Lessons for Kickstarter creators from the worst project I ever funded on Kickstarter

i+case

[update: I've had to change out the image above to my own after i+case project creators insisted I remove an image of the case displayed on their Kickstarter page. Also, if you'd like to see the entire conversation thread including the i+case creators, be sure to click the "show more comments" link just above the comment field]

This is the story of the worst project I've funded on Kickstarter. I am posting this not to single out the creators behind it, or bad mouth their business, but to go over my disappointment in the hopes that future Kickstarter project creators can learn from it. It's all about communication with your funders, setting up and delivering on expectations for funders, and doing the right thing when things go wrong.

My relationship with Kickstarter is a long one. I've funded 72 projects to date and I'm also a (very small) investor in it. All but a small handful of projects have delivered items/goods/works of art that met or exceeded my expectations, and most creators are doing a wonderful job. Sometimes, creators take time to make art, as at least two documentaries I've funded have gone over a year without delivering the final cuts, and I totally understand that as I'm currently late on my own small personal film project.

This is the story of the i+case for the iPhone. Like almost every iPhone/iPod/iPad project on Kickstarter, it went from launch to overfunded several times over in a short period of time. I liked the look of it since I'm not normally someone that uses a case with my iPhone, and I tend to drop my iPhone about 2-3 times a year (so far, no breakage has happened). I liked the old iPhone bumper Apple made, but the bottom cutout was never big enough for my chargers and car adapter. This i+case looked cool in anodized aluminum, and it looked like it solved a few design problems I had with the Apple bumper.

The creators started the project with CAD renderings of what it would look like but quickly followed up with real photos of built prototypes on actual phones, just days into the project. This is huge in that as a funder, seeing actual prototypes convinced me it would become a real thing and it appeared to look as good as the CAD renderings, and I threw money into the project at this point. Soon after however, some antenna issues popped up. The creators attempted to downplay it by describing the upcoming new iPhone 4S antenna design as well as showing their prototype only affecting signals by one bar. That update sent red flags, but I trusted the creators when they said "We hope this helps demonstrate our pursuit of not only making a case that looks good, but performs just as well". It is a cool looking, durable case and though it might affect my phone performance slightly, I get 3-5 bars everywhere so I figured I'd continue funding and looked forward to trying it out. I did notice a very specific comment (from Jaspreet Sidhu on the signal testing post) asking the creators to measure signal loss was ignored, even though a person went to the trouble of describing how to enter into a diagnostic mode and take accurate measurements. Another red flag, but still, I stuck with it with my hopes up.

The iPhone 4S was released before the project was funded so everyone backing it from the start was hoping it would work, and soon after the 4S launch the creators showed one working with a new 4S even though they couched the post with a few caveats. The following update sent up more red flags however. They described their problems with feedback, discounted much of it as "negative" and equated that with frivolous, and the core issue that sparked this was their prototype cases featured a prominent white logo etched into the case. In my opinion, it made the case look a little gaudy and ugly. What set off red flags was how the creators handled the feedback and I would characterize this one as "not well". Later they followed up and doubled down on their insistence that the logo stay and that no one would be happy so they will push forward. Funny enough, later that day they offered up a survey with the bright white logo vs. a subdued etched colorless logo and within 24hrs they shut the survey down showing that 85% did not want the white logo on the case. I do have to say the creators deserve some credit for going with the audience voting, as they never mentioned the white logo from the prototypes again after defending it so hard the previous week.

Miscommunication happened next. A couple days after the logo battle and just a day before the final funding completion date, the creators sent out a (now redacted) email that they miscalculated the shipping and were going to ask everyone to up their pledge and the use of bold is theirs:

All backers must add the cost of shipping to their pledge. Shipping in the US is $5, International is 9$. We will not ship if not paid in full. To do this just add the correct amount to your initial pledge. Sorry for the confusion.

Pretty crazy, and since the project said it would ship in December, I went ahead and upped my pledge by $5 in order to get the case before xmas. The post erupted in comments and it was the first time I saw others say they were pulling their support. I hadn't ever considered that option but being just before the final funding day I considered it, but stuck with them since I thought it was a nice looking thing. The next morning, the creators called the email demand a mistake from another project, and though they apologized they also said that international shipping would in fact increase the pledges and domestic US recipients could pay more "only if they wanted to".

