “New & Noteworthy” and I don’t know a single person who works there, nor have they contacted me.

    Before starting my project, I was aware that Amazon and Kickstarter take a percentage. It says it plain and clear, so if you get “scammed” by that then you’ve learned a good life lesson to pay more attention. The only flaw that I find with the site is that you can lower or cancel a pledge, which I wasn’t aware of until starting my project because I never even attempted to do so myself while pledging to fund a project. Other than that I think it’s a pretty cool site.

    If you don’t like Kickstarter, don’t use it. I don’t even want to know how old all of you are that have spent so much time discussing something you DISLIKE. Why not find something you DO like and discuss that?

    • mapager says:

      That’s great that you’ve had a lot of success. Don’t get me wrong, I think kickstarter is a good idea. I like what it does for some in the community. I just dislike, as do others, the process it uses. But you are right, it is not an all inclusive solution. I ended up funding my projects in other ways. Fundraising is hard work.

  31. BGW Fischer says:

    FUCK KICKSTARTER. Who are these people in a position to judge?? Are they fucking kidding me? We already have funding from Stanford and Goldsmiths University in London. They have no idea.

  32. Doug says:

    A great big Neener, Neener, Neener to most of you.. I just got ACCEPTED!! HA! but now after reading all these posts.. I’m not sure I want to proceed. I definitely DON’T have “fans” or a network of people to ask to donate. That’s why I applied to KS!!
    I know you want to know what project of mine got accepted… I am going to take my own feces and put a little bit into bags and call the product, “Sack of Shit” as a gag gift! get it?!
    (just kidding)
    I’m trying to finish a 16 song recording project of fantastic, ear candy gems! I write fun, upbeat, quirky, energetic, poignant, profound songs! There really is no one else like me.. conceited as that sounds.. but it’s true.
    It’s like if you combined the Police, the B-52’s and the Talking Heads. Anyway.. that was my “sales pitch”.
    My band is called Naked In Public. you can see one finished song/video from the project… on youtube do a search: naked in public doug

  33. Anonymous says:

    I wish more kickstarters would contribute to the commons.

    If you’re begging for money to cover time and costs, why not let us be your employer or donor and then you provide your work for everyone. If we’re so interested we should be selfless enough to let others enjoy some of the freely copyable, IP, aspects of your work.

    E.g. you make a painting? Let us copy hi-res pictures of it with a liberal Creative Commons License

    E.g., a video game? Make the code opensource and the assets available under Creative-Commons-By-Share-Alike. With share-alike no one will be able to truly commercially exploit it without approaching you and you don’t restrict its dissemination on webpages with advertising.

    Please kickstarter, promote CULTURE. Not proprietaryness.

  34. Solid says:

    I proposed one project and got accepted within two days of submission, something came up and I couldn’t post the project up for funding. I was informed I can only have one proposal at a time and I don’t want to lose the “green light” to pursue it so I started a second account to propose my other idea.

    It too was accepted faster than the other one and I am now crafting my project. I began to think kickstarters was accepting everyone and everything so I started searching and it turns out I am just one of the ‘lucky’ ones.

    Oh and I don’t have a large following and both projects are in the early stages

    btw I crafted my proposal slightly different than how am crafting the project to be funded as they are different audiences. To kickstarter I mentioned what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, why it was different, what I brought to the table and emphasizing the features. The way you would pitch it to a investor because they are giving you a platform.

    to the backers I am emphasizing the benefits of my project, how its going to help them, I am selling to them my product so I am focused on what IT can do for THEM or how I would pitch it to a consumer.

    I am still doing the same thing that I told kickstarter I was going to do, I am not doing a bait and switch I am just emphasizing different aspects of my project to each crowd, that is all.

    • J J says:

      “To kickstarter I mentioned what I wanted to do, why I wanted to do it, why it was different, what I brought to the table and emphasizing the features. The way you would pitch it to a investor because they are giving you a platform. ”

      Actually telling them all those things you are mentioning is very difficult because their description field has a maximum word length of 750 words.

