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Social Enclosures “R” Us
November 26, 2012 10:07 AM   Subscribe

Who's the Shop Steward on Your Kickstarter? "The true product for sale on Kickstarter is not your art project, but your community and networks. ... Our projects that facilitate the funding are a side effect, a cost of doing business—the business of drilling our relationships for all they are worth."
posted by mykescipark (35 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
Wow, he's a real ray of sunshine.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:25 AM on November 26, 2012


I heard that instead of taking 10% of the raised money, Kickstarter initially wanted to go with the kinder gentler option of taking only 10% of the rewards, but it was just too hard to figure out the tax liability on an infinite quantity of t-shirts, refridgerator magnets, and "hugs."
posted by wolfdreams01 at 10:29 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Good analysis, interesting article. Thanks for sharing.
posted by Stagger Lee at 10:31 AM on November 26, 2012


Any opinions on kickstarter alternatives?
posted by jeffburdges at 10:35 AM on November 26, 2012


Lots of good points. I've been watching kickstarter with a skeptical eye.

It seems to have drummed up a critical mass of excitement, but the pitfalls are not well established. I'm mostly concerned about legal ramifications, like what happens when too many projects screw their backers.

I've considered running a kickstarter for my own product, but the amount of work and overhead to run a successful campaign would be fairly massive. I'd rather be building my product than running what is essentially a social media marketing campaign.
posted by colinshark at 10:36 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I think it's an unnecessarily bleak assessment of both the intentions of Kickstarter's creators/founders, but also the outcome of a Kickstarter campaign. His solution at the end of WORKERS CONTROL THE MEANS isn't really a solution at all. He comes off brattish to me.

The people who created Kickstarter had a great idea, they executed it quite successfully, and now they are making money at it. Boo, hiss. There are artists/content creators who are doing really well by Kickstarter, and while it's a lot of work, anyone with a calculator can figure out how much work, and price their campaign accordingly. The whole piece stinks of some sort of sour grapes. Did the Baffler's campaign not go well, or what?

I ran a small-scale thing last summer, and while it took some time, the whole project would never have gotten off the ground any other way, so I was happy to have the venue. I just don't get the hate.
posted by Devils Rancher at 10:39 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


MakeUseOf: When Kickstarters Fail
Kickstarter intentionally makes failure a hard thought to stumble on. Its website does not show failed projects unless they’re specifically asked for and the company directs search engine crawlers away from them. Estimating the number of failed projects is difficult because of these tactics, but most independent attempts to pinpoint the figure have landed at 50% or more.

What happens to projects that fail? Who is responsible for the 50% that don’t make it, and what would they do differently if they tried again? And what about Kickstarters that succeed? Do they deliver, or is it just the beginning of a path full of challenges? To answer these questions I spoke with several different people – one who has experienced success, and two who haven’t – to hear the human story behind the facts and figures.

...In talking with Tyler, Dylan and Georgia it became clear that Kickstarter, though potentially an incredible platform, is no magic bullet. The effort required to put up a good project is substantial and many projects have no reasonable chance of success without weeks of work by the project’s creators.

Talking with these individuals has also given me a sense that Kickstarter is a force of both creation and destruction. An extremely successful project can be life-changing for its creator, but failure implies the world has found the project worthless. This chaos allows for incredible creativity and success but also can take a toll on the people involved.

As the flood of money into crowd-funding continues both contributors and creators are at risk of forgetting that this movement is about people, not products. The people we fund, the platforms we support and the rewards we demand will shape the future crowd-funding, and perhaps even our economy.
This piece is long, but I found it quite interesting and worthwhile.
posted by flex at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I suppose bitcoin makes a natural payment system for an open kickstarter alternative since the block chain supports escrow payments.
posted by jeffburdges at 10:43 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ahahaha, nerds exploiting cool people!
posted by zscore at 10:46 AM on November 26, 2012


It's a cautionary tale with some very valid points. I spent a lot of time studying the model before running my own (successful) Kickstarter this fall, so none of this comes as a surprise to me. I factored in the various costs and set a goal that would allow me to accomplish my project - but it's hardly the 'easy money' funding source that the hype from some quarters would have you believe.
posted by Shadan7 at 10:48 AM on November 26, 2012


Kickstarting a project demands that we transform ourselves from artists into marketers.

When has it ever not been thus? Commerce has always been sitting in the corner of the artist's workshop.

