I’ve always been a little wary of Kickstarter. The nature of the site allows crowdfunding of projects that may not otherwise be possible through more traditional means. Most people when they support a project on Kickstarter understand there are risks involved. You’re typically supporting an untested product or idea, often with an inexperienced developer.
I’ve backed about a half dozen products using the Kickstarter service through the years. To date, I’ve received about half the products I’ve backed. Every one of my backed products has experienced a delay that has caused it to be pushed back a month or more from its anticipated ship date.
Most recently the Snapantor, a MagSafe replacement for USB-C enabled laptops is the latest Kickstarter to disappoint. Snapantor was originally supposed to ship in January, then got pushed to February and then the creators went silent for a while. The lack of communication has created more problems for Snapantor. The comments on the Kickstarter page are filled with angry backers claiming Snapantor is a “fraud”.
I recently contacted Snapantor as I now have to change my shipping address since so much time has passed since my original order. They replied promptly noting the change and included this comment:
“We are sorry to tell you that the shipping will be postponed to early May due to mass demands of backers. We are for for [sic] the delay and thank you for your understanding.”
I’m not willing to call the product or the creators a “fraud”. I suspect they were unprepared for the success of their campaign and likely ran into production delays and other problems. Hopefully, the delays are so they can ship a quality product. But, if that’s not the case, I won’t be shocked. These are the risks associated with backing a Kickstarter.
Backing projects, software or services may be a little different. They might involve less risk or uncertainty than physical goods. Sometimes I’ll back a product not necessary because I’m inserted in the product or service but because I want to support the creator.
There are many great products launched on Kickstarter. If you can get on the ground floor of something good, there are deals to be had. There is also the very real possibility that you’ll have to suffer delays, inferior products and possibly the loss of your money alltogether. It’s the nature of the beast and I’m just not sure that I want to play anymore.