      I do not blame people feeling that that site is a scam because of how they operate it. They say one thing but then do something completely different, such as for example accept some sunglasses with camera (“ZionEyes”) from a company that says that they have professionals ready to start building it. What happened to the rule (stated on kickstarter website) that it should be something you build yourself?

  35. Tom Chaney says:

    I as well got turned down on my project. The canned rejection. When I pressed for more details as to why, they said it was not far along enough.

  36. raabid says:

    BGW Fischer says:
    April 27, 2011 at 2:21 am
    FUCK KICKSTARTER. Who are these people in a position to judge?? Are they fucking kidding me? We already have funding from Stanford and Goldsmiths University in London. They have no idea.

    Wow! I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t want to work with your level of intellect.

  37. LF says:

    there is an amazing amount of whining – as has been said IF you don’t like kickstarter move on – or start your own org.

  38. Pingback: Why Kickstarter Is A Scam (via The Echo Chamber) « The Reputation Economy

  39. mom says:

    My daughter has just finished her kickstarter. She spent the past year, in between high school and college, living in a recording studio house, recording her first album. She has done all but mixed and mastered it and needed to raise money to do the packaging and finalization process for the album. She sent it in one day, and received approval by the next day for her project. So far so good. Hopefully she will continue to have success with it, she and her band have worked very hard to make it a successWe will let you know what happens from here on…

  40. Tony says:

    When I first saw kickstarter I thought it pretty cool but didn’t even consider putting my project on there at the time. Then, a few weeks later I thought, ‘Why not?’. However, before even listing mines, I carefully studied for a week or so about all the SUCCESSFUL projects there first (to make sure that my project fit in and wouldn’t be rejected).

    Low and behold, my project was rejected. I was really shocked because, maybe I’m biased, but i saw my project as being just as ‘creative’ and ‘inventive’ (or even more-so) as a heck of a lot of ‘successful’ and other projects listed there.

    What did I learn from this kickstarter ‘rejection’ experience? I learned that they are totally biased and, even if your project does fit into their listed criteria guidelines – they can just reject it for no reason simply because they want to or they just weren’t ‘feeling it’ on that particular day.

    Oh well, live and learn I guess.

  41. susan says:

    I too was just rejected from Kickstarter and received a standard reply. I asked for constructive feedback and what there appeals process is and did not hear back. After researching many crowdfunding sources, I still believe Kickstarter is the best one for my particular project.

    Has anyone ever resubmitted their same project, making minor changes like tweaking the 750 word pitch, the rewards and $ amount? Maybe there are different people reviewing these projects so you’ll get a different answer?

    • peerbackers says:

      @Susan. Sorry you were rejected by kickstarter. We’d be happy to help you on our crowdfunding site http://peerbackers.com if you are still looking for a home for your project. All the best.

    • J J says:

      Sorry I do not have an answer to that question.

      But after reviewing these sites, I think there is a minimal difference between the many sites as the site itself does not actively promote your project. You will have to promote it yourself anyway, regardless of which site you choose.

      So since the site is not much more than a latent advertizing page for your project, it does not look like it would matter which one of them you post it at.

  42. susan says:

    Thanks so much for your comments. In looking at their followers on twitter and facebook, as well as their membership, their community is so much larger than the competitors.

    I’m clearly not over it and think I’ll try one more time. What do I have to lose? I will post on this site if I hear back from Kickstarter.

  43. Octopusgrove says:

    Wow. I thought I was totally alone in having a problem with this site.

    I was told that my installation gallery/community art project (which would eventually contain a shop to keep the lights on but primarily exist as an interactive space that was connected to people around the world through the internet – very complicated proposal, really, but far from “funding a business”) was “not a creative project”. They told me I did not offer any “clear rewards” when I had a page-by-page breakdown of excellent, fun rewards for donors. Further I was told they did not host proposals/campaigns for people attempting to “generate general business funds” (again: this is NOT what I was asking for in my proposal)… only to see an article on the Handmade Success blog about a woman who funded her artsy start-up boot business through KS. Really? Really.

