Kickstarter Bounces Back After Some Bad Press

Kickstarter Crowdfunding Site
Kickstarter Crowdfunding Site

There were a few bad moments for the generally well-respected crowd-funding site known as Kickstarter. First there was the “kind of creepy”  possibility of funding a “guide for seducing women” which, at best could be called a little too aggressive, and at worst, could be better described as a handbook for committing date rape.

After comedian/blogger Casey Malone posted an excerpt from the guidebook, complaints started bombarding Kickstarter to block the funding. Despite admitting that the book was indeed offensive, Kickstarter nevertheless allowed the project to be funded, saying they could not recoup the money. They did however declare that seduction guides would be off-limits from now on, plus they pledged a $25,000 donation to RAINN, an organization that works against sexual violence.

This incident was just the most recent jab into the otherwise excellent reputation Kickstarter usually boasts. A group of documentary film makers discovered a fraudulent Kickstarter campaign. Promising to be making Kobe beef jerky, the company was requesting $2,374 to purchase a refrigerator. The company had already raised pledges of $120,000 when Kickstarter shut them down, luckily before any money had been handed over.

It is important to point out that although fraud and misogyny are commonplace on the internet, on Kickerstarter they are rare events. All projects are vetted before they are hosted; rejecting about 25 percent of the proposals they receive. Kickstarter sets itself apart from its competitors in the crowd funding industry by disallowing spammy or offensive projects. As a whole this sector raised over $2.7 billion last year.

Kickstarter gives its users the responsibility to be smart enough to spot questionable campaigns and not fund them. A study by one professor at the Wharton School of Business found that fewer than 5 percent of Kickstarter campaigns don’t live up to their promises, although up to 75 percent do not ship on time. About 44 percent of the campaigns reach their goals, and those that do not receive any money.

Last year Kickstarter decided to take measures to protect people from unrealistic promises made by those looking for funding. They also reminded potential pledge-makers that crowd-funding is not identical to shopping. Projects are not products or promises, they are proposals that could fail, even if Kickstarter approves them for their website.

About Michelle Grathers

Michelle Grathers is an international tax expert. She has consulted for a variety of firms and high net worth individuals on all tax- and legal-related issues. She also helps new companies develop payroll services, statutory audits and mergers and acquisitions. Contact Michelle at michelle[at]