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Why Would You Ever Give Money Through Kickstarter? -

Why Would You Ever Give Money Through Kickstarter NYTimes com


Stashed in: Economics!, Kickstarter, Awesome, Crowdfunding, Your argument is invalid., economics, Middle East

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But Kickstarter backers aren’t investors, and they aren’t looking for the project that will give them the greatest return on their money. Kickstarter does not function as a store (as its Web site goes to great pains to remind you), any more than PBS is “selling” you a tote bag in exchange for your donation. Kickstarter as a phenomenon is made much more comprehensible once you realize that it’s not following the logic of the free market; it’s following the logic of the gift.

This is why I stopped funding Kickstarter projects:

Some critics of Kickstarter have objected to the transaction fees collected by the site itself, which is the source of its revenue. Josh MacPhee, writing in The Baffler (for which Graeber often writes as well), complained that Kickstarter extracts value from social networks while giving nothing social in return.

Kickstarter takes. I no longer want to give.

So, what's the alternative?

Kickstarter provides a great service on many levels. Just compare it to IndieGogi to see the difference. As far as raising capital goes, whether it's VCs that take a cut in the long through equity or Kickstarter in the up front short term, why be upset about this?

So, here's the one I backed a few days ago:

An 8-year old CEO with a pitch that could stop fighting in the Middle East.  I love the accessibility and access that Kickstarter gives--well, an 8-year old CEO or a small project. Seems easier than a bake sale, and healthier to boot. Thoughts?

Dawn, that seems better served by CrowdTilt, which only charges 2.5%.

Chris, perhaps what I'm reacting to is how much KickStarter takes for itself. More competition in the crowdfunding space should reduce KickStarter to more reasonable fees, I hope.

Sure, more viable competition would be a great thing. Curious how these sites can differentiate though; I'd presume lower fees would mean cutting some aspect of the service -- be it design, customer service, customer acquisition, remarketing, etc... And then it's like -- are the fees really that bad?

It's interesting from an ed perspective--I'm looking at two crowdfunding startups in beta right now that are both for funding ed projects, and then there's Donor's Choose already. So, maybe the best service/fees/visibility will win out in the end? Either way, if you're in a position to be using Kickstarter (though I still think it's curious that prominent people use Seth Godin--he could put out two phone calls but chose Kickstarter....) do you mind 5%. Or is it more like when you have no choice than to go to check cashing...

I suppose if I were trying to fund something in my classroom, that would be 95% more funding than I get from my district, so I might not cry. I'm going to think about this...

This is well-said:

In 1983, Lewis Hyde, another writer inspired by gift economies, published “The Gift,” an examination of the nature of the creative impulse and its relationship to the market economy. Hyde emphasized the forward motion of the gift, arguing that artistic creation is propelled by eros, or love, rather than the logos of number-crunching, and as such it is incapable of being subsumed by the market. Even if art is sold, the forces that led to its existence operate according to the need to share something with the world. Hyde’s focus on the artist as creator and gift-giver is narrower than Graeber’s more historical approach, but it made “The Gift” a sensation and an inspiration to writers like Margaret Atwood and David Foster Wallace. And if Graeber’s work helps us understand the psychology of crowdfunding, then Hyde’s work is vindicated by Kickstarter’s success. The desire to make art has always been inherently social, not economic, and now, even in a society defined by the free market, the means to produce art can come from an inherently social mechanism as well.

Bonus Feature: Kickstarter by the Numbers

Total Projects Posted: 84,502

Total Projects Fully Financed: 35,405

Total Donations Since 2009: $470 million

Category With the Highest Success Rate: Dance (70.12%)

Lowest Success Rate: Fashion (27.42%)

Successfully Financed Projects That Raised More Than $1 Million: 20

Highest Total Amount Raised by One Project: $10,266,845 (Pebble E-Paper Watch)

Projects That Failed to Receive a Single Pledge: 9,265

Kickstarter-Financed Films That Appeared at the Sundance Film Festival in 2013: 17

Number That Won an Award: 5

(All statistics as of Jan. 29. From

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