Kickstarter demands this social fabric, but only extracts from it, giving nothing of social value in return.

Visibility and escrow are not nothing. People don't make the same complaints about etsy, or ebay, and they have the same extraction without giving back.

Communizing Kickstarter seems as good a place to begin as any. Who wants to join me?

This doesn't make much sense. People don't regularly kickstart things, or at least most people don't. I know of one group who has done 6 kickstarters, and one group who has done 3. Most of the other groups haven't done any other than their first one. This doesn't make sense for a shared ownership system. I don't join a co-op if I'm visiting a city for a week. And what would communizing get you? You'd just have a large group of people extracting value out of various communities instead of a small company.
posted by zabuni at 10:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why shouldn’t, or couldn’t, Kickstarter be owned and run by those that invest in it? ...There are thousands of interesting and unique models for running successful worker-owned and -operated entities in the United States

Ok, let's stop right there. Worker-owned? You don't work for Kickstarter. You didn't create Kickstarter. You don't keep it running when the database crashes in the middle of the night. You're a customer of Kickstarter who uses it to raise money and pays a fee for the service.

You are more than welcome to build your own Kickstarter for everyone to use for free while you pay out of pocket to keep it running. Let me know when you're done.
posted by the jam at 10:52 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


I successfully ran a Kickstarter where including on-line and off-line contributions totalled about 8 grand.

I also thought going in that 90% of that money would come from friends or friends of friends.

Only about 10-15% did. Without KS (including the fee they take) I wouldn't have succeeded. There are a ton of models like this: Recruiters, Buyers, Agents, Stockbrokers, Freight Forwarders. They All, for a fee, run part of your business that you are unqualified or unable to run.
posted by French Fry at 11:05 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I think the petulant tone of the article helped it; with the points presented in a more neutral or reasonable light, I might have agreed with them. But with the unnecessary grousing, I kept thinking, "Hey, that's not right."

It's reasonable and good that people are pushing back against the Kickstarter-as-arts-panacea hype, because I've had too many friends get tied up in the utopianism of Kickstarter without a clear view of goals and budgets. But it's also good to have articles like this that attack straw men with a set of the curmudgeonly grumblings that are the Baffler's stock in trade, because it can remind us that Kickstarter can be valuable and used well (and further that not everything involved in capitalism is inherently rotten).
posted by klangklangston at 11:15 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


There are a ton of models like this: Recruiters, Buyers, Agents, Stockbrokers, Freight Forwarders. They All, for a fee, run part of your business that you are unqualified or unable to run.

Yes. This is the appeal of Kickstarter and the key question. What am I getting for my money (my lost 10%, which is their commission)?

Which leads to the next question. Is there a better deal out there?

I personally love the general idea of crowdsourcing -- in fact, I've come to see it as the best possible future for the business of doing culture -- because it has the potential to eliminate a significant number of middlemen. It puts creators of stuff more or less directly in touch with lovers/appreciators of that stuff. I suddenly don't need to sell 10,000 albums to put a relevant amount of money into my pocket. I only need to sell 1,000 (or whatever).

But Kickstarter will quickly become irrelevant if it overvalues its services (ie: becomes too BIG a middleman). In fact, I can easily see its model changing to adapt to this. That is, after I've launched a few successful kickstarters, I might start thinking, "Hey wait a second, I don't really need these guys anymore, and their ponderous 10%. I'm in touch with my market well enough thank you. Why not just set up my own little site and D.I.Y. the whole thing?"

And so on. I can easily see the terms becoming negotiable ... particularly once you've got something going. And if Kickstarter won't negotiate, I imagine somebody else will pop up who will.
posted by philip-random at 11:20 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ok, let's stop right there. Worker-owned? You don't work for Kickstarter. You didn't create Kickstarter. You don't keep it running when the database crashes in the middle of the night. You're a customer of Kickstarter who uses it to raise money and pays a fee for the service.

I can't tell if this is satire or not.
posted by DU at 11:44 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah - saw this and was hoping it would make it to the blue - so the critiques could come pouring in.

I have problems with the article. I ran a successful Kickstarter - and I was happy to pay for their services. They have guidelines for when you are setting up that remind you to take mailing supplies/etc. into account with rewards/goals set. They also don't make any money if a project fails - which is unusual in many businesses (that I know of.) Ideas can be pretty useless if people don't put in the effort to implement them. Arts funding is on the decline (there could be a whole other thread for that), but the experience from doing my campaign was useful in learning about (kinda) running a small business.

