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Kickstarter sucks at pre-orders (or: Why we pivoted) (swish.com)
34 points by Bradosaur 1737 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 21 comments

I strongly do not approve of having a website that lists "pre-orders" and then links Kickstarter projects. As has already been mentioned repeatedly in this thread Kickstarter is not pre-orders even if users, and sometimes projects, treat it as such.

Treating it as such is not only incorrect but actively hurts the Kickstarter concept and brand. You are literally causing direct harm to the service which your website is largely dependent on. That's very uncool. :(

Did you read the "what is Kickstarter?" page before making this? Because Kickstarter isn't about pre-orders, its about backing projects. The "Kickstarter Is Not a Store" post on their blog is pretty clear about it all.

I'm not saying that an alternative browser for Kickstarter projects doesn't have merit. Or that a meta-directory sat on top of Kickstarter (and others) isn't a useful service. I'm just saying that your framing of it (pre-orders) is actually opposed to the ethos of the underlying service.

Kickstarter never intended to be a place for pre-orders. But it's hard to deny that a lot of campaigns treat the plaform that way. We think it's amazing and wonderful, but Kickstarter doesn't really want it on their platform (though they're not fighting very hard, see eg the Almond+... a story for a different day).

Both consumers and sellers want these transactions to happen, and we want to (eventually) be the best place to list. But for now, we're starting by being the best place to shop.

Kickstarter sucks at pre-orders...

...because Kickstarter is not for preorders. Also, my car is an awful boat.


I thought that blog post didn't live up to the title. It mainly said two things: 1) no renderings and 2) no offering multiple quantities, and they're not even enforcing the second part (Lace Anchors, eg).

The post itself says, "The new guidelines only apply to [projects] that are developing new products ... that backers are expecting in their mailboxes." They're not disallowing such campaigns at all. But we are offering an easier alternative.

[Edit: clarity]

Kickstarter sucks at preorders because (a) people use them for preorders and (b) they don't embrace the fact people use them for preorders. Why does it matter what they say in a blog post? Swish is reacting to how they see some people _use_ Kickstarter.

And what's wrong about having a place to discover cool things you can pre-order? I pre-ordered a Pocket Monkey on Swish a few months ago. It came this week and it's awesome.

I don't want to be that guy, but clicking on your logo on your blog takes me back to... your blog. Super annoying.

I am so embarrassed. I had fixed it on the other WP theme, but then switched themes to F2. Thanks, it's fixed now!

Are you sure you are solving an actual problem? I've backed a dozen projects, and never gone to to the kickstarter.com home page looking for a project.

I'm not sure many people spend time browsing for things to back. People just hear about interesting projects via HN, twitter, reddit, facebook, etc., and then transact via Kickstarter.

Creators tell us that around 30% of their traffic comes organically from Kickstarter. There are some people browsing on Kickstarter -- but it's not really set up to help them browse. We just want to make it easier :)

So, in essence, the problem is that KickStarter is noisy at scale and you're essentially selling a filter. Maybe the title of the post should have been "KickStarter Sucks, Long Live KickStarter"

My initial thought was 'is this solving a real problem', but then I checked it out and have ended up backing a project. Definitely a cool service to help promote product based Kickstarters.

Are you still planning on taking 35% of markup? I commented in a previous post on HN that I thought that was too high for the value you're adding. I don't see this discussed on your website. There is mention of a "wholesale price". What factors determine the wholesale and retail price? Also how do you handle returns/refunds/exchanges?

I still think this has the potential to become a great service, but I'm not convinced you understand (yet) the pain/problem that you've built a solution for.

Don't tell anyone but we're going to switch to free listings soon. Sellers still have to use our fulfillment, though -- it's the only way we can guarantee delivery.

> So, following the apocryphal advice, we imagined the future, and built it. A refreshing pre-order store for sellers and shoppers alike.

Isn't Kickstarter always trying to get people to stop referring to them as preorders? You are supposed to back a project, and you are supposed to get a reward if its successful; but they are NOT preorders.

That's where people keep getting in trouble. They "preorder" something off Kickstarter and then complain when the project fails.

Swish looks cool and useful for finding fun new toys. Good work!

If you're trying to help people find cool stuff on Kickstarter and elsewhere...fine (good luck with that). But "Kickstarter sucks"? Really? Really lame.

I came to a similar conclusion with something that I'm building so I realised to focus on the people with inbuilt audiences on social media & their web presence (creators, charities, product makers, etc). Rather than building another marketplace.

You say 'pre-order with guaranteed delivery,' but doesn't that mean in cases where the creator underestimated project difficulty and the product is never finished, backers will be asking you for their money back? How are you going to deal with that?

When you list on Swish, you don't get the money until you deliver the product. Much like dealing with Target or Wal-Mart. If it never shows up, shoppers automatically get refunds after 1 year. This also really changes the incentives for creators... only list if you're sure it'll succeed.

Some creators need the money up front, but most don't. (Creating the prototype was comparably expensive, and they found a way.) Once you have the Purchase Order, it's a lot easier to get VC funding, a bank loan, or use friends/family/savings. If your project is very successful, you can deliver in batches and we will release your money accordingly.

One of the weird things about Kickstarter is that every product needs to explain why they need the money, even the ones that don't.

swish sucks at crowdfunding

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