Worried about Kickstarter not caring if one of its projects steals your money? Well... you probably should be.
According to Sunny Bates, advisor-slash-board member for the crowdfunding website, if you give your money to a project that project gets funded, and you then get ripped off, you'll be left to fend for yourself.
"Here's the deal," she said to Polygon. "It's one thing to be scammed like Bernie Madoff, where you've gone and you've been seduced by something and put in all your life savings. It's another thing for something not to come through for $US25."
Right. Because if you're not losing 10 grand, who cares?
Kickstarter has grown immensely popular within the gaming community over the past few months, following the monumental success of designer Tim Schafer's adventure game project earlier this year. Plenty of game-makers have sought to bring their own ideas to fruition by begging the internet for money.
Among the many problems that have sprung from this trend, perhaps the biggest is that Kickstarter has no safeguards in place to prevent somebody from, say, creating a complete scam and stealing all of your money.
But Bates says Kickstarter isn't a business; it's a "platform".
"You know what I mean?" Bates said. "When it's syndicated out so broadly with backers, even if somebody is scammed — and it looks too good to be true and you still take a risk on it anyhow — you feel pissed off and upset at the creator and then, you know, some of that may lead over on some people feeling 'why can't Kickstarter control this?' Well, it's a platform — we can't."
So you might never get the reward you're promised. The video game you fund might never be finished. Every time you tell your friends about a Kickstarter project, you could be helping someone run a Ponzi scheme.
Bates went on:
I think that because where the bulk of the projects are is between the $US25 to $US1500 range, are you going to go take legal action on something that you put $US50 into? I mean you tell me. Maybe if you put $US10,000, sure. Or $US1000, maybe. But if you lost $US25 or $US50 then you're a little disappointed and you think the [project creator] sucks. But that's the beauty of crowdsourcing, it's not really worth your effort - you're disappointed and you're angry that somebody would do this because it does feel like they're duplicitous and they're trying to pull the wool over the crowd's eyes, and clearly they can't. But I think legal action, when you syndicate it out and you have hundreds of backers for any one project, it's a very different story.
While we've seen plenty of Kickstarter-funded games turn into tangible projects, these comments are certainly something to consider the next time you decide to give your money to a crowd-funding operation. And it's certainly unfortunate that every Kickstarter project has to be a gamble. Even if it is "only $US25."
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