New Rules Temper Expectations on Kickstarter
CREDIT: Zachary Manchester / Kickstarter
It's hard not to get excited while looking at diagrams of giant, drivable robots or photos of planes with better MPG than cars. These and other creative ideas are part of what make looking through Kickstarter, one of the world's best-known crowd-funding sites, so fun. But now, the company is laying out a new set of rules to ensure the expectations of the everyday people who donate to Kickstarter stay reasonable.
Kickstarter began as a place for fans to support artists, who might offer credits or a really cute handmade card in return for funding. As the site grew, however, engineers began using the platform to raise money for gadgets and other tech projects, promising a working product in return for donations. The change brought about questions about what happens when some projects fail, which is to be expected with innovative tech ideas. Meanwhile, we wondered whether Kickstarter would evolve into a marketplace for things, instead of a support site for art and ideas.
Now the company has answered. "Kickstarter Is Not a Store," co-founders wrote in a blog post yesterday (Sept. 20). "We're introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn't a store — it's a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things."
Among the new requirements for project pages are a "Risks and Challenges" section where posters need to talk about the possible roadblocks a project might encounter. Project pages also can't show images or videos that simulate what fundraisers expect their product to do in the future. They can only show what the prototype is capable of at the moment. "The best rule of thumb: under-promise and over-deliver," Kickstarter co-founders wrote.
We'll be waiting to see how these rules affect the projects that people post on the crowdfunding site. Maybe we'll find fewer wild ideas to write about.