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Kickstarter Introduces New Hardware and Product Design Project Guidelines

Soulskill posted about 2 years ago | from the but-my-weather-control-device-design-is-flawless dept.

Businesses 157

OakDragon writes "Kickstarter has introduced some more stringent guidelines and requirements specifically for the Hardware and Product Design categories. These new requirements are laid out in a blog post called 'Kickstarter Is Not a Store.' Simulations will now be prohibited. Video cannot show a proposed product, action, etc. — only a real product and what it does at the time. Product renderings and other simulated illustrations also will not be sufficient — the project creator will have to have photographs of a real prototype."

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Wow (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413701)

I'm still surprised no one tried yet to pull off a scam selling hardware that's just too good to be true, and then running with the money, never to be heard of again.

Where's my Ouya anyway??

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413801)

Are you sure? Why on earth would Kickstarter implement such a policy if no one has done this yet?

Re:Wow (1)

getSalled (1331585) | about 2 years ago | (#41413881)

The Ouya wasn't scheduled to ship until March 2013 so, assuming you didn't post this next year, there's still time for them to be late.

Re:Wow (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414443)

Well, if he posted it next year, it wouldn't be FIRST POST!, then would it?

Re:Wow (4, Informative)

uigrad_2000 (398500) | about 2 years ago | (#41414631)

Obviously you're not aware of the Eyez [kickstarter.com] scam.

The first update after they were successfully funded was a picture of the design crew enjoying a Caribbean vacation. They took $344,000 [dailydot.com] in the scam.

You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413723)

I'll bet most of these changes came out of the failures which is "Orbit":http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/832784035/orbit-a-swiveling-smartphone-suction-mount [kickstarter.com]

Nearly a year after getting their funding, their product is nowhere in sight, promises made were not kept, the funders are upset, the project owners are MIA and all of it gives Kickstarter a black eye.

Posting as AC because I'm a funder, but not related to the project or Kickstarter in any other way.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413821)

What kind of idiot would fund that? Oh wait....

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (3, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41413853)

Nearly a year after getting their funding, their product is nowhere in sight, promises made were not kept, the funders are upset, the project owners are MIA and all of it gives Kickstarter a black eye.

Maybe Kickstarter just needs to make this notice in large and blinking letters:

Kickstarter does not investigate a creator's ability to complete their project. Backers ultimately decide the validity and worthiness of a project by whether they decide to fund it..

I remember seeing that notice, but it isn't on the page you referenced (somewhere in the corner when you finalize backing/paying, but not shown you just browse projects).

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (5, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41413865)

Looks to me like they updated their page less than a month ago. $60k to fund something like is going to lead to delays.

Kickstarter is not buying a finished product, it is donating to get something hopefully created.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (3, Informative)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#41413907)

You're being a bit over dramatic - they sent an update less than a month ago, that's really not MIA. Looks like they just did a crappy job at foreseeing potential delays in the design process.

Not a funder, and not related to the project or KS in any way.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (2)

0100010001010011 (652467) | about 2 years ago | (#41413987)

Don't forget about CamCrate [kickstarter.com] . There are a few others out there that the project creator went MIA.

Now I'm part of a few projects that have had delays. Most of the problems come from the fact that they are outsourcing to China and it's hit or miss what you get. Some of them have overly optimistic timelines also. Most have never done a project like this before and get in way over their head.

Couple this with KickStarter getting linked to non-tech websites and it's just a recipe for disaster. For example I backed the FirePiston [kickstarter.com] . And it got linked to a bunch of outdorsy websites where I'm sure most people thought that they were actually pre-ordering something. So they're all up in arms about not getting something they were 'promised' in April.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (1)

ottothecow (600101) | about 2 years ago | (#41415361)

I want a FirePiston....

What is the current status of the project? unintended issues with the final design that didn't appear in the prototypes?

Funny you should mention that. (1)

publiclurker (952615) | about 2 years ago | (#41415599)

I just received an email stating that he finally started to receive product. fortunately, I wasn't relying on using it for this camping season. It also looks like a textbook case as to what sorts of problems you can have when you are a small company and you try to outsource your production to china.

And Pebble and Touchfire and Brydge and... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414013)

Few hardware projects seem to go well - the creators seem to always overestimate their abilities and underestimate development time!

Re:And Pebble and Touchfire and Brydge and... (5, Insightful)

queazocotal (915608) | about 2 years ago | (#41414335)

Hardware development is hard.
The below was written in respect of openspurcw mobile hardware.

To elaborate on why open-source hardware is hard.

Why open-source software works is:
Widely available repository of code.
Many people able to review it, or sections of it, and understand it.
Ease of submitting tested patches.

Hardware has problems that don't really fit well with this.
The open schematic is the trivially easy part, and not really a problem.
(though in practice, you need a schematic with copious links to design documents, which isn't well solved by open tools).

The number of people who can review it is rather smaller - as you can't
open up a c file, and see a clear error or awkwardness in code that can be edited.

For all but the most basic errors, you are going to have to sit down and
read several hundred pages of hardware documentation about how the chips in question work, in addition to having in-depth knowledge about the circuit design, and costings of likely changes.

