Crowdfunding is becoming a legitimate tool for inventors, merchants, and creative people to raise money for their wares. Whether it’s the funds needed to mass-produce a new piece of hardware, or the funds needed to take a year off in order to write a book, sites such as Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer people a new way of raising money from the public.
Using Ouya, the $99, Android-powered, emulator-ready games console, as an example of both the positive and negative sides of crowdfunding, we asked for your views on the phenomenon. Crowdfunding seems set to keep on growing, so gaining an insight into how the MakeUseOf readership thinks about it all was a good idea, or so we thought.
We asked you, What Are Your Views On Crowdfunding Through Sites Like Kickstarter? I’m ashamed to say we only had five people contribute to the debate. Whether this was down to the choice of subject matter, the overlong and (potentially) confusing title, or the offer of a T-shirt to the best comment of the week not being enough motivation to bother, isn’t clear. But it’s a shame nonetheless.
With so few people contributing their views to the discussion it’s impossible to reach any kind of consensus. Instead we’ll look in closer detail at a few of the points raised:
- Backers invest in an idea with more than just money, feeling they’ve become part of something from the beginning. Unfortunately this means any perceived wrongdoing from the people behind the project causes frustration and confusion.
- As well as adding investors, a crowdfunding project offers a form of market research. If a project fails then the idea just may not be good enough, and if it succeeds beyond all expectations then the creator’s passion is rewarded.
- Crowdfunding offers a viable alternative to the usual forms of business. It cuts banks and money lenders out of the equation, and lets creative people operate freely without the need to be acquired and/or marketed by an agent or publisher.
Comment Of The Week
With so few commenters taking part in the debate, everyone who did take the time and effort to comment is getting a namecheck. We had great input from SH, dragonmouth, Derek, and Junil Maharjan. Comment Of The Week goes to Leland Whitlock, who won with this comment:
I have read a lot about Kickstarter and similar sites recently. One of the themes was how rich people often get pushed to give lots on these projects so avoid any bad press or what not. But on the other side of it you have some genuinely great ideas from people with few resources and this gives those people a great platform to take those ideas and fly with them turning dreams into reality. Kind of like the old idea of America being the land of opportunity. So overall I think it is a great platform but the people giving need to realize these ideas are a business opportunity and the ones doing the campaign are trying to start a business not be friends. For giving we might get an early model or just updates on the project based on what we give. We should not expect more. Also as with any business there are lots of things that can go wrong and often when trying to launch a product you don’t have time for much else. We all need to be patient and not judge to harshly as long as we get whatever was promised.
We will be asking a new question tomorrow, so please join us then. We Ask You is a weekly column dedicated to finding out the opinions of MakeUseOf readers. We ask you a question and you tell us what you think. The question is open-ended and is usually open to debate. Some questions will be purely opinion-based, while others will see you sharing tips and advice, or advocating tools and apps to the MakeUseOf readership. This column is nothing without your input, all of which is valued.
Image Credit: Rocio Lara