    Mind you, I’m turned off by most of the alternatives to KS, most of which seem to skim 10% or more off your “donations” while being unknown (KS has all the publicity, if you don’t get accepted by them apparently your project is screwed unless you already have a giant team of supportive, independently well-off friends and family; in that case why not just have a donation jar on your desk at work and not lose the ten percent?)

    Vastly discouraging.

  44. peerbackers says:

    @Octopusgrove – Sorry your project got turned down by KS as well. Do know that across the board on crowdfunding sites (including kickstarter) the successful project ratio averages 45% percent or less, as depsite the amount of users or publicity, success TRULY depends on how dedicated & creative the person posting is in promoting their fundraising campaign. On average about 15% of those who back a project are “strangers” and they only come in once a project has a good amount of funding (rare exception would be if it is a highly coveted technology item or similar that folks want as a reward). I say this to encourage you to post elsewhere (our site – http://peerbackers.com or other) if you are prepared to work the promotional aspect of your campaign as this is the true determining factor for success more than what site it is posted on. Good luck with your endeavor either way!

  45. susan says:

    Okay…this morning I resubmitted my project with different (more clever) wording, a decreased pledge amount and revised rewards. I already received my no reply, which was exactly the same, standard reply I got last time.

    Kickstarter Staff commented on your Kickstarter submission:

    Hi Susan

    Thank you for taking the time to share your idea. Unfortunately, this isn’t the right fit for Kickstarter. We receive many project proposals daily and review them all with great care and appreciation. We see a wide variety of inspiring ideas, and while we value each one’s uniqueness and creativity, Kickstarter is not the right platform for all of them. We wish you the best of luck as you continue to pursue your endeavor.

    Moving on…

  46. mapager says:

    I must say, I never thought this many people would have the same negative experience I did when I wrote this post. Sucks to see Kickstarter is still keeping this up. Have they changed anything publicly in terms of their policy? Or still the same secret mumbo jumbo

  47. Well I for one think it’s time to put Kickstarter out of business. I really think the concept is good, but the business practice is bad. They are really limiting their profit potential by turning down so many people with truly good ideas, and letting their “staff” approve or reject projects on a set of rules that really don’t seem to matter. Instead they go with the ones it seems they “like” Check out my page at http://www.kickstartkillet.wordpress.com if you think their practices are unfair, messed up, or you’ve been rejected by KS yourself.

  48. susan says:

    Wow…I want to set the record straight for me. While I was crushed that Kickstarter said no (twice), and I happen to disagree and be baffled about their decision, I still think they are the best crowdfunding site to date for non-film projects.
    The more I learn about IndieGoGo, the better I like it. You can promote a business and it seems more real.

  49. J J says:

    A friend of mine put his project out on invested.in. It seems like a cool site as well, but just like all others he has to still market his project to get funding.

  50. test says:

    your bio or speciality speaks to the rejection. basically you’re into mapping and software. what would you offer, time on a map site. you are correct in pointing out the fallacy of selecting Diaspora that is an obvious technology project. perhaps the application was full of persuasive bullshit, perhaps it was nepotism, perhaps it was early into the ks learning curve. thats doesn’t make ks a scam; it makes it imperfect. :”0.
    go raise money through other channels. software is scalable, products have no hope of it. U are at a strong advantage versus someone trying to raise money for cute flowery gumboots.
    you should look at the yCombinator program for your stuff. perfect in fact. and re-think your deep concern over social media and privacy. How dare you jump quickly to conclusions over injustice and spread deep rumours. Eek, i thought jesuits were better trained.

  51. Boti says:

    I just got a project funded through Kickstarter. I have to say that after being in the art world for almost 20 years, their selection process does not seem particularly arbitrary, unfair, or grueling. I would not use them for every project. I thought this one was appropriate and gave it a shot.

