The Inevitable Crowdfunding Backlash When People Realize Projects Fail & Change

from the early-excitement-can-lead-to-disillusionment dept

We've been unabashed champions of crowdfunding and platforms like Kickstarter for quite some time now, though we've also tried to temper some of the hype. A little over two years ago, for example, we used the story of the open social network Diaspora as a possible warning for some of the initial excitement about projects. Much of that comes from just knowing what entrepreneurs go through: the initial idea is exciting, but things change over time, and expectations change... and some projects fail. When you're dealing with investors, that's one thing -- they're sort of designed to expect such a thing. But crowdfunding had a different vibe. Because people got so excited in the idea and really (quite literally) bought into it, we worried that as some projects failed, it might lead to a serious backlash.

It may be a coincidence that we highlighted this risk with Diaspora (one of the first Kickstarter projects to go really "big") a couple years ago... but it's possible that our worries are coming true. Last week, I saw a report from Liz Gannes at AllThingsD, which suggested that the Diaspora team was focusing on something completely different, a "collaborative web remixing tool" called Makr.io. The team definitely went through some significant hardships so it's not that surprising that they've shifted gears. Given that story, it's hardly a surprise that they're now officially "handing control of the project over to the community." They claim they'll still be playing an important role, but it seems pretty clear this is an effective withdrawal from the project, which never really caught on the way some people hoped.

And, of course, this isn't just limited to Diaspora. Bloomberg recently had a (well-timed) story highlighting how an awful lot of successful Kickstarter projects, at the very least, don't meet their deadlines to actually make or ship a product. This has turned at least some people off to the service, which (again) is unfortunate.

Of course, these kinds of platforms are only a few years old, and of course they're going to go through growing pains. I hope that, as they continue to grow and find success, at least there's some greater recognition -- and public admission -- of the potential risks involved, so that they don't take people by surprise, and that people understand that as much as they love an idea, execution is the truly hard part. Investing in the idea is great, but there's a risk involved that the end result won't match the snazzy video that the team put together for Kickstarter in the first place.
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Filed Under: business models, changes, crowdfunding, failures
Companies: diaspora, kickstarter


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  1. icon
    PaulT (profile), 29 Aug 2012 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Because it is hard as fuck to have a discussion when I have to deal with turds like you."

    Yeah, that's the way to gain sympathy. Bravo.

    "Umm, IT"S MY OPINION."

    Yeah, I know. That why I said "and you're basing this on what, except for your own personal opinion,". You're not an expert, not an insider, not someone whose opinion should be expected to consider better than another's opinion. I happen to have a different opinion, and I can state why. Are you able to quantify why you have the opinion you hold? If not, I'm not sure why I should consider it apart from the opinons of many others here who are at least capable of stating their opinion without childish tantrums?

    "Umm, I DIDN'T SAY IT WAS LIMITED TO THIS MODEL. This model just happens to be more clearly and obviously prone to scams, because of it's cash collecting nature."

    You're aware that other models do this, right? Why do you only attack this one? If you admit that other models have the same problem, why do you give those a pass while only attacking the "new" models in the least constructive way possible?

    "Free doesn't mean without cost, it means in this case WITHOUT REGULATION."

    No it doesn't. Besides, if you're going to use common words with multiple common definitions, don't get your panties in a twist if someone assumes you're using a definition other than the one you intend. Your writing skills are as poor as your reading comprehension skills, sadly.

    "they aren't discussion price"

    Yeah, I'M the ones with English skill problems, got it...

    "Perhaps if you stopped trying to shove you personal bias onto my statements, you might be able to have a discussion. For the moment, you are just being a turd, and that's not really adding anything except perhaps a bad smell."

    I talked to a 5 year old today that said something similar. I'm sorry you feel that this discussion belongs on that level. As ever, feel free to join the adults when you're old and mature enough, but it ain't now.

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