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Kickstarter Releases Hardware and Product Design Project Guidelines

One of the criticisms that crowd-funding or crowd-sourcing websites receive is that backers, have hardly any assurance that they would be getting their money back if the product for which they have pledged their support fails.

Kickstarter, a large crowd-funding website, responds to this concern by releasing a statement titled “Kickstarter Is Not A Store.” In the article published on their blog, Kickstarter says that the company decided to add a section called “Risks and Challenges.” This is an area where project creators can explicitly and honestly state the risks and challenges of their project as well as how they are capable of confronting them. This will help backers to see if the project creator is indeed capable of carrying out the project or not before they pledge support for it.

Furthermore, Kickstarter has added several new rules for hardware and product design projects. In particular, their guidelines for product designs now proscribe product simulations and product renderings. This means that product owners cannot show the future capabilities of a project; they should only exhibit those that the prototype possesses at present. Also, instead of rendered images, they should submit actual photos of the prototype. Meanwhile, for hardware projects, Kickstarter now prohibits the offering of multiple quantities of a reward, except for those that already come in a set. Kickstarter provides a rule of thumb that may guide project creators: “under-promise and over-deliver.”

Since Kickstarter began, it generally did not interfere much in the process of crowd-funding. Yet, some of its projects have been getting much attention lately, prompting the company to review its guidelines. For instance, Ouya, a video-game console based on Android raised $8,596,475 of funds from 63,416 backers on Kickstarter. Outside of the Kickstarter funds, the Ouya team reportedly sought funds elsewhere while the Kickstarter campaign was ongoing, something which is against the terms of use of the Kickstarter website. Ouya, however, was quick to clarify that they did try to look for funds before the Kickstarter campaign and may furthermore do so after it, but they were more interested in getting the product to the market than to look for other sources of funds.

Other controversial projects on Kickstarter include Cam Crate and the Pebble smartwatch.

via theverge