    From the very outset Kickstarter specifies that they will review your project and decide whether to feature it or not. All such panels/review groups/etc. go through a very wide set of variables when considering who to feature. Not every submission that meets every single requirement at every single level is guaranteed to make it. Sometimes people might feel they have “too many documentaries about children” already, or “not enough beer guys,” and each time we apply to any selection process we have to be ready to get rejected. I myself have been accepted at venues I thought were too competitive, and rejected from others that I thought were low hanging fruit, or perfect for me. The best thing to do when sending applications in (and yes, it is an application) is to hit Send, forget about it, and move on. If you get it great; if not keep going with plan B.

    Maybe the sourness comes from the fact that most successful web platforms seem democratic in that we expect a return if we fill in every single field with the appropriate information. It can lead to a feeling of expectation, or entitlement, that as long as we do everything correctly the computer should give us something back when hitting a SUBMIT button. But at the end of the day, there is a human being on the other side of that ethernet connection making decisions and judgement calls. And on occasion they will be flawed. (And yes, more that two correspondences with any one funder/gallery/foundation after a rejection will probably get you banned, or ignored. And yes, I know that KS is not the funder in this case, but they are the arbitror, which is almost the same thing.)

    Most of your projects sound interesting enough, and you should look for a variety of funders. Visiting the Foundation Center is a good start. Some of you probably have good credit; place a bet on yourselves and use it!

    • Chino says:

      If you don’t mind me asking, did you received all your funding from KS? (minus their 5% share, of course?)

      • Zak Forsman says:

        I don’t know about him, but i just raised $38,050 for a feature film. There’s a misunderstanding here that Kickstarter is holding the money. It’s not. All transactions are handled by a third party – Amazon Payments, who processes the credit cards and holds it for up to 14 days (I presume to let any forthcoming chargebacks to occur). Then, you are free to transfer funds from your Amazon Payments account into your bank account. Amazon takes their cut for processing the credit cards (2.9% plus 30¢ for any donation over $10) and also pays Kickstarter their 5% cut from your accrued balance.

        I only had three backers whose credits cards wouldn’t process out of 382. Which only amounted to $265.

  52. jc says:

    Once again, it’s not necessarily the projects themselves that are rejected-it is the rewards or experiences that are being offered. I am in the middle of getting this project going, and I am finding out they are VERY specific about what they will and won’t allow, and how it is worded and offered as a part of your project. You really have to read the guidelines on their site very carefully. They want it to be creative and also fun! They want it to be a unique thing or experience for your sponsors or backers-this also makes them want to donate to your cause. I think it’s a really cool idea, and a way to get some funding that otherwise might be very difficult to get. Plus, I really love that people can find your project that don’t even know anything about you or your company, so you are not limited to your friends and family. For your friends and family, it’s a way to say “here’s a place where you can back my project” instead of just hinting to them or asking them to give you money (awkward). They can just go online and back you, and then get some fun little rewards in return…..and you (hopefully) get your project up and running!

  53. Cass says:

    I started a facebook page called “Kickstarter. I’ll kickstart your face” GET THE WORD OUT

  54. susan says:

    I have to put a plug in for my campaign that I just launched on IndieGoGo for Good News Reuse and the Pi Pan, a reusable pizza box. (We throw away 3 billion cardboard pizza boxes in the USA every year!)

    There are a couple of real benefits over kickstarter 1) I can promote the brand (website, etc.) and not just the project or product and 2) I was able to partner with a company for a cause for some of the perks/rewards. All of this was transparent from the start, no sneaking around.

    I hope that all of you will support my campaign and help build the momentum. This is the hard part! As little as $5 would be much appreciated!!!

    Here is the link: http://www.indiegogo.com/GoodNewsReuse?a=204267&i=addr


    By the way, if anyone decides to launch a campaign, I’ve done lots of research, will be posting tips soon, and am happy to help.

