Another Kickstarter disaster
Although it comes as no surprise at this point, it’s still worth it to report that yet another Kickstarter has failed to deliver. This time, it’s for the Writerase, which featured the tagline, “Simply write and erase, or ‘Writerase’, with our customizable dry erase notebooks!.” In this case, despite receiving over 32,000 Canadian Dollars (CAD) against an initial goal of only 6,500 CAD, the creators still found a way to not be able to deliver on what were relatively modest promises. Here’s a direct quote from their latest update:
We have not been able to resolve our issues, as a result we have decided to continue and finish sending out all of the blank notebooks. To the people who will not be receiving any notebooks, we will be returning what should amount to approximately 25% of your order; this will effectively deplete the remaining funds in the Writerase account.
While not the main goal of this project, each member of the team has learned a great deal in attempting to bring a physical object to end users. We faced many obstacles including two-thirds of our local members being relocated, due to their day-to-day careers, during the manufacturing stages of this project. This presented insurmountable challenges with regards to dealing with vendors, motivating virtual teams, and a great underestimation in the amount of manpower required.
We deeply apologize for this failed venture, had we known the difficulties we would have faced this project would never have happened. We appreciate the risk you took in being a part of this project but we have exhausted our resources and it is not financially viable to proceed.
Thank you all,
The Writerase Team
Naturally, that’s unacceptable, as it looks like I’m either out of most my 85 CAD pledge or will get a half-assed portion of what I was supposed to get. Whatever the case, it’s criminal, and, based on the Kickstarter update comments, I’m by no means alone in my outrage.
What’s funny is that despite backing well over 65 projects, this is my first genuinely sour experience (outside of minor disappointments with quality) with Kickstarter, which is apparently quite unusual. In fact, the only time I’ve really felt scammed other than in this instance was when I supported the 3-D Vision on Fundable ,which was the first, and last, time I used that site. (It’s been over three years and it seems to me and others who got suckered for a bunch of money that 3-D Vision‘s Gene Dolgoff continues to lie about what he clearly promised and is still trying to scam more people (it’s all out there, so draw your own conclusions). But then this is not about Dolgoff.)
In any case, despite my aggressive record of backing these projects, my interest in Kickstarter and similar sites (Indiegogo among them; here’s one that looks too-good-to-be-true, and maybe it is considering the creator’s first failed attempt at delivery) has dramatically waned over the past year or so. Long gaps between delivery, under delivery, etc., are all too commonplace.
Public funding sites were a great idea in practice, but they’ve clearly got a lot of issues to sort out. Hopefully, if we continue to publicly call out the problems and the problem makers, some action will eventually be taken (this Wired article points to one positive action from Kickstarter against one such project). Until then, whether it’s homebrew videogame developers, funding sites, or any other number of speculative purchases, it’s best to think long and hard before parting with your hard earned money for just the promise of something cool.