Now, you've done this, and generated a patch that you think (for example) lowers the supply current by 1%.

Compile - test.
On a PC, this takes a couple of minutes.

For something of a smartphone class, a one-off PCB may cost several hundred dollars. Then the parts will cost another several hundred dollars in small quantities, as well as being difficult to obtain.
Now, you have to solder the parts onto the board, which is a decidedly nontrivial thing - and if you decide you want someone else to do this, it's probably another several hundred dollars.

So, you're at the thick end of a thousand dollars for a 'compile'.

Now, you boot the device, and it exhibits random hangs.

Neglecting the fact that you are going to need several hundred to several thousand dollars of test equipment, you now have to find
the bug.

Is it:
A) The fact that unlabled 0.5*1mm component C38 is in fact 20% over the designed value, as the assembly company put the wrong one in.
B) C38 has a tiny bridge of solder underneath it that is making intermittent contact.
C) The chipmaker for the main chip hasn't noticed that their chip doesn't quite do what they say it will do, and the datasheet is wrong.
D) You missed a tangential reference on page 384 of the datasheet to proper setup of the RAM chip, and it is pure coincidence that all models up till now have booted.
E) Because you're ordering small quantities, you had to resort to getting the chips from a distributor who diddn't watch their supply chain really carefully, and your main chip has in fact been desoldered from a broken cellphone.
F) Though the design of the circuit is correct, and the board you made matches that design, and all the parts are correct and work properly, the inherent undesired elements introduced by real life physics means it doesn't work.
G) A completely random failure of a part that could occur with even the best design, and best manufacture.

G - may mean that it's worthwhile making two or more of each revision - which of course boosts costs.

Hardware is nasty.

This gets a lot less painful of course for lower end hardware. For very limited circuits, which can be done on simple inexpensive PCBs, and be easily soldered at home - costs of a 'compile' can be in the tens of dollars, or even lower.

Re:And Pebble and Touchfire and Brydge and... (1)

syzler (748241) | about 2 years ago | (#41415547)

For something of a smartphone class, a one-off PCB may cost several hundred dollars. Then the parts will cost another several hundred dollars in small quantities, as well as being difficult to obtain. Now, you have to solder the parts onto the board, which is a decidedly nontrivial thing - and if you decide you want someone else to do this, it's probably another several hundred dollars.

I recently heard of BatchPCB [batchpcb.com] vendor by reading the tutorials on SparkFun's [sparkfun.com] website.

$10 setup fee plus either $2.50 (2 layer) or $4.00 (4 layer) per square inch of PCB board. So a 4.5" by 2.5" PCB would cost between $38 and $55 for the first board, which is a tad less than several hundred dollars. Granted, I do not know much about PCB classifications, so it may not be smartphone class, but I would think DIY open source hardware would not be designed so to an extremely narrow physical layout which could not be done by hand.

I'm not associated with either SparkFun or BatchPCB, I've recently run across them since I started researching how to get a custom PCB for a toy I am designing for my son.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (4, Interesting)

hack slash (1064002) | about 2 years ago | (#41414173)

Also, The AmbioLight I think is also to blame for the rule changes: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bc26/ambiolight-a-one-touch-room-makeover/ [kickstarter.com]

People discovered that the two scammers who setup the campaign hadn't innovated anything at all and were just acting as resellers of an existing product from a Chinese manufacturer as they had doctored exiting promotional images by removing the original manufacturers name. Oh and they added on an extortionate markup to the product.

Read: http://hackaday.com/2012/08/27/theres-trouble-brewin-on-the-ol-kickstarter-site/ [hackaday.com]

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (1)

nevermore94 (789194) | about 2 years ago | (#41415165)

Yeah, it looks like you can already buy the so-called "AmbioLight" from Elco Lighting.
It does look like an interesting product though:
http://www.elcolighting.com/categories/led-tape-light [elcolighting.com]

Change borne out of bad publicity (4, Interesting)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#41414265)

As one of the comments in the blog post notes, this looks like a change mostly to get negative press off KickStarter's back.

And yes, projects like Orbit or in fact many iDevice projects that are failing, or have failed - including the Hanfree project (Creator filed for Chapter 7 - quite a development as this is after a Backer sued him) - are an influence there.

But so are the NPR coverage. The Polygon article (with such bombshells as (paraphrasing) "Even if it is a fraudulent project - who's going to sue over a trivial amount of money?" - even though KickStarter takes a percentage of that fraudulently acquired fund). Their own recent 'Accountability' blog post, and so forth and so on.

Here's the thing, though. On that blog post, and this new one, they've gotten almost nothing but flack.
Prohibiting product renders - rather than requiring they be labeled as such - hinders many projects.
Prohibiting multiples pledge levels - rather than requiring a set limit - hinders many projects.
Prohibiting selling items based on what you plan for it to be able to do - rather than requiring them to only advertise with current features and allow further features to be added in e.g. updates - hinders may projects.
Moreover, all of these changes actually make KickStarter more of a store. The verbiage is such that you pretty much have to show a finished product and the only reason to try and CrowdFund is for mass production. That's practically the definition of pre-sales.

