updated 07:12 pm EDT, Sun September 23, 2012
Blog proclaims 'Kickstarter is not a store'
Crowd funding Internet site Kickstarter will be placing new restrictions on the activities users can engage in when promoting hardware projects for funding. The policy changes were announced in a post on Kickstarter's blog on Friday. Project developers will now be limited to showing their works as they currently exist, and the site has placed new restrictions on how many units developers can offer to supporters.
With the new rules in place, Kickstarter projects will be prohibited from displaying product simulations. The site now requires that developers show off their projects as they currently operate, not as they may operate in the future. Developers will also be prohibited from showing off project renderings. Images attached to a project must now show the project as it currently exists.
Developers will also be required to spell out the "Risks and Challenges" their products will face in the development process, as well as how the development plans to address those obstacles.
Finally, the site now forbids developers from offering multiple quantities of a hardware unit inexchange for support. The blog post explains this decision as a move to head off instances of "developers" simply using Kickstarter as a kind of retail outlet, as the provision of multiple units for projects ostensibly still in the funding stage "feels premature, and can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship."
The new guidelines are effective for all hardware and product design projects that launch starting last Friday. Kickstarter's organizers hope the move will help to distinguish the site from the traditional retail experience. Kickstarter has quickly become the site of choice for product and software designers hoping to both generate interest in their works and to secure funding to produce them.
A number of products have reached and surpassed their funding goals due to publicity their projects received when word of their Kickstarter campaigns spread to the wider media. Among those, the Ouya Android game console is one of the more prominent examples, having greatly exceeded its funding goals in a short period of time. The site has not been free of exploitation, though, as a number of cases have seen supposed projects exposed as frauds.