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Who Is Kickstarter for? Founders Address Backlash Against *Celebrity* Campaigns

Who Is Kickstarter for? Founders Address Backlash Against *Celebrity* Campaigns

In response to all the criticism Kickstarter has been on the receiving end of, or found itself in the middle of, in recent months, thanks to successful multi-million dollar celebrity campaigns, the founders of the online crowd-funding service – Perry Chen, Yancey Strickler, and Charles Adler penned an open letter to address your concerns – some of you anyway – in a post titled Who Is Kickstarter For?

My 2 cents on the whole thing, in brief, goes something like this: if there are fans willing to give money to these “celebrity campaigns” (for lack of a better term), then who am I to discourage them from doing so. All I can do is contribute to those campaigns that I’m attracted to and that I feel are deserving of my contribution – no matter who’s behind them; although, just about every single campaign that I’ve contributed to has been one of the thousands of unknown, *smaller* film projects by filmmakers/content creators like myself.

So it’s up to you! It’s your money.

Keep in mind that Kickstarter is a business. I’m sure the founders love what they’ve created, but I’m also sure that they’d like to make money from it, as well as grow it. And the larger the campaign goal, the better it is for their bottomline, because they get a small percentage of every successful campaign.

5% of the almost $6 million dollars raised for the Veronica Mars movie, is a lot more than 5% of the $25,000 campaign you contributed to.

C’est la vie…

Although, I wonder if the possibility exists for another online crowd-funding service to brand itself as “The Crowd-funding Site For The Little Guy“… or something like that.

Without further ado, here’s what the Kickstarter founders had to say about the matter:

Who is Kickstarter for?

Kickstarter’s mission is to help bring creative projects to life

That’s our mission. We’re a tool available to anyone (in the US and UK, currently) to fund and build a community around their creative project. Big or small, established or indie, serious or fun. Judged on their own, these two projects squarely fit our guidelines and our mission. But there have been concerns that they may hurt the system as a whole, depriving other projects of funds. What about that?

Projects bring new backers to other projects

The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff projects have brought tens of thousands of new people to Kickstarter. 63% of those people had never backed a project before. Thousands of them have since gone on to back other projects, with more than $400,000 pledged to 2,200 projects so far. Nearly 40% of that has gone to other film projects.

We’ve seen this happen before. Last year we wrote a post called Blockbuster Effects that detailed the same phenomenon in the Games and Comics categories. Two big projects brought tons of new people to Kickstarter who went on to back more than 1,000 other projects in the following weeks, pledging more than $1 million. Projects bring new backers to other projects. That supports our mission too.

We understand the anxieties about these projects

The world we live in is hyper-competitive and often pits us against each other. If someone is winning, someone else must be losing, right? But that’s not what we see happening on Kickstarter.

We see everyone getting to decide what projects they want to see come to life. We see more opportunity for creative freedom for everyone. We see more people participating in the creative process. We see more things getting made than ever before.

Kickstarter is a new way for creators to bring their projects to life. Not through commerce, charity, or investment — through a new model powered by a willing audience. The Veronica Mars and Zach Braff projects offered backers tickets to the premiere, cameos in the movie, access to the creative process, and other experiences in exchange for pledges. Fans were thrilled, and 100,000 people jumped on board.

Over a million people have backed more than one project on Kickstarter. Some have backed dozens and even hundreds. Together we’re building a new model for creating. One that all of us can participate in, and one that’s getting stronger every day.

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