The most striking change, though, is the part where Creators in those categories now have to explain what risks there are and what challenges they face.
This is orthogonal to the 'accountability' blog post in which it was clarified that a Creator must either A. deliver or B. offer refunds.
That means there are no risks other than that of the Creator's to bear.
It's all good and well that KickStarter is trying to get Backers to think that they're really just donating - and Backers are welcome to think this and write off any money pledged that ends up going nowhere - but legally they have set Creators up to comply with, essentially, contract law.

I understand what KickStarter is trying to seem to do - protect Creators against themselves a little (make sure you have a viable product and production process thought out before you seek funding) and against Backers (by trying to ease them off demanding refunds), and Backers from dishonest Creators or indeed their own gullibility - but I feel like this is not the way to do it.

I wish KickStarter could decide - especially in legal terms - what it wants to be for these categories; a pre-sale platform, or a donation platform. It can't rely on the goodwill of Backers and Creators to be both.

Re:Change borne out of bad publicity (1)

Vintermann (400722) | about 2 years ago | (#41414653)

Prohibiting product renders - rather than requiring they be labeled as such - hinders many projects.
Prohibiting multiples pledge levels - rather than requiring a set limit - hinders many projects.

Yeah, but that is Kickstarter's right. They don't want all sorts of projects - obviously they are reluctant to turn down money, but from the start, they've had a specific ambition that separated them from their (largely invisible) predecessors: They want to fund

* Projects. Bounded effort somehow, not open-ended efforts like lobbying for net neutrality or running an orphanage.
* Creative projects. As in art of some sort.
* Things that won't happen anyway.
* Actual products. Not charity/begging.

Even though they're stretching it, you can plainly see the difference from competitors like IndieGoGo. Most projects there are "flexible funding", which is an euphemistic way of the project starters saying "I want all the money even if we don't reach the goal". This only makes sense if either the projects are not bounded, they are going to happen anyway, or the backers' only goal is putting money in the hands of the project starters (charity/begging).

The problem for Kickstarter - and it is a problem, despite their currently exponential success - is that they're not very successful in wrapping people's minds around the threshold pledge concept. As can be evidenced by their many would-be clones not offering it at all (e.g. RocketHub). People think of it as a purchase or a preorder, rather than the venture it is.

There is a lot more good that can be realized in the world by people collectively willing to take a risk, which can't be realized by people collectively wanting to make a purchase. Kickstarter is in that market, because they have a unique, brilliant market mechanism to support it (the treshold pledge mechanism).

Re:Change borne out of bad publicity (4, Insightful)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#41414877)

I understand what you're saying - but, again, their entire verbiage speaks against it.

Creative projects (I'll take this to be film, books, dance recitals, albums, photo projects, etc.) aren't affected by these new rules.
So what you have to look at is what KickStarter wants to be for the 'Hardware / Product Design' categories.

Their old rule was clarified in the 'accountability' post: deliver, or offer refunds. That makes it very much a 'sale' type platform.
Then the new rule changes - announced in a blog post saying that KickStarter is not a store - reinforce the idea that it actually is a store, by essentially making it so that you must have a finished product that merely needs mass production.

If they really want the whole 'risks and challenges' thing to fly, then Backers do, effectively, become donators and the 'deliver or offer refund' must not apply.

I'm not sure if people aren't 'getting' the threshold thing, by the way. Backers understand the threshold just fine - if the project doesn't meet the threshold, nothing happens (insofar as the KickStarter project goes). If it does meet the threshold, then things are supposed to take off.
Perhaps you mean that Creators don't quite get it - in that their threshold should be set realistically based on expected costs for development and manufacture + extra to be on the cautious side.

But then that's a failing in KickStarter's information supply. The 'risks and challenges' section may make Creators more aware by forcing them to think about it a little bit, but that should be seen entirely separately from how Backers believe KickStarter works or should work.

Mind you, I've always been a stern defender of the "KickStarter is not a store", and I live by that when pledging for projects myself. If a Creator were to offer a refund, I'd judge their (apparent) effort and decide based on that whether I want a refund or not. But legally speaking, it is very much looking like a store.

Re:You can probably thank "Orbit" for this... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41415499)

The project owners are MIA? I'm seeing regular updates on KS and Twitter.

Consider that these guys certainly have day jobs (having $60K doesn't exempt them from having to have jobs, least of all in an expensive city like San Francisco). When you're doing this sort of thing part time — designing the product, figuring out a manufacturing process, lining up a vendor to do the actual manufacturing — a year is pretty minimal, and two or three is more realistic.

But of course the project owners themselves didn't realize this, so I guess I shouldn't assume a Slashdotter who thinks his $25 went to waste knows any better.

Chip Design? (4, Informative)

K. S. Kyosuke (729550) | about 2 years ago | (#41413735)

"Product renderings and other simulated illustrations also will not be sufficient"

So, say "bye bye" to any useful home-grown ASIC project? (An open design GPU, perhaps?) Or am I expected to build a microCVD unit right next to my microbrewery in the basement?

Re:Chip Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413843)

Not necessarily. You'll need to provide proof that you can prototype this project when you get the money. They're saying you need to spell out the risks more clearly, since backers were getting uppity about not getting their 'promised' goods. They're saying, "This isn't a store; these people owe you nothing."