I also know people who have used other services (see above links, and sponsume.com which is a UK thing.) Most of those sites don't work on the 'all or nothing' principle. I actually really like the way Kickstarter has their funding set up - with the prospect of a failed project, some people have greater motivation to make them happen: like kicksaver.net

The whole piece stinks of some sort of sour grapes. Did the Baffler's campaign not go well, or what?

Yes to the sour grape tone. I don't think Josh MacPhee is related to the Baffler, but he is part of the Justseeds collective (His work there.) I really like the work of the collective.
posted by PistachioRoux at 11:49 AM on November 26, 2012


I'm running a Kickstarter campaign right now, and have run one before (it was successful). I don't intend to run any more after this (they didn't, after all, call it The Well). They are a LOT of work, for sure, but if you trouble to read their little how-to guide, they are very clear about that.

To me, they are worth the ~9% I'll end up paying them (though it's worth noting that about 4% of that goes to Amazon to process credit cards, so Kickstarter the company is getting 5%, not 10%, of what I raise). They are worth it to me because (a) a lot of the people who want to give me money are physically far away from me, and my publishing company has no way to run a credit card transaction without the physical card, without me investing in something new to do that, which isn't worth it for a one-time project, and (b) a lot of the people interested in my project know nothing about me at all, but are actually friends of my editors, and this way they don't have to trust me as an individual, only Kickstarter as a company, which can be easily researched if they haven't heard of it, and (c) we were briefly on their "most popular this week" page, which probably raised us a good $500 right there. Also, I think it's worth something to the people investing in my project to know that they won't have to pay anything if I fail to reach my goal, so I won't just be holding on to their money promising they'll get a book... eventually...

I'm sure somebody will come along at some point and build a better crowd-funding website, but not the way this article seems to think.
posted by joannemerriam at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2012


I suppose bitcoin makes a natural payment system for an open kickstarter alternative since the block chain supports escrow payments.

I wish this would have been an option before I had spent all my bitcoin publicizing my PGP-enabled toaster on Diaspora :(
posted by griphus at 12:07 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


They also don't make any money if a project fails

The problem I see with Kickstarter is that they have a very limited definition of a 'project failure', and it's a definition that's not in the best interest of either of their 'clients' - the artists making projects and the crowd that is funding them.

A designer expecting to raise enough money to build 50 widgets and getting orders for 500 widgets is not what I would call a fundraising success, because manufacturing 50 widgets and 500 widgets is so different that it's impossible to present a realistic budget and schedule that covers both. It is a recipe for stress, frustration, and delivery failure. But for kickstarter, having a project vastly overfunded is a huge win - (1) they get a big fee, and (2) they get a lot of free publicity. This is one reason I have a hard time calling the relationship between Kickstarter and aritsts "contractor/client."

This isn't to say that no one should use Kickstarter - it can be a very successful platform. But I would never use it to crowdsource product design and manufacture, and I wonder if it's very ethical for them to even approve such projects without allowing project creators to easily cap either the number of 'presales' or the total amount raised. (I know that specific reward levels can be capped, but that's not the same thing).
posted by muddgirl at 12:37 PM on November 26, 2012


There is a mechanism to avoid over-funding and if creators want to use it they can.

I see this used as a shield a lot. By Amanda Palmer most famously that "they aren't responsible for over-funding" But you can make every reward level finite. So the only over-funding is people literally handing you reward-less cash.

Nobody does this, because most people like the idea of over-funding more than they fear it.
posted by French Fry at 1:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't see the problem. If the cost of goods sold (rewards) can be capped, then your only problem when you get too much money is that you... have too much money? You have no obligations to deliver materially for anyone who wasn't promised a reward. For those people, they (and you) should consider it a donation, no strings attached. Spend as you see fit. Same as any other donation, online or offline.

Kickstarter isn't investing. It's either ordering a not yet existing product and hoping it one day will exist, or it is just straight up donation. Confusion about this reality, is the real problem.
posted by danny the boy at 1:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


But you can make every reward level finite.

Sure, but it's hard to correlate reward levels to "preorders."

