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.
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?
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.
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 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)
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 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.
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.
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%).