The funding success message mentioned they might not ship everything by the intended window, though one week into December they showed off the first units to ship, but gave the good news/bad news that most would not ship until a month later. As a funder this was disappointing to hear, but good on them for explaining the delay and why it happened and resetting expectations of what was to come. They followed this up with a somewhat defensive post saying they were working on different prototypes with the goal of eliminating any signal loss.

The last couple updates are things I hope get taught in Business schools as what not to do when company owners communicate with potential customers. The epic update #24 starts by splitting hairs over the difference between "buying" something from Kickstarter versus "investing" in an idea on Kickstarter. They then go on to discount the entire project as a first attempt at making a prototype and that design flaws are inherent in research and development. As a funder myself, I saw those actual cases well before the end of funding and assumed those were the prototypes that needed the bugs worked out and the final product I would receive would be a working one, as most other Kickstarter projects around products work. They also talked about how they can't give refunds and then talked in patronizing terms about how the stock market works and how sometimes you just lose money in a speculative deal. This was hard to read when you consider they had their prototypes done months before for ample testing, and now with $85,000 in hand they were shrugging their shoulders to say in effect "we tried". Finally, they close with the idea that some of the people leaving critical comments on their project are competitors or out to get them so their comments can be discounted.

Their final update states that they consider the project complete since they have shipped out most every case, and though they couldn't alleviate all the signal losses, they might redesign a version 2 of it and backers would get a discount if they produce a new case. Most of this last update seems reasonable, but the creators telling everyone (including dozens of international backers that hadn't received their cases yet) that it was "over" felt like they are ignoring feedback and leaving current unfulfilled backers out in the cold by shutting things down as soon as they could.

To finish this story, I got my own cool red case last week and today I assembled it. My phone normally gets 4-5 bars of Verizon coverage and 3 bars of wifi in my house. After finagling all the pieces and tiny screws into place, I flipped my iPhone over to admire the slick new case around it. I tried out the side buttons to confirm they worked, and then I looked at my signal to see if I was one of the "few" backers with signal problems the creators had a hard time reproducing.

I had one tiny bar of phone coverage and one tiny WiFi blip. $70, down the drain as I disassembled the case, flipped my phone over to see it back to 5 bars plus 3 bars of WiFi a minute later.

Again, I mention this entire project not to single out the creators as bad people but instead to show any and all past/current/future Kickstarter backers what not to do. When you are designing a product for Kickstarter and you show prototypes, backers will assume you have worked all the bugs out first. When things start to go wrong, it doesn't help to discount the comments or question the motivation of backers giving critical feedback. When shipping deadlines are going to slip, be open and explain the hows and whys and reset expectations as soon as possible to prevent backers' plans from falling through. When confronted with a core design problem, explain possible fixes, or explore options for dissatisfied backers. When confronted with a large amount of criticism, acknowledge the flaws and don't patronize your backers or question their motivations. Overall, I think this project (as well as any future projects from any creators) could have gone well if the creators did a better job with communication, stayed attentive on comments, didn't talk down or talk back to backers so much, and helped set expectations accurately and early on to prevent the feeling of being ripped off at the end of a long project.

94 Comments

  • I had a bad Kickstarter situation in which the thing offered to people who funded at one of the highest levels failed to materialize for over a year after the project was fully funded. I had to continually dog and email the person responsible for fulfilling this and got a ton of “It’s in the mail” messages that just plain old weren’t true. It was a lot of work and will probably keep me from high-level funding anything else on Kickstarter. Another project I funded had an orange t-shirt that was part of the “thank you” stuff and it turned out that the women’s t-shirts were silver, not orange. No big deal, really, but there seems to be little internal incentive to match the deliverables [either the things they say they'll create or the things they says they'll offer as thank yous for funders] to what was promised. I totally get that Kickstarter can’t really put themselves in the middle of all of these transactions, but it would be nice if there was some sort of mechanism.
    I’d love it if Kickstarter had a “flag this project” option for funders so that if something really goes off the rails there’s a way to make sure those people don’t get to use Kickstarter again until it’s resolved, or they could see some sort of “alert level” color code in the corner of the project, something that everyone else could see as well.

