Spotted… Fake Crowdfunding Campaigns.
September 20, 2013 Editor 0
I was already a huge fan of Crowdsourcing since the concept went mainstream in 2009. It’s a great way to reach a big audience, get market traction, … before investing into a new idea yourself. Recently I’ve the feeling the crowdfunding concept has been challenged more than ever. As it looks really “easy” to make money with, several non-innovative people are interested in the concept too. Let me give you some recent interesting stories:
“Made in China” v2.0
Yesterday my feedly stream was filled up with the news that the successfully running project “ParaShoot wearable camera” on Kickstarter was suspended and moved to Indiegogo instead. Kickstarter didn’t give any reason for that. So what really happened?
After their first attempt to crowdfund the project, ParaShoot didn’t reach their first goal. Pity you would say; over to the next “Go Pro” or “Memoto” challenger… Magically, only three weeks later, the founding team was back with an improved product which they relaunched on the platform. Setting a reasonable $30,000 goal this time and promising to deliver the product in December, they hit $117k in no time. It didn’t take long before someone from the Kickstarter community found out they were planning to buy an existing product in China and rebrand it as a “new concept”. Their plan to make money quickly failed… Ouch!
We’re the first in the whole world… not!
A couple of weeks ago I stumbled upon the “Slimfold micro“, a super thin wallet. Great concept, no?! For me it’s an exact copy of my Mighty Wallet, by Dynymighty Design. This company, founded in 2005, uses the exact same material, uses the same folding techniques and provides over +100 designs. I mailed the founder of Slimfold to ask him what made his concept so special and Kickstarter worthy. He replied that his is ” thinner, stitched, has better colors and cooler :)”. Oh you added a stitch… Hmm not the scope of a crowdfunding project I think. Crowdfunding is about disruptive innovative concepts, not about making incremental changes to existing products. Or am I wrong? You have Etsy for that no?
Btw there is a real “smallest, thinnest, … wallet competition” going on on Kickstarter. Feel free to discover Ping Wallet, Snapback, Minimo, Flip, The Dollar Wallet, … as well 🙂
Join our +3000 backers… oh wait, they’re partially fake!
Kickstarter attracts a lot of money. Making a good fake campaign seems really interesting to impostors. During Summer 2013, Kickstarter almost enabled a $120,000 fraud with the Koby Red project, which promised to deliver mouthwatering beef jerky made from Japanese cows fed on 100% organic feed and treated to beer and massages (yeah I know, sounds crazy right from the start…).
Their approach? Fake testimonials from fake backers, combined with a lot of media coverage, made the story appealing to over 3,000 people in the kickstarter community. Luckily the scam was revealed only a couple of minutes before the end of campaign, when people’s credit cards would be charged. Of course this was not the first attempt to fraud via kickstarter. Feel free to discover more about this case on the awesome blogpost by Quartz!
To summarize, I have the feeling Kickstarter, and with them other crowdfunding platforms, are moving from a place where only new innovative concepts are presented into a pre-selling platform for all kinds of design, art and technology. The first two examples above are not real fraud, but for me they’re not part of the crowdfunding philosophy. They don’t need to test if there’s a market for their idea. They don’t need to validate their concept. They don’t need the early backers anymore. The only thing they’re interested in is the marketing and money behind the platform. But as I said, isn’t that something for Etsy or even eBay? Stuff to think about.
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Categories: Business Model
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