Re:Chip Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413919)

Pretty much.

To elaborate, I just sent off a round of papers to the IEEE J. Solid-State Circuits and IEEE Trans. Vis. Comp. Graphics detailing a architecture and 28nm CMOS implementation of a hybrid graphics processing unit/ray processing unit that could handle real-time ray/path tracing, among other things like photon mapping, of multi-million polygon scenes at resolutions of up to 3840x2160. I was going to follow this up with a Kickstarter and a round of VC funding to bring the device to the market, but, given their new rules against product renders, let alone simulations, I'll likely just go with VC and self funding.

Re:Chip Design? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41414033)

You think a VC is going to give you any money without a prototype unit of some sort?

Good luck.

Re:Chip Design? (1)

Jeng (926980) | about 2 years ago | (#41414167)

I'm wondering if a VC would fund anything that has a Kickstarter?

Re:Chip Design? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415173)

I never said that I didn't have a prototype. In fact, I had to have multiple chips fabricated, albeit at a larger size, and tested to even publish in the first place.

Part of what I'm objecting to are the rules related to simulations. While I tested a 65nm realization for the journal publications, I also rigorously simulated scaled-up versions of the design at 45nm, 32nm, 28nm, and 21nm. The fact that I might potentially be barred from mentioning the theoretical performance of the 28nm version, which is what I'd be wanting to offer, especially when it'd cost more than $1M for a limited run at TSMC or GlobalFoundaries, is a bit ridiculous.

Re:Chip Design? (4, Insightful)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 2 years ago | (#41414223)

Just post a picture of an unrelated chip and say its your prototype. There are a million ways to break rules if you try hard enough.

Re:Chip Design? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41414015)

My reading is that this would be okay. It is an actual prototype after all, which can be demonstrated as working.

Re:Chip Design? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414247)

Who prototypes asics directly on silicon?
Unless you're doing some weird analog shit, or MEMS you should just use an FPGA.
For other shit, just find a small FAB that can do what you want, and pay them for a one of run.

Re:Chip Design? (2)

tnk1 (899206) | about 2 years ago | (#41414407)

They probably need to make sure that tiers are not only amounts of money, but also represent investment in stages of the process of building it. In short, having a tier where at the end of it, they have a prototype and the prototype must be delivered to the satisfaction of the prototype tier funders before the rest of the money for production tier is freed from their account. This allows them to raise money for prototyping and production in parallel (to prove to themselves there is demand for the product), but at the same time, the funders don't lose money if they were mostly interested in supporting the product only if it exists.

You could also have the funders designate a panel of funders who would certify the prototype does exist before funds are released.

At that point Kickstarter makes it clear that investment in the prototype/research tier is high-risk and that the funders are essentially acting like venture capitalists or angel investors who put money into projects they really want to see work, but who may not get anything out of it. The project owner would then be responsible for making it desirable for people to invest in at that level.

Doesn't make sense (2)

Mitreya (579078) | about 2 years ago | (#41413775)

Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited.

So people would have to create multiple accounts if they want multiple quantities??

Today we added a new section to the project page called "Risks and Challenges".

That's a great idea! There should be some understanding that the creators may or may not succeed even if they honestly try.

Re:Doesn't make sense (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#41413875)

I read a comment in the discussion of the thread that notes that the rule does not prohibit pledging Z times a level's cost in expectation of getting Z instances of the level reward. Making sure the creator knows that's what you want may be a little more effort, though.

Re:Doesn't make sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413995)

I read a comment in the discussion of the thread that notes that the rule does not prohibit pledging Z times a level's cost in expectation of getting Z instances of the level reward.

So what _does_ it prohibit?

Re:Doesn't make sense (2)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#41414299)

It prohibits things like the 'reseller kit' levels, where you get multiple of the item and a display case.

Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (5, Insightful)

dgatwood (11270) | about 2 years ago | (#41413787)

So basically, what this new rule says is that if you don't already have a working prototype, don't bother to use Kickstarter. Otherwise, you'll have nothing visual that you would be allowed to show, and nobody will take an interest in your project. The whole purpose of mock-ups and other things is to help people quickly see the potential of your idea. Without that, the amount of effort required to sort the wheat from the chaff is excessive, and most people won't bother to donate to anything.

Make no mistake, it can certainly get awkward if people show mock-ups that can do twenty things and end up with a final design that can only do three, or that otherwise fails to live up to the expectations set by the mock-ups, but I don't see how that's any different from a textual description of what you hope to accomplish. So all this rule change does is ensure that Kickstarter is only useful for projects near the end of their product design lifecycle. And if you're that far along, you really don't need something like Kickstarter to reach the end.

So what is the purpose of Kickstarter again? Because I can't see any useful purpose for the site anymore. At this point, the entire model is broken beyond repair.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#41413893)

You could probably still use sketches; those are pretty obviously conceptual. But yeah, the renderings clause is getting more complaints than anything else in the discussion thread.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (4, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41413917)

Not at all, you can still have drawings and pre-production units. Just not renders, since they can easily confuse people into believing you have a near complete product.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about 2 years ago | (#41414079)

Not at all, you can still have drawings and pre-production units. Just not renders, since they can easily confuse people into believing you have a near complete product.

