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Show HN: Launch your own hosted SelfStarter without writing a line of code (crowdhoster.com)
89 points by knighthacker on Jan 30, 2013 | hide | past | web | favorite | 31 comments

Thank you. I have some ideas for you guys. KickStarter doesn't want to go the route of "being a store" and selling pre-sales. This is EXACTLY what a lot of us want and the direction I think you should go in.

In fact set it up in a way that makes Pre-Sales the main attraction. It would make things so much easier.

When I was running my ToDoCal kickstarter the biggest pain in the ass was trying to set up prizes and calculating the cost to fulfill them. Because kickstarter isn't set up like a store that accepts pre-sales I would have to double the cost of all my "prizes" so as to buffer the cost of fullfilling expensive orders. Shipping to Chicago would be $6, shipping to San Francisco was $10, international shipping was $16. But I can't charge different people different prices, so I had to forcing everyone to pay a higher price to keep it safe.

By designing Crowdhoster as a pre-sales store you can eliminate that completely. USPS shipping api's can calculate the exact cost each backer should pay down to the penny. You could offer your backers discounts based on bulk orders and have an idea of where your products are going so you can design packaging to be more efficient.

Basically make a pre-sales store with minimum order requirements where anyone can place orders and their card is charged only when the minimum order is reached after X amount of time.

Chris - love your ideas here. I head up our API at Crowdtilt and spearheaded the CrowdHoster project. We're psyched to get cracking on features like this.

Product pre-sales drove Lockitron to create SelfStarter in the first place...clearly a huge use case. With our API we'll be able to get more creative with the payment flow, allowing dynamic cost calculation like you describe with different shipping scenarios.

These are all great points. If you do go this route, I'd spend a bit of time on figuring out the proper way to handle the actual exchange of money from escrow to product holder to avoid scam artists.

One day self-crowdfunding will be as easy as hosting a blog. Not yet, but this is a good step towards that direction. I certainly wouldn't mind it if in 10 years crowdfunding is what powers the internet.

We built the exact same service last month http://www.jumpcrowd.com/ The hosted SelfStarter movement will open up crowdfunding in the same way services like Blogger and WordPress opened up blogging platforms. KickStarter probably won't survive in its current form.

You would seem a lot more professional and trust worthy if you didn't have the word SHIT in your tagline.

You're probably right but this was a side project we hacked together just to see if we could do it. My partner put it up there and I thought it was funny. We're not taking ourselves too seriously.

"Just stay within the law"

And what law would that be? Clearly I would guess that you mean "US law", but isn't this an important piece of information to anyone hoping to fund a potentially large sum of money through your platform?

KickStarter is a platform. We have no intention of being a platform or a brand funders recognize. We're meant to be an invisible layer and only serve as a mechanism to get your project online.

Hey, this is Yancey from Kickstarter here. We think projects like this are great, which is part of the reason we open-sourced the Amazon FPS code that we use at Kickstarter, which was then used in Selfstarter and Crowdhoster. It's on Github here: https://github.com/kickstarter/amazon_flex_pay

For us, Kickstarter is a big experiment and we're constantly learning what works, what doesn't, and making changes as we go. We want to provide the best possible space for creators to share their projects and for people to connect with them. We think we're doing a pretty good at that, but of course there's always more to learn.

If you're curious, we have many of our stats available (live) here: http://www.kickstarter.com/help/stats

This is fantastic!

16 hours ago, I asked this: http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=5138705 and now you just conveniently come along with the perfect answer!


Nice! Psyched to work with you on your project.

Is this new framework your baby? I really love the idea of being able to tailor a kickstarter style effort more to product pre-orders instead of trying to shoehorn it into kickstarter's model.

For instance, I absolutely intend to deliver a product to each person if it gets funded. None of this wishy-washy garbage. I have a design, I have quotes from the factory that will make them, and if you preorder a light you will receive it. If you don't you have every right to sue me or ask for your money back. I also think it's totally reasonable that if the project meets the goal, to switch it from "preorder mode" to "order mode" since at that point I'd rather just have the cash so that I can start the procurement process. No sense waiting for a month before ordering, right? Not with quotes on hand sitting on my computer waiting for my approval.

What kinds of constraints does your system have? Are the types of things I mention above possible in your framework?