Let's say I think a widget costs $5 total to manufacture, so the lowest reward level I offer it at is $10. But because this is encouraged by Kickstarter, and because funders expect it, I also offer that item as a reward at every higher level. Because I'm an experienced designer (which is problem #1 - there are a lot of inexperienced designers), I know that I can only reasonably expect to make, max, 100 widgets at $5 a piece by September. So how do I structure my reward level limits? Does Kickstarter give guidance on this at all? Do creators have enough data about Kickstarter funders to figure out, say, that they should limit their lowest preorder tier to 50% of their planned outcome, their second tier to 40%, etc? This is the sort of information that 99% of creators don't have and shouldn't be expected to have when starting a project.

I've never created a Kickstarter project, so maybe all this information is freely shared and all failed product designers are just dumb and greedy, but I find that difficult to believe.
posted by muddgirl at 1:21 PM on November 26, 2012


There's one flaw with using kickstarter that I have not seen addressed in any critique. While the set a goal, reach it and get funded is simple for everyone to understand, it can make a successful campaign end up a horrible failure. I've seen a few projects about to get into trouble with the following scenario:

cost for each is including fees, shipping etc
gizmo in quantity 19 would cost $140 each
gizmo in quantity 20 would cost $100 each
accessory in quantity 1 is $50

funding goal is set for $2000

First reward is gizmo @ $100
Second reward is gizmo plus accessory @ $150

Funding is successful raising exactly $2,000, but the goal was reached with 12 of the second reward, and only 2 of the first reward, so 14 gizmos need to be produced. However, since the gizmo production cost is now higher in this smaller quantity, it will cost $2,560 to give everyone their reward.
posted by Sophont at 1:28 PM on November 26, 2012


Kickstarter has a bunch of public information, success rates, reward levels, funding demos all by project type. They will also answer a boat load of questions pre "kicking".

Also during your Kickstarter you can add a finite quality to any reward (you otherwise can't edit backed rewards for obvious reasons) and add any new rewards you want if you've made a crazy mistake.

They are really upfront about it. They don't edit your project or hold your hand too much (thousands and thousands of projects and a company of like 40 people) but they do tell you to not scale your rewards so much that you can't afford any combo of your rewards being purchased.

That was key for me as my average backer gave about 100usd which is a much heavier use of top rewards than I expected, but Kickstarter had prepared me for such an instance.
posted by French Fry at 1:30 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


OK, here's another idea for helping product design projects be more successful in the eyes of creators and backers:

What if a creator could set different delivery dates for each reward depending on how much each reward level is backed? So the first 10 people at reward level A see an estimated delivery date of September, the next 50 December, and so on. As I understand it, right now you can't change the delivery date after the first person has backed that reward, meaning that the 500th backer expects their widget at the same time as the first backer (which is clearly a problem).

This also might encourage people to fund earlier.
posted by muddgirl at 1:39 PM on November 26, 2012


OK, let me see if I get this guy's complaints right:

- You still have to work during your Kickstarter campaign! And that's not fun!
- And sometimes your friends have to work too! That's not fun either!
- More popular people get more money, what's up with that?
- Not only do you have to work to raise money for yourself, but the service that provides the platform for you to raise money wants money too! In the real world venues that host fundraisers never have rental fees.
- What if you don't budget for time and fees and giveaways? What then?
- Businesses can never have good intentions and make profit, so Kickstarter is evil.
- No work goes into running Kickstarter whatsoever, they just make money, so obviously they're leeching off of our hard work.

Also this:
The first and most important step in that direction is asking a simple question: Why shouldn’t, or couldn’t, Kickstarter be owned and run by those that invest in it? . . . How would this work? I don’t know all the details, but that doesn’t mean the idea isn’t worth considering.

Bro-dawg, the whole "how would this work" pretty much determines whether the idea is worth considering. What, are you planning on some takeover of Kickstarter? Storm their offices and take over the servers? Convince the gazillions of people who've started campaigns to all buy a piece of it and then . . . what? The guy who only wants to run one campaign is an owner forever? Is everyone who starts a campaign an owner? No, sorry, you don't just get to say "Communism is the answer, somebody else figure the rest out."

