Noah J Nelson on Friday, Sep. 21st
In a blog post published under the names of all three founders, Kickstarter made clear today that it does not see itself as a store.
The outsized success of projects like the Pebble E-paper watch the Ouya game console have brought an added layer of scrutiny to the crowdfunding site in the past year. As projects have racked up pledges in the millions the attitude of many backers has shifted from one of creative patronage to the role of consumer. A shift that the Kickstarter founders are clearly not happy with.
Today we’re introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store — it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things.
There are four big changes that will affect the Hardware and Product Design category:
- Project creators must address “risks and challenges” on the project page.
- Projects may no longer offer multiple quantities of the product as a reward.
- Project simulations are prohibited.
- Projects can no longer show product renderings, and are limited to photos of the prototype as it already exists.
We made a request for clarification from Kickstarter as to whether the “renderings” clause precluded blueprints and other design sketches as well as CAD models of products and other mock-ups. If all such visual representations are barred, this may prove to be an over-correction on the part of Kickstarter. Without some sense of what the final product is supposed to look like, backers wouldn’t be able to make a fully informed decision about a project.
What’s most interesting here is that these guidelines fly in the face of the practices of some of the most successful Kickstarter projects to date. With this proclamation the founders are seeking to shore up public trust, which has been threatening to erode as projects like the Pebble miss their initial delivery dates. It’s a sign that the crowdfunding site is seeking to be around for the long haul.
While this doesn’t clear up vetting issues outside the hardware and product design category– and likely doesn’t clear all of those up, either– it is a clear sign that the company is keen to keep up the integrity of their platform.