  • sticking a conductive material as a bumper onto the external antenna design on the iPhone 4/4S is never going to go well.

  • Something similar happened with this kickstarter project here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/cwandt/pen-type-a-a-minimal-pen
    They got 1000x the interested they had planned, and had major issues trying to get the pen created and ramping up production to a scale they have never been exposed to.
    The pens seem finally finished, a couple of months after they thought they’d be, but I thought the updates were great and can’t wait to get the final product.

  • Yeah, I was skeptical, but trusted the creators that they could beat the problem through insulating material or putting a coating on the inside, and other ideas they mentioned during the project duration.

  • If you want another one to flag, how about that “multi-touch keyboard” there is no way the optics work outside of a controlled lighting situation, it will be a mess when people actually start using these in real world situations. Looks are great, but I doubt it will ever work as users would expect. All FTIR devices I have ever seen have a sealed chamber to keep out stray IR and even the Kinect does not operate properly in sunlight.

  • Thanks for sharing this. I saw this when it first was proposed, and now I’m glad I decided to go against it. I loved the look of it, but could not get over the fact that it might augment the antenna issue. Also, hope they kept the logo off.

  • Thank You for this article. I can completely relate as a kickstarter backer to a similar poorly managed and communicated project. All of the backers for http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/schuyler/lockpicks-by-open-locksport are having a field day for well over a year now.
    Fortunately for your kickstart…something materialized and was shipped out to the backers.
    Kickstarter needs to crack down on these poorly managed projects…prevent individuals from creating additional kickstarts if they have not completed a prior one successfully even when a fully funded project fails. The project creator for Open Locksports is a complete failure and needs to be shutdown and erased.

  • Whoa, I really wanted to get in on that locksport thing but I just missed the deadline on funding it. Glad I missed out now.

  • Man, I feel your pain. I paid someone $250 for a boutique
    synthesizer 3 years ago and I am still dealing with lies
    from the guy who owes it to me.

  • Given how much cut Kickstarter are pulling for themselves, I think a mechanism for notifying and helping resolves issues is incumbent on them. I forget their take but it’s upwards of 10% form memory.

  • I’m almost positive it’s only 5%, but yeah, they should have a slush fund of $250k or so on hand to perhaps pay backers back and try and collect from the original creator through collections or something.

  • I could not agree with you more. I backed this project, read the creators’ comments with increasing unease, and in the end received a beautiful case that was totally non-functional. What gets me, in addition to the way they reacted to criticism, was how much warning they should have had that a bare metal case would degrade the phone signal.

  • Another one here who was in on the Locksport picks on Kickstarter. That one even went as far as selling a ’round B’ though a web site before the Kickstarter backers received anything. He still doesn’t even know how he’s going to make the picks – in October it was chemical etching, last month it was a punch press.
    Personally, I managed to get my money back by contacting him directly, but I wonder how many others managed the same.
    I agree with the comments that Kickstarter needs to protect backers a bit more. Yes, it could be considered like the stock market, but that’s not the way Kickstarter bills the interaction. I wonder if there’s any recourse through Amazon since the payments are handled by them. There should be some kind of escrow arrangement so that the projects can get access to the funds, but there’s some money held over to pay back to backers if it all goes south.

  • The creators wrote:
    “As was also stated in another post by me and another here, OEM’s have multi-million dollar labs to test signals and often still have issues. We don’t have access to those tools. “
    That is pure inexperience talking. They are located in Seattle – Google reveals several EMI testing labs in the area (http://www.ckc.com/ for example). A few hours of testing in an anechoic chamber will cost less than $1000 and a good facility will have technicians that know what they’re doing to provide feedback.
    I was not a backer – perhaps someone who is can point them in the direction of for-hire multi-million dollar labs.