  55. Sally Outlaw says:

    Susan – Best of luck with your campaign! Our crowdfunding site (http://peerbackers.com) works the same way as Indiegogo (ie., you keep what you raise) but we actually help you augment your rewards so you don’t have to go out and find them on your own. Crowdfunding DOES work so no matter what platform you use – give it a try!!

  56. Zak Forsman says:

    I have a little rule when it comes to crowdfunding. Unless someone is a close friend I will not donate to a campaign that isn’t “all or nothing”. That’s why I only browse for projects to donate to on Kickstarter. If someone says they need $10,000 to do something, I don’t want to see them taking my money and trying to half-ass it for $3,000 because that’s all they could raise. With Kickstarter, none of the pledges process until the goal it reached. And it’s a great filter for identifying if you’ve got a project that people want to see come to fruition. If the interest and support isn’t there, it’s time to take a good hard look at what you’re offering.

  57. susan says:

    Thanks Sally! I’m in it now and wish you best the luck with your site.

  58. Dan says:

    Hi there,

    I agree it sucks kickstarter only does “creative” stuff.

    Does anybody know a non-creative versions of this site? After all, the concept itself is not terrible.
    Could you perhaps inlcude alternatives to kickstarter in the blog article?


    Best wishes,

  59. @Dan – Yes, you are welcome to submit to our crowdfunding site – http://peerbackers.com. Not sure what your project is but we will tell you very quickly after you submit if it fits our site – if not, we always give you suggestions of other options!

  60. I am 29 yrs old..i married to the greatest woman ever and i have 3 awesome children…in 2010 i was diagnosed with a incurable spinal disease and i have maybe 8 yrs left before i will be paralized…we have lost almost everything we own because im not able to work…i can barely even walk but our family remains strong because we know God has a reason for everything. I told kickstarter my idea of making different types of clothing and my first idea was do a I got your back line..I thought it was creative since i have a back problem to make i got your back shirts…funny…spiritual…meaningful…whatever but of course they turned me down…they have no idea what impact they would have on my family if they would help us but i have had the hardest time finding support for my ideas…I dont care to be rich but I do care that my kids have clothes to wear and food to eat…i guess I will just keep looking to find someone else that may want to give me a chance

    • Kimc says:

      Your comment is a complaint about not being satisfied with Kickstarter and them not choosing you, but it doesn’t mean they are a scam. And it’s not just you — pretty much everyone’s complaint here is that Kickstarter didn’t do what they wanted, but not that it’s a scam. They choose the projects they choose — that seems to be their privilege — but they don’t seem to be cheating anyone, just disappointing people.

      • Syko says:

        i never said they were a scam but I just was upset at the time that they wouldn’t give me a chance and I sow like 4 other ideas that got excepted that were just like mine but I’m OK with it… doesn’t matter now anyway cause we lost our home…peerbacker.com is giving me a shot but I cant do much on a library computer

      • Bob says:

        Kimc, what do you say about this previous “proof of scam” ? (posted in this thread by Nick):
        Nick says:
        February 22, 2011 at 2:47 am
        ” I have the best proof that this site is a scam!
        I was actually “successful” at first glance… I raised 21k and at the end of 2 months, I lost 20k because kickstarter didn’t bother to secure any of the funds nor did they even check to see if these backer’s cards would go through at any point. It was very devastating. For two months I was told I was a “Success!” So I poured my heart into promotion, interviews, magazines. I started getting quotes for production, getting things moving and really, unknowingly, setting my self up for a huge devistating disaster…
        Consider yourself lucky if you didn’t get approved. The site is a scam. They could only clear a little over 1k from my backers, and although my campaign goal was 10k or higher, it didn’t stop them from taking their fees [5 % standard] out of what little they did get. So now I have angry and confused backers, no money to produce the rewards I promised, and not enough money to pay everyone back! My and my company’s reputation has been soiled and I won’t be able to run another campaign now on my own to raise money.”