Since when is a drawing not a rendering of something that doesn't yet exist?

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41414143)

I believe this means computer renderings. The kind Kickstarter is riddled with that are designed to look as real as possible to fool rubes into thinking they are ordering a product.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (3, Insightful)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41414163)

You didn't understand him. 3D renders can be made such that it looks like a picture of a competed product which can be deceiving. No one will confuse a drawing with a picture of a completed product.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (4, Insightful)

preaction (1526109) | about 2 years ago | (#41413927)

From prototype to full production is a major undertaking. Just ask the Raspberry Pi folks.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

gtirloni (1531285) | about 2 years ago | (#41414071)

Exactly. I don't think people need funding to create a single prototype to show on Kickstarter.

The risk is just too high. Perhaps Kickstarter should allow projects without a working prototype but stamp big red noticing saying "high risk" on them.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41414159)

Or look at the sordid tale of Open Pandora [openpandora.org] . Too bad Kickstarter wasn't around when they got started.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41414213)

(It's not that sordid, I'm being too harsh)

They took pre-orders more than a year in advance and ran into a bunch of production issues. One thing they were able to do was refund my pre-order after a year and a half had gone by with nothing to show for it. Couldn't do that on Kickstarter.

By the time the product shipped, it's stellar specs had fallen to humdrum specs. Lately the project is focused on creating their sweet controllers for other devices and leaving the handheld creation to the big boys, the ones with engineering staffs, development budgets, and high capacity manufacturing capabilities.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (4, Insightful)

Joehonkie (665142) | about 2 years ago | (#41413939)

Your thinking makes no sense to me. Kickstarter is designed to get funding for a commercial endeavor. I dare you to go to any venture capitalist or investment firm without a working prototype. And no, "being that far along" that you can make a working prototype is exactly when you need an investment to mass produce something. Being able to make one working geegaw and being able to make 1 million geegaws to identical specifications and with a low margin of failure are not in any way the same thing. Investing in a product that lacks a working prototype isn't even gambling. It's throwing your money away.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

PhrostyMcByte (589271) | about 2 years ago | (#41414031)

This is to stop situations like the Pandora [openpandora.org] console, who's developers lied through their teeth about how ready they were to ship, took thousands of pre-orders, ran out of money, and now only ship 4 year old pre-orders when new ones are placed to cover the costs.

While there are a lot of great ideas, there are an equal number of total morons who don't know how to scale up production when their idea takes off.

It would be great if Kickstarter had a middle ground. People without any prototypes should be able to get support, but it needs to be made very clear to the supporters that any promises of product are very weak ones.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (3, Insightful)

Mike Buddha (10734) | about 2 years ago | (#41414055)

If all you have to show for your work is 3D renderings, then your hardware project isn't ready to solicit for donations or funding of any sort, Kickstarter or otherwise. There's nothing wrong with Kickstarters model. These new rules simply bring it more in line with the rest of the funding world.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about 2 years ago | (#41414133)

If all you have to show for your work is 3D renderings, then your hardware project isn't ready to solicit for donations or funding of any sort, Kickstarter or otherwise.

What if your concept is complex, and you need funding to produce the prototype? By your criteria, no one would ever create anything they cannot afford to create on their own. Care to try again?

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41414225)

Then kickstarter might not be the place for that. If you honestly cannot even produce a crude prototype then you are likely looking at something that will cost millions or more to make.

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (2)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41414371)

If all you have to show for your work is 3D renderings, then your hardware project isn't ready to solicit for donations or funding of any sort, Kickstarter or otherwise.

What if your concept is complex, and you need funding to produce the prototype? By your criteria, no one would ever create anything they cannot afford to create on their own. Care to try again?

Since you're "required" to return the funding if your project doesn't ultimately succeed, if you don't have the money to create your own prototype, Kickstarter might not be the right place to get funding -- if it turns out that the project is harder than you thought and after spending $100K on trying to get the prototype working, you just want to call it quits, how will you refund that $100K to your Kickstarter backers?

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

tomservo84 (990233) | about 2 years ago | (#41414077)

Couldn't agree with the parent more...what is Kickstarter FOR, now?

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

jemenake (595948) | about 2 years ago | (#41414419)

The whole purpose of mock-ups and other things is to help people quickly see the potential of your idea. Without that, the amount of effort required to sort the wheat from the chaff is excessive, and most people won't bother to donate to anything.

Well, I think what they're trying to quash is the flood of yahoos who have nothing but a notion... that "1% inspiration" which is also clogging up our patent system with stuff like "A car that runs on farts" without any technical development to actually make it actually exist.

Instead, now people will have to demonstrate that they possess some important skill necessary in making it work and, thus, they are uniquely deserving of financial backing. So, what kind of demos will we now see from Kickstarter? Hopefully, it will be stuff where the dude has wires and cords all over his workbench... "So, I wired this cellphone into this Arduino... and that's sending signals to the RaspberryPi, and here's this ugly HTML interface I wrote so that I can now have my cellphone detect when I wake up and it starts the car and warms it up for me without me having to do a thing. So, as you can see, it works. Now, I just need a hardware guy to make this into a gadget about the size of a pack of cigarettes and an HTML ninja to make the web interface all slick."