I read somewhere that the challenge with posting your projects with Kickstarter is getting the attention of people and hence most of them do not reach their funding goal.

I think as an entrepreneur, you are gonna need to do your homework and figure out how to get the attention to your project regardless of using Kickstarter or not.

Lockitron was a perfect example that used Selfstarter to fund their project and got a lot of attention from users without the help of any organization like Kickstarter.

i agree with this ^. if you're going to launch a project that you hope builds the momentum to fund +$100,000 of your capital needs, it might be worth putting aside $5k or so for strategic PR or hiring a PR person for the launch of your own crowdfunded project.

And Lockitron proved with a product people want and getting people to notice it, you can do really well without Kickstarter (+$2,000,000 to date I believe).

Thanks for this advice, I will be taking it to heart. I know I'm not good at PR, and think that people will really want to get my product if only I was able to tell them about it. I mean, it's a fully programmable, 10W RGB+white LED light with a built in arduino core, microphone for audio responsive mode, and has extensibility to allow for wifi, DMX, or any other communications you want. Not to mention hallucinatorator mode:


which uses the ganzfeld effect to make crazy hallucinations happen.

I don't even care that someone could completely steal my design because it's open hardware and open source; I would happily pay $70 to get one of my own lights!

So then the question is... since I've been working so hard on this that I haven't been working enough real job to have savings to speak of, I wonder if there is a good PR person I could hire that would defer payment until after a project was successful...

Let me know if anyone knows someone who might be interested!

Kickstarter or self-hosted crowdfunding site, getting the attention of people is going to be the difference. With Kickstarter there is at least some sort of community and set of discovery tools that can draw a bit of extra attention to really great or already high profile projects. It seems self-hosted crowdfunding sites would place the burden of funding entirely on the project poster's personal network and PR prowess.

As usual there's pros and cons to either approach. We love Kickstarter, and agree that the community is a strong asset...but we also believe a lot of project owners will benefit from an alternative approach that puts them in more control of their campaign (and provides continued follow-up with their users after the initial campaign runs its course, which is actually a hugely important aspect)

This is great to see. I'm working on something similar which has a few more features is focused on integrating into other brands websites or social networks.

I think this is going to be an exciting arena with a lot of market potential. The current marketplaces support a small percentage of the audience and free form platforms can let anyone crowdfund.

This is just a great project. Thank you! I submitted my own proposal.

I was going to use kickstarter, but it simply did not match very well with what I plan to launch. This however, fits just right.

Also, great landing page. I don't know what is your conversion rate, but from experience I can tell that it just works.

As a user I would feel more comfortable buying from a trusted source such as kickstarter because I feel like there is more of a guarantee of getting my money back if the project never gets off the ground

There's no guarantee of getting your money back if a project fails on Kickstarter though... http://venturebeat.com/2013/01/22/why-this-jilted-kickstarte...

There could easily be more of a guarantee if you host it through your own website. If you don't finish the project, and didn't explicitly state that funding was to "try" rather than a preorder, I'd see it as far more likely to be finished.

I don't know a ton about crowdfunding... but what could be the downside of using Kickstarter? Seems to me that it comes with free audience and offers some security for the backers.

Some projects like Lockitron aren't allowed anymore, so that's a big reason for them not using Kickstarter (and app.net I don't think was allowed either). But another reason is that Kickstarter is US/UK-only, and with the Crowdtilt API on the backend of this version it's international.

In addition to that, with this wordpress-style version, you get to use your own URL/and customize the branding if you want, the users become your users, it's your credit card processing (so you get that data too for future up-sells or feature purchases), and it saves you from paying the Kickstarter fees (this one is free, and Kickstarter charges up to 10%).

It has no problem to run a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter until Kickstarter disallows you to do that on their platform.

SelfStarter was created by the Lockitron team to run their own crowdfunding campaign because Kickstarter didn't allow them to run their campaign on Kickstarter.

Eventually, I still see Kickstarter as the main/most important crowdfunding platform. Like many closed platform versus opened platform plays, it seems like most of the closed platforms win eventually.

I might be wrong on this but I would like to see example on the opposite case.


Are there any hosted SelfStarter services that work with bitcoin?

Thanks! I'll test it out..

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