ATTENTION: You are viewing a page formatted for mobile devices; to view the full web page, click HERE.

Main Area and Open Discussion > Living Room

Kickstarter has a problem... the Solution


Kickstarter has a problem.  Even with all of the successful projects, it's becoming known more for its outlying failures (which of course, can happen to anyone) rather than its outlying successes.  What can you do about it, without putting undue strictures on the creators or turning Kickstarter into something it's not?  An independent analysis of the numbers seems a good way to start.

The Kickstarter Fulfillment Report - An independent analysis by the University of Pennsylvania.

In March 2015, we invited a scholar from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania to help answer this question. Professor Ethan Mollick is an expert in entrepreneurship and innovation who developed an independent study surveying nearly 500,000 backers about project outcomes and backer sentiment.

--- End quote ---

Note, that they don't say anything about the funding of the project.  That would be more transparent- whether invited meant solicited and funded.  Not that I think it's a salient point, but it will be to some people.  All sorts of groups give grants to study particular things that might be of use to the funding group. 

There is, however this tidbit, that might stave off the naysayers:

“Kickstarter collaborated on data gathering, but these results are independent and solely my own work. I was not paid by Kickstarter, and all analyses were conducted independently of Kickstarter. Kickstarter was offered the chance to comment on, but not change, this paper before it was made public. For the backer data, Kickstarter conducted the survey using questions jointly developed with me, but shared all relevant non- private data. For the survey of project creators, the survey was conducted by me alone, and responses were not shared with Kickstarter. All errors and omissions are mine.”

--- End quote ---

Emphasis mine.  But the next question is- how were you funded?  Which is not answered.

What is important is the next paragraph:

This is the largest study to ever examine the Kickstarter community. We had no influence over its findings. Before research began, Wharton and Kickstarter agreed that we would co-publish the results, whatever was found.

--- End quote ---

But for some, that will get lost in the question of who funded it, which is a shame.

I'll summarize the points for those who don't want to read.

* 9% of Kickstarter projects fail to deliver rewards
* Failure rates are consistent across categories
* Projects that raise less than $1,000 fail the most often
* There are good failures and bad failures
That last point refers to project satisfaction.

In the end, he says that each backer should allow for a 1-in-10 failure rate of projects backed.  I guess I'm just lucky- I consider only 3 of my 350+ projects to have failed.  Those have gone silent without delivering.  Many are late- very late in one case- but they're still communicating and progressing.  And one of those refunded 100% of my pledge, and gave a complimentary product. 

I'm in it more for the process, though I only back things that are interesting to me.  I have a worse rate on IndieGoGo, which is the reason that I don't use it anymore.  It seems more wild west than Kickstarter.

But back to the report - it's an interesting read, with interesting methodology- especially for the last point.  I do like that they include it, however.


Uh... is there a typo? I see the same paragraph three times ...


Meanwhile you back 350 projects!? Any quick notes about averages and some special case backing higher amounts?

App stores have crashed our idea of what stuff is worth. I'll pay $6.77 for a McDonald's meal but skies alive if people wanna give $6.77 to a Kickstarter project!

"Anyone" (I know, big exceptions) can fund $6.77 for one fun little thing that caught their eye and seems to have 3 good devs, a passable artist, a passable marketer, and a passable accountant.

It does take passion to (rounding down) build up to $2000 in total kickstarters but it's almost like 21st century entertainment, for 2 grand you get "350 channels of entertainment for years, 350 stories of some shouting, some tears, and sometimes triumph ... and then kewl $hit!"

Even with a bigger fail rate ... now ya got 300 new kewl things to play with and stories to tell for a decade. For two grand.


Meanwhile you back 350 projects!? Any quick notes about averages and some special case backing higher amounts?
-TaoPhoenix (December 16, 2015, 06:26 PM)
--- End quote ---

I am at 376 Backed, with 7 currently active.  The most I've spent is 120 Pounds, followed by 120 USD, followed by 114 USD, and 2 100 USD.  The first is consistently putting out stuff- the next two just closed, but I anticipate no problems.  The third was a failure, with complete recompense and a product.  I was doing it more to get the collateral stuff (editing from gaming professionals, and opinions on work) and they didn't respond in time for my deadline, so that was more of a hit than the actual product.  The other 100 was ahead of schedule for the main product, and the stretch goals followed closely.

There's no way to export your data that I know of, so I haven't really done any analysis.  But I do have rules for backing, no matter how much I want to get stuff, that I've detailed before.  It's become more and more refined as I go along.  I've passed on some things that I've thought were good ideas and/or I wanted because of them- I'm pretty strict in that regard.

Most of the things that I've gotten have been in the gaming category- mostly role-playing games and board games, and accessories for both.  There are a few computer games in there (both of my other failures are computer games), and I really seem to like wallets from what one of my friends commented.

My first backed project was in Dec 18, 2009, and there were no thoughts of failure back then- I was only backing people I knew that wanted to do things.

And on that note, Kickstarter's interface for projects that you have backed sucks when you've backed as much as I have.

My oldest non-fulfilled Kickstarter that I still consider viable was funded on Jul 17, 2011.  My first failure was funded Apr 6 2012, and looking back at it, I wouldn't have backed if I were using my current rules.  But it was only $5.  And looking through, I have another failure- it was for $1.  It actually delivered, but an iOS update broke it, and the developer refunded everyone rather than deal with Apple again, and released the source.

Another interesting tidbit- I have backed only 5 unsuccessful projects (in terms of funding).  I have pulled out of quite a few... subsequent research or a re-think of whether I wanted to be involved were the causes.

Used correctly, it's a great platform.  But a lot of the crowdfunders don't know what the platform is for, and of course are understandably annoyed and verbal when their project fails.  Creating an image that I don't think is accurate, and am sure that Kickstarter doesn't want.


[0] Message Index

Go to full version