Now, if we're unlucky, nobody will bother going to those lengths, and we'll be left with dumb quickie shit like "So, I changed a <stupidunitaskhouseholdobject> so that it's also a bottle-opener"

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41415047)

Now, if we're unlucky, nobody will bother going to those lengths, and we'll be left with dumb quickie shit like "So, I changed a <stupidunitaskhouseholdobject> so that it's also a bottle-opener"

So, I changed a can-opener so that it's also a bottle-opener.... fund me!!!!!

Re:Netcraft confirms Kickstarter is dead? (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41414959)

So basically, what this new rule says is that if you don't already have a working prototype, don't bother to use Kickstarter. Otherwise, you'll have nothing visual that you would be allowed to show, and nobody will take an interest in your project. The whole purpose of mock-ups and other things is to help people quickly see the potential of your idea. Without that, the amount of effort required to sort the wheat from the chaff is excessive, and most people won't bother to donate to anything.

ASCII Art. Problem solved.

Conflicting message? (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41413805)

So its not a store, but you're also not allowed to show products that dont exist yet? Not sure what the point is then. If you have the product finished, why do you need kick-starter?

Re:Conflicting message? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41413845)

To get money to produce it in quantity beyond the prototype.

Re:Conflicting message? (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41414039)

Except many products and people could never get it that far (90% of the way to completion) without prior funding.

Re:Conflicting message? (1)

Algae_94 (2017070) | about 2 years ago | (#41414319)

There are a lot of cases of functional prototypes made cheaply that need funding to make the finished product. Perhaps all your electronics are on a breadboard and you need to get some PCBs printed up and reflow solder all the components to the PCB. You might have some rough metal housing that's been bent together and you want to get some injection molded plastic case. etc.

It seems there are differences of opinion on what a prototype is. I don't think of it as the first finished product waiting to be mass produced. I think of it as a functioning, but very rough product that needs improvements to make it better and in a condition that it can be mass produced easier.

Re:Conflicting message? (1)

Kenja (541830) | about 2 years ago | (#41414147)

Which is called "selling" the product via preorders, which is what you do with a "store". So where does kick-starter fit in?

Re:Conflicting message? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414199)

No it's not. If you think going from prototype to manufacturing is as easy as taking preorders you are completely clueless.

Re:Conflicting message? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41414279)

Not at all. Many commercial products fail going from prototype to product.

Tooling is expensive and fraught with possible problems. Then their comes the actual stamping/molding/fabrication which is another huge stumbling block. Before either of those begin you will want to select materials and such, which determine not only the properties of your product but how complex it will be to make. Can that plastic you want really be blown into that shape or will it have to be milled? Stuff like that. There are months to years of work going from prototype to production.

Re:Conflicting message? (2)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#41414415)

You're allowed to put up projects for things that don't exist. You're not allowed to make it look like it does exist already.

Good move. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413811)

This post was removed due to Dice content standards violations.

I'm starting a new site (5, Funny)

Compaqt (1758360) | about 2 years ago | (#41413829)

Simulations will now be prohibited. Video cannot show a proposed product, action, etc. â" only a real product and what it does at the time.

Since Kickstarter won't let you raise funds to create a product, I'm starting kickstarterstarter.com to allow people to crowdfund being able to get onto Kickstarter.

Re:I'm starting a new site (2)

kevkingofthesea (2668309) | about 2 years ago | (#41413973)

Can I get my Turturkeykey business started on there?

Re:I'm starting a new site (1)

PeanutButterBreath (1224570) | about 2 years ago | (#41414991)

Can I get my Turturkeykey business started on there?

Is it turn-key?

Re:I'm starting a new site (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41413985)

Have you put this site on to Kickstarter yet? I'd like to support the development.

Re:I'm starting a new site (1)

hawguy (1600213) | about 2 years ago | (#41414473)

Simulations will now be prohibited. Video cannot show a proposed product, action, etc. â" only a real product and what it does at the time.

Since Kickstarter won't let you raise funds to create a product, I'm starting kickstarterstarter.com to allow people to crowdfund being able to get onto Kickstarter.

How will kickstarterstarter.com weed out scammers with no intention of ever creating a product? I think Kickstarter is just trying to make sure that the project founder has put in enough time and money of his own to have created a prototype before he can accept more money. Anyone can set up a project to take money to pay for a "prototype", then in 6 months can say "Oh sorry, it's harder than I thought, I spent all of your money on the prototype but couldn't make it work". And there's really no way to know if they put any work into the project at all, or if they spent the money on drugs and hookers.

At least with a working prototype, potential funders can see that the project is fundamentally possible.

Is this being a little too protective? (1)

91degrees (207121) | about 2 years ago | (#41413899)

I realise Kickstarter has a business to run, and they need to retain a certain reputation. The risks and challenges is a good idea.

