Open Letter: The Jaded Kickstarter Backer
I've been funding projects on Kickstarter for as long as I can remember. For a time it was great! Be the first to get some cool new product, help someone realize their dreams, be apart of something from the ground floor. This all sounds good in theory, but almost every project I've backed has had a terrible time actually delivering on their promises.
I'm not sure if I'm just terrible at picking projects or if this is part of a larger issue. However what's clear is that there needs to be some sort of consequence for creators who fail to deliver to their backers. It seems like Kickstarter is only interested in bringing people to creators and fundraising. After a project is funded, they take their cut and disappear, leaving backers to fend for themselves in murky waters filled naive and/or malicious creators. This will eventually cause Kickstarter to lose credibility in the long run and hurt the company's power to bring creators potential supporters.
Don't get me wrong, I understand things come up during the production of products that can push a timeline back, but this should be addressed and planned for in the pre production phase. That is solely the creators job to create a practical timeline and stick to it. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. Whatever the reason though, this should not be fully unmonitored by Kickstarter.
I've backed projects that delivered on their product a full 2 years after the expected delivery date. 2 YEARS!! There is no way this can be acceptable. Some would say, "Atleast you got your product in the end.", but that is far from the point. As a backer we are trusting the creator to be true to their word and deliver effectively.
Another project I backed a little over a year ago planned to be delivered 6 months after funding completed. The creator decided it was best to change the actual product, post funding, and miss the original delivery date without updating the backers. In addition they outlined a whole new timeline that projected the new delivery date to be 6 months later. That deadline was 2 months ago and people, including me, still haven't gotten the product they paid for well over a year ago. Things like this should be grounds for some form of reimbursement in the least.
I have backed some great projects in my time on Kickstarter:
But these are few and far between. Until Kickstarter steps in and starts putting in barriers to stop creators from running away with our money, I'll strictly be using the service to get news on potential future products. I'll take note of the delivery date and wait for it to hit the market.
Good Luck to any future disappointed Kickstarter backers. Let me know your horror and success stories down in the comments.