      • Kimc says:

        Bob — Well, that is certainly a different complaint. I don’t know what Kickstarter promised about collecting from people, but I would say that from that story I would take the lesson not to count on the money until you see it in your account.
        I’d also have to say it’s really a shame that people would promise money and then not deliver, but a lot of people have been losing their jobs and homes and pensions lately, and maybe that has something to do with not following through when you said you would.

  61. Pingback: Kickstarter Hate « Fatherhood

  62. Ellen Day says:

    Kickstarter is a total waste of time. I submitted my project three times and “Nicole” kept writing back “I don’t understand your project and you have to be concise from start to finish”. It’s a typical robo-response that tells me they aren’t interested. Maybe I’m not some punk trying to promote offensive trash. Total scam.

  63. seo says:

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  64. Mercedes says:

    I just came across this website today and I know I’m way late with a response but in case anyone stumbled on this site again, I just wanted to say a few things. Some people are claiming Kickstarter is a scam simply because their project was not picked, for the record that doesn’t exactly mean that they are a scam because you aren’t losing anything. They haven’t caused any damage to your, nor have they taken money from you, or made a profit off of you.

    Next, something I hear a lot is “they are scammers who take 5% of your cut when it’s you whose bringing your own backers.” Kickstarter offers a website that allows people to get funding from other peers. If you were to do your own advertising and you reached out to people you didn’t know (on your own) and linked a paypal account and said “Please donate money for (whatever your project is)” Ask yourself, are you going to donate to some random person that you’ve never met, never even seen in your life? Of course not. Kickstarter is getting to be a well known website, and that comforts people in a way rather than going to some low budget site that someone has thrown together that looks like it could be filled with viruses. You see these ad’s on the side of the pages you are looking at on the internet, they have cheap and poorly made pictures, they use trackers to track what state or even city you are from so that it looks a little more personal to you. Nobody really trusts those sites and I know that I definitely won’t click on one of those cheap ad’s. Kickstarter offers a community, it keeps track of previous successful projects, it’s been featured on the news and other media area’s and it has rules which makes people feel better about ‘donating’ rather than seeing a little ad on a weird website.

    Kickstarter is getting to be popular, Kickstarter is getting to be a website sort of like facebook for some people. So many people want to see technology grow, or want some fresh ideas as well as having a feeling that they contributed to the next big thing. They want to see a product on the shelves and look back and say “I helped make this.” There are many people who are quite wealthy who stalk the website in search of something they would love to see happen. So yes, you’re bringing in your own contacts and networks, but with the success of this site there are other people who check on the site frequently to see what they would like to donate to.

    Kickstarter makes it’s website, websites aren’t free. They are hosting your project to you, for free, until your project is successful. All the while they are making headlines on television, being mentioned in magazines, etc. etc. which can help your project get seen by millions. I only heard of Kickstarter because they were featured on the news, I checked the website out, and I found a lot of projects I liked. These people didn’t find me, I don’t know anyone on Kickstarter, I found it through media. Once your project is a success they take a 5% cut which isn’t bad considering they are getting to be a well known site, they didn’t take any money from you when you didn’t have money, they hosted your project for free instead of you paying for a page, and your project has a chance of getting seen due to Kickstarters media appearances.

    Lastly, people complain because there really is no definite assurance that these project creators will stick to their word and actually create the product instead of running off with your money. The answer to that is simple, don’t fund for it. Nobody is breaking your finger to get you to fund a certain project. It’s a risk factor and if you have an extra dollar to spare or you have enough money that losing ten dollars isn’t going to hurt, then back a project you like. It’s all a risk, you go in thinking you aren’t going to get anything and come out with hopefully what you were promised. And though Kickstarter does not get involved in the personal lives of these project creators they fair warn the project creators that by not fulfilling the rewards as promised creators may get a bad reputation and COULD face legal action from the creators backers. If you fund for something and you didn’t get the reward you were promised you can take legal action against this person, depends how important it was to you.

