Yesterday evening, Kickstarter announced a set of new project guidelines:
1) Project creators are required to outline potential risks and challenges they may face throughout their project, and how they are able to overcome them.
(The following guidelines affect Hardware and Product Design projects)
2) Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future, and can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
3) Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.
4) Multiple quantities of a product as a reward are prohibited. Only one unit of any product can be offered to a backer.
These guidelines have not arrived without significant resistance from the site’s users (we've shown just a few comments in the image above).
Not much criticism has come up regarding the first guideline, as it seems to be a sensible request to ask of creators. But the next three guidelines are sparking controversy.
One of the biggest criticisms being voiced is that these new guidelines are, in a word, ironic. They were announced under the general statement of “Kickstarter is Not a Store”, though, as many individuals have commented on the blog post where they were posted, they will inevitably increase the amount of projects showcasing finished products and decrease the amount of projects showcasing a blossoming idea.
In other words, individuals with great ideas who are lacking the funds to bring them to life will likely struggle even more, as backers will be less likely to invest money in a project consisting of a makeshift prototype that doesn’t give justice to the final design of the product (through the use of images such as renderings). So how can project creators combat this problem? By gathering enough funds to produce a polished product able convey the final concept.
But isn’t that what Kickstarter is for? If a project creator has enough money to bring his product to a near-final/final stage, doesn’t that defeat the purpose of Kickstarter (and this recent announcement), as the creator would essentially be selling a product that already exists?
Finally, the guideline prohibiting the offering of multiple quantities of a product is leading many project creators to question whether or not they will be able to easily reach their campaign goals. By offering multiple quantities, a project can very quickly accrue a large amount of money, due to the presence of higher priced reward levels. Restricting rewards to only one product, however, will lead to higher priced reward levels (with fewer rewards coming from the level), an overall decrease in the amount of pledges to Hardware and Product Design projects, and therefore lower campaign totals.
It will be interesting to see how Kickstarter responds, if at all, to the community’s backlash. What’s clear at this point is that the general response from Kickstarter users, both creators and backers, is that these new guidelines are unwelcome.
And, while Kickstarter has made it clear that they are not a store for crowdfunded products, you can rest assured that TinyLightbulbs certainly is.
What are your thoughts on this announcement? Do you think that these guidelines will benefit or hurt the Kickstarter community? Let us know in the comments below.