  • I was tremendously excited about the Drawing Machine Project, by Harvey Moon ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/notever/the-drawing-machine/ and his personal website: http://unanything.com/ ) and nothing has come of it. I was tremendously excited about the project and was planning on purchasing several of the kits. However, it’s been a year since the last update. It’s also been a year since I’ve last supported someone I didn’t already know on kickstarter.
    I’m going to take the same route GadgetGav took, directly contacting Harvey Moon about a refund.

  • I’m shocked anyone believed covering the antenna in metal was going to be anything other than a disaster.
    Also in the event of dropping the phone wouldn’t a metal case just cause even more pressure to be exerted on the phone? Cases should absorb an impact

  • Hilarious,
    “Yeah… I’ve not delivered but I’m learning 3D software to make instructional videos”
    WHY? No one asked you for that they asked for a product.

  • Hey, at least you got yours! I was one of the people who put $800,000 into the HexBright Flashlight. They pitched it as “we need the money to pay our suppliers who will make the flashlights” and gave an October delivery date.
    Once funded, the story changed– now they’re playing around with different design choices, changing it, constantly talking abou the evolution of the product, etc, etc.
    Yet the thing is, we didn’t pay them to DESIGN a flashlight– they said they had one designed already.
    And of course, no shipment date is in sight.
    Frankly, as far as I’m concerned, I was defrauded.
    I wrote to kickstarter, and what did they do? They gave me a BS PR speak (cut and paste obviously) form letter about how they “advise their products to ship”.
    Well, they’ve got 30 more days, or I’m going to start pressing the charge of fraud against them. Against kickstarter, who takes their funding from Amazon.
    We’ll see how Amazon feels about taking money for products and then not shipping for 6 months. (4 months past the promise date.)
    If Amazon doesn’t help me, then I’ll be calling the police local to the Kickstarter offices and the police local to the hexbright offices.
    When you fail to deliver, you HAVE to offer people refunds. Kickstarter refuses to do this.
    This isn’t just good customer service, its the difference between business and FRAUD. (And its the law– you have 6 weeks to deliver, or give a refund or get permission to extend the delivery time, according to the FTC.)

  • Agreed with Aldo, I am also a backer of Pen Type-A and the way they have handled, production delays, design issues has been exemplary in my opinion.
    Most importantly, at no point during the delays have I thought – I wish I hadn’t backed this project. in fact the opposite – being along for the ride has been a learning experience, with the creators taking backers along with them on the journey to realise their creation.
    Sam

  • You sound more like a consumer than an investor. You are complaining about a product that did not meet your expectations and was not delivered on time and budget.
    I build prototypes for a living. Proof of concepts. They exist to prove a concept. Sometimes those concepts work, sometimes they don’t. Investors are always willing to take a risk. You did not take a calculated risk if you are complaining about a concept that did not work.

  • On the contrary, it sounds like the creators are acting like the investors are consumers:
    DIsmissing the critical comments and contructive suggestions as ramblings of whining nobody’s.
    Investors / venture capitalists need to protect their investments. They have a “vested” interest in the successful outcome of the venture. Therefore, they lend their expertise and insight. You dismiss that at your peril. Watch a few episodes of Dragons Den (or Shark Tank or whatever it is called in USA). Some humility is required on the part of an inventor seeking investment — much more so than of a salesman selling a product.
    Sounds like anybody on these boards could have suggested they needed to put insulation between their case and the iPhone, or that there are any number of labs they could hire for a fraction of the funding total. So, what were they doing all this time?

  • About 6 months ago, I jumped on to the Juicies Cables (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/laudowicz/juicies-colorful-cables-for-ipod-iphone-and-ipad/posts/157892?ref=menu) and have yet to see anything materialise. I was fond of the colours and they were meant to be cheaper and comparable quality to Apples own cables. Sounds like a win-win to me!
    An update a month or so back stated that the cables were being manufactured and now, that’s being ignored and we’re being told that the Project Manager was looking for more investments and making a business plan (basically using our Kickstarter money to fund his life over a few months whilst he did this, and then looked for more money to actually produce the products).
    I still like the product, but this is an absolute ‘bait and switch’. I bought into the project having been shown prototypes via kickstarter and given a time scale for shipment. Everything seemed in great shape. It now feels like the guy took us for mugs. Some kind of system needs to be implemented for reporting/flagging and requesting refunds.