I can't help thinking that the prohibition on simulations is a little too protective. It's useful to give some sort of idea of what a product might do, and as long as it's clear that it's a simulation I think backers should be able to accept that there's a risk here.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

rodrigoandrade (713371) | about 2 years ago | (#41413963)

But, but, but then I have to choose for myself and will have no one to blame/sue if I get scammed!!!

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about 2 years ago | (#41414149)

But, but, but then I have to choose for myself and will have no one to blame/sue if I get scammed!!!

Caveat emptor! However, I have a feeling you're just being sarcastic.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41414519)

Yes, and people will also stop funding Kickstarter projects if the site gets a reputation for being filled with scams. Kickstarter isn't removing any risk, they're setting standards to boot people who are on the site solely trying to scam people.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (-1)

FatAlb3rt (533682) | about 2 years ago | (#41414023)

There have been a few software projects funded there too - how do you show a working prototype for that? Kickstarter is good to create the working capital needed to develop the project. This rule all but kills new software development.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about 2 years ago | (#41414111)

This rule does not apply to software, RTFA.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41414263)

Kickstarter has introduced some more stringent guidelines and requirements specifically for the Hardware and Product Design categories.

Geez it's spelled out in the first sentence of the summary. Couldn't even read that far?

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (2)

QuasiSteve (2042606) | about 2 years ago | (#41414377)

There have been a few software projects funded there too - how do you show a working prototype for that?

Please note that these new rules are only applicable to the Hardware and Product Design categories (the two are practically interchangeable).

So this doesn't apply to (short) films, music albums, dance recitals, software, books, photograph projects, etc.

Re:Is this being a little too protective? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | about 2 years ago | (#41415023)

So this doesn't apply to (short) films

IE. Pornography.

Deflating the bubble (2)

hedpe2003 (1735078) | about 2 years ago | (#41413997)

Looks like Kickstarter is trying to combat the idea which seems pretty popular around here - that crowdfunding is a bubble waiting to burst. Clearly, not everyone understands that the point of Kickstarter is to help fund a project's effort - rather than buying goods. The goods only come if the product succeeds. They would clearly be better in the short term to ENCOURAGE the misunderstanding - because people like to feel comfortable that their donations will get something in return. But instead, the improved guidelines trade sustainability for short term profits.

I think this sounds like a really good fine tuning of their policy, to deal with real world risks.

Not sure if this is going to hurt or help my soon to be crowdfunding attempt... because I'm not sure how this affects software? Clearly - the new Risks and Challenges section is well needed, though.

Re:Deflating the bubble (1)

thoughtlover (83833) | about 2 years ago | (#41414449)

Looks like Kickstarter is trying to combat the idea which seems pretty popular around here - that crowdfunding is a bubble waiting to burst.

I don't see a bubble waiting to burst with the crowd-sourcing paradigm. If Kickstarter wants to limit how a project can be introduced, there is no reason that someone else can't start a similar system. A friend of mine started a similar site in the city I live - communityfunded.com - and several projects have now been funded by locals for locals (and abroad).

With the success of 'pay-what-you-want' (Radiohead's "In Rainbows") and 'donate-what-you-want' (Humble Bundle), and micropayment systems like Flattr, traditional systems of funding have gone out the window. If NFC takes off, expect it to allow all sorts of micropayments to be given to all sorts of people... imagine 'bumping' the tip jar with your phone to show appreciation for your favorite barista..

Re:Deflating the bubble (1)

suutar (1860506) | about 2 years ago | (#41414543)

It doesn't really affect software, as far as I can tell.

Re:Deflating the bubble (1)

Desler (1608317) | about 2 years ago | (#41414699)

It won't affect you at all since this is about hardware and product design categories as the summary explicitly states.

Well, at least the criteria are laid out now. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414003)

Luke Leighton's been having trouble getting KickStarter to allow a kickstarter campaign for EOMA-68 CPU cards, as he posted here [phcomp.co.uk] , so maybe this will at least make the requirements clear instead of going round and round with emails.

Wrong Way to go about it (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41414019)

Yes I get the idea, but KS is to fund development of stuff, and if you are going with KS you probably do not have a fully functional product (and simulations will be needed to show off what you want to create). As long as you make sure you make obvious that it is a simulation, and not actual footage, it can only be beneficial to the developer.

Store? No. Advertisement? Yes. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414043)

Seems like Kickstarter is trying to kill two issues with one stone and fumbling with the execution here. This does nothing to prevent Kickstarters like the recent Fangamer retrowear "project" (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/fangamer/fangamer-retrowear), which essentially abuse Kickstarter as a source of advertisement. In this case, advertisement for apparel that was mostly already in existence (if out of stock) on their own site.

This will help the Scammers (1)

wisnoskij (1206448) | about 2 years ago | (#41414097)

So since simulations/renders can sometimes look too much like the real thing to tell apart, they are now banned. So if you cannot tell them apart, how will you enforce this rule?

Since this will only hurt people who care about rules, this will just make the fake scam projects look better in relation to the real projects.
And if scammers were already able to make renders that could fool people, well they will just continue to do so.

Re:This will help the Scammers (1)

Fwipp (1473271) | about 2 years ago | (#41414661)

It's easier to fool some people than all people.