    So I personally do not find that Kickstarter is a scam, are they biased? Sure. Are they unfair at time? I’m sure. But it’s their website, they are getting the media, and they have supported a LOT of projects two of which broke the record in the same day in just 24 hours both making over a million dollars. If they don’t accept your project, try again or move on. It’s okay to dislike Kickstarter but to turn around and call the website a fraud is just silly and makes you look like a sour grape.

    • Not a fraud, merely a potential opportunity says:

      Mercedes, you have written the best response on this entire page. All of the thoughts you put forward are correct, it is their decision, they cost the applicants nothing unless they are picked, and if they are picked they benefit. It is totally sour grapes, and if they choose to try another site they might have better luck or the same luck. Just like Shark Tank….sometimes they sell the shark, and sometimes they get eaten. It’s not a fraud, and for those who have benefitted, congrats. For those who have not apply elsewhere and/or go back to the drawing board and create a new passion.

  65. mom says:

    So, a while ago my daughter had a Kickstarter.
    In September both she and her co-producer started colleges in NYC. They got together on weekends and finished all of the final steps for the album, while maintaining high grades in college. They finished the album, and used most of the money for the recording, plus mixing mastering, and pressing.
    On Friday January 13th they released the album locally. If it were not for Kickstarter they would not have been able to finish the recording, and release the album. It has given a 19 year old singer, and a 20 year old guitarist the opportunity to make their music a reality. After their success with this, many of their friends have also utilized Kickstarter.
    I believe that had it not been for Kickstarter they would have been forced to struggle to get the funding, and it would have affected their ability to finish the project expediently.
    I do understand that Kickstarter does tend to focus on things that are artistic and creative, but when you analyze the fact that artistic and creative people have often had to struggle to pursue their passions, with music theater and art the least funded portions of education, it is great that this web organization embraces this concept. If it doesn’t back all of the different projects that exist, then there are other groups that will. I wish you all good luck, and hope that ultimately everyone can succeed with their goals and quests!

    PS. The album is listed below, and you can listen to it free of charge if you wish.

  66. James says:

    My idea was not only a creative garden –anti-graffiti idea also organic and would have improved over 300 local communities. I was looking for less that 2,000 and had several volunteers wanting to be involved to freely donate their time,. and a nursery that was going to donate and sell at 1/5 the price of retail.

    Yet they agree to list graffiti artist individuals that are looking to make profit and destroy neighborhoods.
    Kickstarter is friend only to subversive counter culture profit and fame seekers!
    Here is their response. —Find another crowd source site.

  67. Bob Dobs says:

    I searched on Kickstarter, and saw that other folks has already posted a few of my “back-burner” ideas (things I had worked on in the past, and eventually would like to finish) were either “past successful” or currently on Kickstarter (and already reached beyond their funding targets, so I gave it a go with anoter one. Rejected. Another one. Rejected again. No explanation, just “nope”. The stuff I saw up there weren’t magically unique (REM Lucid dream mask and a few software apps) but the ones I submitted didn’t violate any of their guidelines. I DID see a ton of current ones which DID, but *whatever*.

    Frustreated because I didn’t realize they were so “elitist”, and full of s**t.

  68. donal trumh says:

    I tried to start a delivery service that left flaming backs of dogpoo peoples doorstep but kickstarter denied it. Arrgghhh, if only it were possible to set up your own site that featured a donation button, those kickstarter bastards are geniuses!!!

    • Clevis says:

      You could totally just make a website, ask for donations and hope for the best. You don’t neeeeed KS (the site who shall not be named) but it helps to draw traffic.

  69. Troy Davis says:

    Kickstarter is a scam. The projects that receive a ton of money are somehow connected to the company, or as I suspect possibly started by investors, affiliates, friends of or share holders of the company.

    • Kimc says:

      Do you have any actual evidence that your assertions are true?This is not a rhetorical question: I really want to know the answer.

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