What is Kickstarter?

I could sit here and try to explain to you all what Kickstarter is, but I think it would be easier for Kickstarter to explain what they are. Heres an excerpt from Kickstarter.com, straight from the horses mouth:

What is Kickstarter?

Kickstarter is a new way to fund creative projects.

We believe that:

• A good idea, communicated well, can spread fast and wide.

• A large group of people can be a tremendous source of money and encouragement.

Kickstarter is powered by a unique all-or-nothing funding method where projects must be fully-funded or no money changes hands.

Basically, they are a website that brings together people with creative ideas and people with a few spare bucks, in hopes that the creators idea will get funded. Sounds like a pretty good idea right? So why all the controversy? Well, to put it simply, Kickstarter is for people who have some sort of creative idea. The idea could range anywhere from making a documentarty film, publishing a novel, making a CD of their music, to creating a kick ass stand for the iPad. The opportunities are seemingly limitless. But are they truly limitless?

Opportunities on Kickstarter.com are not limitless. Kickstarter cannot be used to start a business (at least that’s the claim of kickstarter.com), be used for charitable causes, or “fund my life” projects. While these are supposed to be prohibited, I offer you this bit of proof to show you that while Kickstarter claims their platform cannot be used for business funding, there are plenty of people on kickstarter pandering to create a business such as:

Scott Wilson: TikTok and LunaTik creator

Scott created TikTok and LunaTik multi-touch watch kits. Basically a frame you insert your iPod nano into that turns it into a watch. While I do agree this is definitely a creative idea, it was an idea to make and SELL these kits; thus, creating a business. In fact, Scott says this at the end of his kickstarter project page:

“Note: TikTok will retail for $34.95 and LunaTik will retail for $69.95. iPod Nano not included. iPod Nano, Apple logo and Apple are registered trademarks of Apple Inc.”

Now that’s a business, it it not? And in fact, he raised $942,548 to start this business, that isn’t allowed on kickstarter. You can check out Scott’s very profitable business here.

Quinn Popcorn: Makers of Quinn Popcorn

That’s right, this is an actual company that these people are starting. They have even gon as far as filing for federal trademarks on their company mark and name! But wait, I thought Kickstarter wasn’t for business funding? Hmmm, not sure how to answer that one. You can check out more about Quinn Popcorn here.

Ok, I could go all day with people starting businesses on Kickstarter.com, but what about all those pesky charities they try to keep out. Well so far they are doing a pretty good job. I mean after all, they just say you can’t use any funds you get from kickstarter for charity. They don’t say anything about no donating your proceeds AFTER kickstarter to charity. Well, some folks are using that to their advantage, take these guys for example:

Three Lefts Productions: Creators of Absolution

These nice folks are soliciting $10,000 to start production on 3 parts of a 21 part sci-fi series. Very creative. It’s been done before, but maybe they’ll surprise us. They tell us they will be using the money for permits, insurance, etc. but they also tell us they will be donating all proceeds to 3 very specific charities. Hmmm You would think this one would have been denied by kickstarter staff.

Now of course Kickstarter is a private company and can honestly do whatever they want when it comes to approving or denying projects. That’s their right. But who are they to really say whether a project is good or not? Shouldn’t that really be left up to the people who are utimately pledging money to the person/persons starting the project? And has anyone else noticed that most of the “tech” or “product design” projects are Apple related? (Just an observation on my part, pay no attention).

My point is, why have this so called set in stone criteria if the people you employ are just going to pick and choose projects based on whether they like it or not. I myself submitted a project that was ultimately denied. That’s not the point though, denial is just a fact of life, we get over it a move on. The real kick in the pants was they didn’t even look at the websites (they asked for) to learn more about the project and myself (I know this because I frequently look at the site statistics). Seriously Kickstarter? Why even ask for the info if you’re not even going to take a look?