This is one of the most petulant and poorly-thought out arguments about crowd-sourcing I have read. Congratulations, sir!
posted by schroedinger at 1:40 PM on November 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


There's one flaw with using kickstarter that I have not seen addressed in any critique.
...
First reward is gizmo @ $100
Second reward is gizmo plus accessory @ $150


How is that a flaw with using kickstarter? That's a really poorly chosen set of reward levels given the costs you have to deal with.
posted by Jpfed at 1:42 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The problem I see with Kickstarter is that they have a very limited definition of a 'project failure', and it's a definition that's not in the best interest of either of their 'clients' - the artists making projects and the crowd that is funding them.

Kickstarter is a mechanism for funding a project, not a tool for ensuring that a project is completed. It gives creators a mechanism to find and connect with small-scale patronage, rather than eating the up-front investment needed to create something, then hope for sales.

It is not a panacea, but I can't help but think that most of the examples the article pointed out were examples of bad planning on the part of the creators. This kind of thing bites anyone who's responsible for project delivery. Are you a freelancer who overpromises to get the gig? Are you a developer who lowballs your time estimates to get approval from a supervisor? Are you a musician who promises live shows and leather USB keys to make it over the backing hurdle?

Yeah, those things will come back to bite you.

It's easy to say that Kickstarter is playing CYA games by clarifying that it's not a service for pre-ordering products, rather one for backing projects. But they're protecting the creative people who start the projects with that language as much as anyone else. Some of the most recent highly successful Kickstarter projects are noteworthy for their lack of "fluff rewards." Pay double and you don't get a leatherbound versino of the book, you get your name in the acknowledgements. Kick in an extra $500, and when the game ships you'll have an NPC named after you, etc etc. Those are rewards that are about connection with the project, and tie directly to the creative act itself rather than piling on extra schwag.
posted by verb at 2:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What if a creator could set different delivery dates for each reward depending on how much each reward level is backed? So the first 10 people at reward level A see an estimated delivery date of September, the next 50 December, and so on.
posted by muddgirl at 3:39 PM on November 26


Actually, that would be awesome. You could do that while the campaign is ongoing, by capping your first reward (you can do that after people have pledged, as long as your cap is equal or greater than the number of pledges you've already gotten at that tier), and then creating an identical extra tier where the only difference is the delivery date. But that's potentially really confusing for backers, and it's not necessarily obvious to the creators that it's an option.

Although, it's also a problem that seems more likely to happen for handmade stuff, and surely somebody who is making everything by hand would put a limit on their tiers anyway?
posted by joannemerriam at 2:31 PM on November 26, 2012


joanne: People already do things like that by setting limited amounts of special tiers - quite literally, something like "EARLY BIRD: Get the widget in December (10 only)" and "NORMAL BIRD: Get the widget in Feb (50 only)" etc. I don't think it needs to be a specific option because for a lot of project creators, it's not an issue.

As a three-time Kickstarter project creator, I obviously really like the platform. When you consider that the alternatives are VC funding or grants from frequently cronyist commissioners, I find it hard to credit people tearing it down, and I don't begrudge Kickstarter their 5% take. I mean, what's a fair number? 1%? 2%? Come on. I've been through the process of getting commissions and funding, and believe me, it sucks hard compared to the relative honesty and freedom of Kickstarter.

What really gets my goat, however, is how he says that we should go and set up a communized Kickstarter. Oh yeah? Go and do it then! Set up a website. Set up the payment gateways. Learn how to programme. If you do that, then you will earn my immense and genuine respect.

I dearly love the Baffler but I've had it up to here with armchair revolutionaries. Kickstarter isn't perfect but it's done a hell of a lot more good than most people.
posted by adrianhon at 2:52 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


What really gets my goat, however, is how he says that we should go and set up a communized Kickstarter. Oh yeah? Go and do it then! Set up a website. Set up the payment gateways. Learn how to programme. If you do that, then you will earn my immense and genuine respect.

No, no, adrianhon. When we said "A worker-owned crowdfunding platform," we meant "A worker-owned crowdfunding platform that you built to my specifications."
posted by verb at 2:55 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also, the author talks about their friend's failed Kickstarter project. Firstly, if they didn't have to pay Kickstarter 5%, they would have received around $21k instead of $20k. Not something anyone would turn down, but hardly enough to fix the other glaring issues with the project.

Secondly, he says "there’s a weaker system of social accountability because the web interface abstracts you from an embodied community, while there is none of the regulation assumed to exist between two parties making a financial exchange." Yes, the web can have its downsides when it comes to social accountability, and yet here we are on Metafilter and on Kickstarter, getting things done - albeit in a different way from the 'real world' (which, IMO, is an increasingly absurd distinct to make these days). And I suspect that if there *was* regulation on Kickstarter, he would find that just as objectionable as it would impose some very heavy demands on riskier projects.