  • I imagine many RF engineers would fall off their chairs laughing at the idea of a conductive metal bumper case for the iPhone 4.
    Tbe cavalier attitude the entire project took to the signal strength issue shows that the designers are simply out of their depth. Which can happen, but as Matt says, it’s how you deal with it that counts. (Never mind the anechoic chamber—the team apparently still hasn’t published Field Test results.)
    It strikes me that Kickstarter could improve the value of its commenting system if it could find a way to allow upvoting of expert commentary.

  • I feel for everybody posting here. I’ve had two prolonged projects but thankfully they were only a CD and a book, and they did finally materialise after pressure from backers. The longest wait I have is coming up to 2 years for a movie about indie gaming, but it’s almost here: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/blinkworks/indie-game-the-movie/

  • Dan, I also backed the Juices project. I also have the same feeling about project creator Laudowicz. I don’t think we will ever receive our colored cables. Moreover what also is bothering me is that Kickstarter does not really seem to care about it’s community. Without us they would not exist. If you contact them, they keep saying they are not responsible and cannot help us. I ask myself is it “can’t or not willing to”? They only seem to care about taking their percentage of the project fundings and in case of any problems they hide behind their terms and conditions.
    Moreover about Laudowicz he took more than 22k of funding and in his updates, in which he hardly tells anything news, he is now saying that he needs 100k for manufacturing? He is also playing the victim, a bit the same as the mentioned “defense update” in Matts’s blog. reversing the facts. But the problem is really himself, he does not communicate. If I am not mistaken we have not heard anything from him for over 6 months. Giving updates is the first step, but also contentwise it must be useful. His last updates where all the same. Apologizing, having problems, not reacting to the real questions that his backers has.
    Despite this bad experience and other project examples I will keep supporting the startups because I can’t imagine it can be worse than this!

  • I’m a backer as well of Pen Type-A, and I agree. Most importantly, I don’t think they’ve ever acted patronizing or resentful of those that backed their project. Feels like it should go without saying, but according to the above, I guess not.

  • Where an investment is predicated on a product with a stated brief, it is reasonable to expect the delivery of that product.
    Unless it was clearly stated that the investment was into an R&D project what was being invested in was mis-represented at best.
    When making an investment, on the stock market, as a business angel, or on kick starter, it is critical that all elements of what is being invested in are made absolutely clear. As the only individual or group who knows what is being offered, it is the project team who are responsible for doing that clearly.
    The stock exchange has extremely strict rules about describing what share-holders are investing in, the current state of it etc as well as the attendant risks. It also sounds like Kickstarter may need to tighten its rules on project descriptions. However, again, it is the project owners who must describe those risks clearly.
    This investor vs. consumer argument is bogus. An investor is a consumer, this is always true.

  • I think Laurens Laudowicz all scammed us. If you search the internet on his name and phone number things can be found that will not make us happy. I found that he has raised money for all kind of projects. I wonder if he has used the Kickstarter money not only to fund his life of the past few months, but perhaps also to pay for his other debts and outstanding loans. This Laudowicz guy is really desperate in search of money, check out this link (it is him, the ad has the same phone number as given in his last update on KS):
    http://myinternetresume.com/2011/10/free-this-weekend-honolulu/
    The google search also gave this link, which worry me even more than his fake Juices project and lies to us:
    http://www.state.hi.us/jud/opinions/ica/2007/ica27957sdo.htm
    He is convicted for harassment of his wife. Such a guy is offering himself as a baby sitter….. I hope no parents will be fooled by him!
    At this moment everyone can start a project on Kickstarter. I have the opinion that KS should check everyones background first. Does someone has a criminal records or perhaps financial problems etc. Now every individual with bad intentions can scam a lot of people. That should not be possible!

  • Feel lucky, at least you got your product, it’s been over a year and I’m still waiting on my stuff from another kickstarter project, because of this one bad experience I haven’t done it again.
    $75 down the drain so far and very little in updates, last one we got was Dec 16 saying there would be an update over the holidays, it’s a month later and it’s been silent.
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/schuyler/lockpicks-by-open-locksport

  • i really do wish there were a way to flag projects on Kickstarter. i had a really disappointing experience with a project
    ( http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/pxdiaz/delphinium-cheese-co-small-batch-artisan-cheese ) where the project owner took nearly $2k and didn’t even produce the tshirts he’d offered as part of the project. he didn’t respond to messages or postings. i can’t understand why there’s no recourse in this kind of situation.

