'What did you expect?': Gizmodo/Kickstarter edition

Gizmodo are apparently done with Kickstarter.

Starting today, you will not see any items from Kickstarter posted on Gizmodo. Unless we are making fun of them. Or unless Kickstarter figures out a way to up the quality of the shit on its site. We are all for rampant innovation, but, at this point, Kickstarter is little more than spam: a whole lot of noise that sometimes results in a poorly made piece of wannabe signal destined for the landfill.

Why? Apparently, they are duping too many people including the writer of the post, Joe Brown. He has apparently contributed to a dozen project and regrets all but two other them. In other words, he has a 16.67% hit rate. Think about that. In innovation, that hit rate is probably better than what most funders get. Apparently, one of the ones that he really regretted was a plug-in iPhone case. This one got lots of media attention and looks like a pretty decent idea. But Brown realised that it would take too long to produce and by the time wouldn’t work with the iPhone he wanted; even when the venture itself anticipated this by pre-selling the case for whatever the next iPhone would be. In other words, despite what is pretty darn clear about Kickstarter — you know, that it is giving start-ups an initial kick — he believed that they should be able to adhere to established business timetables. What did he expect?

Now there others who find the whole Kickstarter model demeaning and regard any successes as really preying on those, apparently like Brown, who don’t understand what Kickstarter is really doing. I must admit that it has always seemed pretty clear even if the contract wasn’t a real sales contract. But it is also true that if Kickstarter or projects on them are misleading then that is something for people to look at.

But why engage in a blanket boycott? I have no doubt that there are lots of bad pitches and bad product ideas on Kickstarter. For one, we expect that which is why it is put up to the crowding funding vote. In addition, like pitches to traditional funders, there are going to be pitches that are flawed or undeliverable and possibly knowingly so. It is the job of news organisations, of which Gizmodo purports to be, to actually look at things going and give us an assessment as to whether they are worthy of attention. To cut off a whole platform because of a mere ‘subjective’ 16.67% return is ludicrous and an abdication of precisely what I was reading them for. Provide me evidence that Kickstarter is worth a boycott and I am all ears. But through a rant, come on? Gizmodo, there are substitutes for you. I think I may have to reorganise my feed reader.

4 Replies to “'What did you expect?': Gizmodo/Kickstarter edition”

  1. I deleted Engadget (as well as Gizmodo) from my Feed-Reader a few months back. Too many post without value, to much fanboy-isms.
    I now read digitaltrends.com for my mainstream digital-news, and it’s a huge step forward. But I am still looking for something like engadget from 5 years back…
    I will check out Michael two suggestion, but keep em coming 😉

  2. I’ve jumped onto the Kickstarter bandwagon for three items:
    – PadPivot – a versatile stand for tablets and ereaders;
    – Cosmonaut – a pen designed to work with the touchpads of tablets and ereaders; and
    – a NASA MMO Online Game.

    The two tablet accessories were completed (almost) according to their stated schedules, and the NASA game is cruising along.

    The neat thing about Kickstarter is that there are so many projects, if you select wisely you will have a decent shot at helping good products get going. If you foolishly treat them as anything besides a start-up (with the associated risks), you will eventually be disappointed.

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