Patents (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414117)

The U.S. patent office should take some notes on this.

How does this affect game developers? (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | about 2 years ago | (#41414121)

If i'm understanding this correctly, this would mean a game developer would have to have a working copy of the game to use kickstarter to acquire funds, or would a working demo be applicable? I ask this because I've seen a number of projects that were little more than storyboards.

Re:How does this affect game developers? (1)

Winchestershire (1495475) | about 2 years ago | (#41414191)

Now that I think about it, since it says hardware, I suppose games wouldn't be included anyways since they are software.

Re:How does this affect game developers? (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41414295)

It doesn't effect them at all. The first sentence of the summary made it pretty clear on what categories this affected.

Risk is risky! (1)

Fishbulb (32296) | about 2 years ago | (#41414273)

Is our society really so caught up in itself that we can't just admit we got scammed for a few bucks on a bet and walk away? Now Kickstarter has to do some CYA limbo so they don't get sued because they "enabled" scammers?

If you can't handle the risk, you don't deserve the payoff, and you shouldn't stick out your nose in the first place. Stay home.

Re:Risk is risky! (1)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 2 years ago | (#41414365)

On the other hand, Kickstarter should do all it can to prevent scammers from ruining their reputation.

Kickstarter: Now more stringent that the USPTO ! (5, Insightful)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about 2 years ago | (#41414567)

You might not be able to scam people on Kickstarter.
But you can get a bogus patent without POC or a product and sue everybody who actually build stuff.

Oh the irony!

Wrong headed (1)

pubwvj (1045960) | about 2 years ago | (#41414741)

This is wrong headed. The 'product' in all the other categories is non-existant yet 'creators' get to present 'simulations' of it be it a trailer, a drawing or a description.

Oh, and Kickstarter is a store. It is a store of ideas, of potential, of the future, where people who believe can back projects they want to be a part of, those they want to succeed, those they would like the product from. Kickstarter says so themselves, that the rewards should ideally be the product produced by the project.

Time limits too (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41414743)

I'd like to see some time limits on delivery too. Like:

10 Backers Pledge $X
20 You get .5*$X
25 If you can deliver, goto 60
30 You fail to deliver after Y time
40 .5*$X is refunded to backers
50 goto END
60 You deliver
70 You get the other .5*$X
END

I'm fine with the fact that you're taking a risk to fund a thing, but with a lot of products, you're giving money because you want a widget (you're familiar with stores right?).

Kickstarter says they aren't a store, that's OK, but since they aren't (and legally can't be) a real investment portal (where you buy a share in the future of a company), they should try and provide some minimal protection to backers (which is also an incentive to creators to actually set reasonable timetables and deliver a product).

I suspect most kickstarter's have good intentions, but it wouldn't be that hard to scam users with a pretty looking widget that never shows up.

Some more focused/guided/directed discussion on your capabilities to deliver would be nice (do you have any experience getting something manufactured?). I guess they're sort of covering that in the risk assesment. If a project is asking for a ton of money, and kickstarter thinks it looks legit, maybe they could actually send a human on site, provide their assessment, do an interview, etc. Any real VC would do that, but micro-funders giving 20 bucks aren't/can't.

Seems like it kills mold-based technologies. (1)

dbc (135354) | about 2 years ago | (#41415143)

One of the projects I funded (and got great stuff from) is a kind of structural aluminum extrusions. Another project has injection molded plastic parts. The point of the KickStarters in both cases was to raise money to make molds. It seems like these new rules prohibit things like: "Here is 3D print of the thing that we want to injection mold." Or in the case of aluminum extrusions, then what are they supposed to show? It seems like a rendering of that is just fine.

The *real* problem is projects started by people that have no idea how to program manage a project, have no manufacturing experience, and have no shipment and fulfillment experience. They get in over their heads and crash. When I pledge to a project, I try to ascertain if the person has ability to pull it off. I really don't care if you can't yet show me the thing you want to build. I'm much more interested in things you have built/shipped in the past.

There is a big difference between building 1 or 2 of something for yourself and a friend, versus building 500 of something and then shipping it all to customers. I agree Kickstarter needs a cluelessness filter. I don't think what they propose is quite it yet.

Now they need... (1)

fm6 (162816) | about 2 years ago | (#41415247)

...a blog entry titled, "Kickstarter is not a venture capital broker."

OK, I guess people probably figure that out before they put their money down, But you do hear people talking about their "investment" in KS projects. Since you don't get to share in any profits, it's definitely not an investment. Really, it's more like charity, with rewards. Sort of like public broadcasting.

I have to say I'm not comfortable with tech startups relying on charity. Yeah, it's cool that companies like Pebble can get the startup money they need at a time when traditional credit is hard to get. But jeez, they're a business — passing the hat for their startup costs just doesn't feel right.

Kickstarter started out as a way to fund artistic projects — economically useless stuff that's theoretically of cultural value. I might stretch that a little to marginally economic ventures (if some director I admire were to use KS to raise money for a low-budget movie, I'd give, and I wouldn't even want free tickets) . But digging in my pocket to help fund the next iPhone? Nuh uh,

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