  • We’re in the process of starting our first kickstarter, we’ve been approved and just working on the video and stuff. so this is good stuff to read, though honestly it seems just more a lesson in good customer service.
    I have wondered what happens with some of the projects that go radio silent and such after funding. Our thing that might be different is that we’re as excited to get the finished product as hopefully anyone else will involved will be, and that so far what we’ve really enjoyed is the actual build and manufacturing processes for some of the other projects we’ve done.
    Reading over the comments i’m wondering about our approach, we’re in the design stages of something that’s cad’ed up, and we’ve built similar but not the same thing ( i don’t want to specifically say what it is since i’m not astroturfing).
    It is difficult to gauge the kickstarter audience i’ve seen projects fund with x10 x20 the funding with just a block of cnc wax and others with finished projects.
    So i wonder if you have to go super early with it, and just show the CADed models with tech background or do a finished design.
    cheers

  • T’would be interesting if they sold “insurance” on projects. The ultimate hedge in an arguably gambling-based product design ecosystem.

  • Hi Matt, I agree with you 100%.. I just got my cases (2) today and my iP4s on AT&T went from 5bars of 3G connection to 2bars E (Edge).. I think they should put insulation like EVA material was only installed a small strip on each side of the bumper and not all around.. To sum it up, very disappointed to say the least..

  • Dear Pissed: I’ve backed several kickstarters, and I’ve always been pleasantly surprised when something is shipped – I certainly don’t expect it. I’ve paid money mostly to participate in the ups/downs of an entrepreneurial launch, with the understanding that yes, things go awry.
    I don’t know what your experience is – I’m wondering what percentage of kickstarters actually ship anything, and how many (if any) end up shipping precisely what they said they would. I’ve certainly participated in kickstarters in which products have not shipped – and I wasn’t particularly shocked.
    So – no, if nothing ever comes of it, I certainly don’t consider it to be fraud. I’m not purchasing a product from amazon.com. I’m taking a flyer on a startup endeavor in which the odds are stacked against shipping, and, actually receiving something, even if it doesn’t rise to one’s original hopes, is fairly pleasant.
    Like I said – if I wanted to just buy a product, I’d go to a retail outlet, not a startup funding website.

  • I’d have to agree about the “multi-touch keyboard.” I’ve got some experience in computer vision and they seem pretty “green” on the technical challenges. I’ve got a very sinking feeling that people aren’t aware of what they’re buying into and are going to be disappointed with the results. There are very early stage projects on Kickstarter like this one, just CAD renderings or first-gen prototypes, which present a much higher risk to backers. I think it’s a challenge to balance these types of projects with the more seasoned or mature projects because I think this process is so new to people; investing in a personal/team to fulfill a project rather than just flat-out buying a product.

  • Wow guys, this is totally fascinating. I’ve run two successful Kickstarters now (http://kck.st/sMQelT) and (http://kck.st/jcYZ1y), one of which was extremely complicated and shipped late and the other was very simple and delivered on time (mostly).
    A big part of the problem is that many of the people who start Kickstarter product campaigns don’t have a lot of experience in the execution of their product. While they may be successful with design and marketing, it’s the all the OTHER stuff that tends to get in the way, like financials, customer service, operations, manufacturing, fulfillment, etc (and some like these case guys just suck at all of it). As a point of reference, on the Loomi project my partner and I only ended the project with about $1500 each out of $34K pledged. Cash doesn’t go very far in this game and it’s NOT the only thing you need to deliver a successful product.
    I think what is missing are the resources for project creators to go get help with this stuff. The KS stuff available on the net is either all anecdotal… no one is addressing the fundamentals in a way that works for these people. They end up getting in tough situations and not knowing where to go, but with some simple planning they can avoid the tough situations altogether.
    Here’s a for instance: we started the Loomi project less than a month before xmas and promised delivery before xmas. It’s a simple product, but my partner and I planned and implemented the entire supply chain prior to getting funded so that the timing would work out. When we put it on KS we knew how much each unit would cost us, who would build it, and when it would be done… we just needed the funds to make it happen. Sadly we did have a hiccup with our fulfillment company messing things up but we did mostly deliver on time.
    Honestly, it’s my belief that if you haven’t done the right work prior to going up on KS then your simply lucky if you can deliver anything close to what you promise. Lots of these projects view KS as a bank but it’s really more of a step in a MUCH larger process that they’re mostly not prepared for, as we are hearing in this post.