/me shakes fist at screen, shouting, "This is why we can't have nice things any more, the left keeps tearing itself apart!"
posted by adrianhon at 3:13 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"It is not a panacea, but I can't help but think that most of the examples the article pointed out were examples of bad planning on the part of the creators. This kind of thing bites anyone who's responsible for project delivery. Are you a freelancer who overpromises to get the gig? Are you a developer who lowballs your time estimates to get approval from a supervisor? Are you a musician who promises live shows and leather USB keys to make it over the backing hurdle?"

This, this, a thousand times this.

(And I mostly say that as someone who is usually the poorly-planning creator, not the irate receiver, though I've been both.)
posted by klangklangston at 4:58 PM on November 26, 2012


I am seething. This article would be ignorant linkbait, but it seems he actually believes his critiques. Let's do this:

Kickstarter treats you like a self-employed contractor, so it’s on you to figure out your tax burden and pay it, likely at least another 15 percent

Communist Kickstarter is not going to get rid of taxes.

All in all you’ve taxed your community to a bending (if not breaking) point, and spent a good 150–200 hours—not on your project, remember, but on raising money in hopes of eventually getting to work on the project.

That's twenty-five 8-hour days. Sorry, you do not spend twenty-five 8-hour days on your campaign.

On average, you’re likely spending $8 per package, so that’s another $1,200 off your total

Unless you're an idiot (as I once was), that cost is built into the amount you're asking for.

Kickstarter and Amazon made a grand sitting back and watching you do all that work.

KS and Amazon made a grand establishing an infrastructure and maintaining it while you raised your money.

That 10% doesn't seem like much when MacPhee founded an artists cooperative that only gives artists 50% of the proceeds from sales of their work.

Kickstarter gets its rentier-style money, you get a small portion to fund your project, and everyone else gets to bask in the glow of how wonderful it was for them to participate.

Yeah, that 90% "small portion" is pretty small. Don't pretend that taxation and reward fulfillment are some sort of evil plot.

The founders and employees of Internet start-ups don’t make money from providing products or services, but by selling their companies to bigger fish, often for data mining and social networking potentials

Wildly incorrect. Kickstarter makes plenty of money from the projects. What happened to the line where Internet infrastructure didn't cost anything, and KS was getting too rich? If I wanted to mine Facebook data I'd just write a bot or download a torrent of mined Facebook data.

Kickstarting a project demands that we transform ourselves from artists into marketers... In order to be successful, our drive to self-promotion has to outstrip all other drives.

What?

In fact, the whole second page is just stupid and untrue, all based on this idea that the point of Kickstarter is to mine our social networks. Kickstarter is not learning anything about us that anyone couldn't easily learn. They're doing it for money, man. Money. There is no secret cabal shuffling your secrets off to the Russians.

Kickstarter will become just another tool for the parasitic extraction of wealth from fans, and celebrities will become the only ones with enough real and cultural capital to launch significant and successful fundraising campaigns.

This is called "celebrities are good at selling things." Celebrities have always been good at selling things. I can run a lemonade stand and Guy Fieri can open a restaurant in Times Square, but that doesn't make my lemonade stand any less awesome.

In particular, it is now common for people running campaigns to send out press releases to drum up media exposure.

Oh god publicity oh god. This part is just shit I wrote for zines in high school.

Let’s also look at Kickstarter’s “all-or-nothing” rule. In order to maximize extraction, and make you work harder for them, you only get the money if you reach your goal, a goal even more motivational because you set it yourself.

The most beautiful, socially-respectable thing about Kickstarter is the all-or-nothing rule. If you don't have the capital to pull the project off, you don't get my money. If it takes $1000 to build a scale model of the Titanic and you only get $50, it's a nice nice world in which I get my money back.

A minimum of $2,500 was spent on reward fulfillment, not including labor, which easily topped one hundred total hours of work.

Your poor planning is not Kickstarter's fault.

Jeez, this article was too full of hand-waving to even give a good critique of. Watch out for when he discovers all the arts funding in the world comes from big corporations looking for sexy tax write-offs.
posted by soma lkzx at 5:43 PM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


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