  • Hey Charlie, as I said below it’s more a matter of having the supply chain in place so that you know you CAN deliver. It’s not a great idea to go onto Kickstarter with a project that’s not in the absolute final stages of development or you risk late delivery or being forced to change your deliverables altogether.
    I think I can probably provide some insight to help you avoid some of this and provide a reality check if you’re interested. Shoot me an email at josh@makercapitalist.com

  • Wow, I am on the funding for Hexbright too, and have found them to be very good at communicating, and letting us know what is going on. I guess I look at it very differently than you. We are funding a project, with people that are not pros. There will be ups and down. There will be wins and setbacks. I am funding early, to get a cool product at a discount, because I am helping them create a product to come to market.
    I really don’t think you should EVER use Kickstarter, Pissed. It is not what you are looking for.
    I have funded another Kickstarter for a photo product that has gone way over. The creator has been very forthcoming there, as well. It is amazing to watch what goes on in this process. Supplies vanishing, Paypal being complete asses and . Just everything that goes into this.

  • Probably a dumb question but can’t they use some kind of escrow service particularly for large investors? I appreciate projects need the funds to complete but I’m surprised that this many projects are getting through the vetting process that seem so poorly thought out.

  • I’m surprised these guys ever even thought to try and make this case the way they did. They did not do their due diligence in researching what it takes to make an iPhone case. Apple provides ample resources to case manufacturers here: http://developer.apple.com/resources/cases/ so things like this don’t happen. I found this page within 2 Google searches which took all of 30 seconds. The diagram for the GSM iPhone 4 found here: https://devimages.apple.com.edgekey.net/resources/cases/dimensions/iPhone-4-GSM-model-R2.pdf has very few directions but it clearly states “1. No metal contact with iPhone 4 metal band”. The diagrams for the CDMA iPhone 4 and the iPhone 4S have the same instructions.

  • I’m a backer too, and I’m quite pleased that they’ve been putting in the attention to detail that they have. I’d much rather have the final product arrive late than on time but with numerous flaws.

  • The i+Case team reached out to Matt to open a dialogue around this article and provide more details around the other side of the story. We have yet to get a response. Perhaps posting here will net a response.
    Also, I’m not sure that the image that used is licensed. The i+Case team certainly has not granted rights to use that image.

  • Hey i+case team, yeah you emailed me a pretty snotty note implying that I was both wrong and smearing your team’s name. I already gave my story here, what more is there to discuss? If you’d like to give “your side” feel free to leave a comment, you’re welcome to. I didn’t see any reason to have a email fight privately with you guys when I’ve said all I wanted to say.
    I was disappointed in the thing you guys produced and I thought you handled the entire campaign poorly, which I described here to illustrate to other makers and creators what not to do and how to avoid a situation where you have thousands of people that feel like they got kind of ripped off and don’t want to use Kickstarter any more.
    And I’m using the photo off your kickstarter page to illustrate the story, for journalistic purposes. If you guys want, I’ll remove it (just say the word), but hey, I figured I already paid you guys $70 for a case I can’t use, maybe you can use that money as image rights.

  • You seem to assume that they’re being completely honest with you, Rifter. Accidents, mishaps and setbacks do happen in life–I have actually seen a dog eat someone’s homework–but, after a while, they start to wear thin, especially in aggregate.

  • The question is are you investing in a business, or buying a product?
    It seems many backers believe they are buying a product. But reading some of these stories, it seems that many of those individuals and companies running the campaigns, believe the backers are investing in a business.
    The whole relationship is a bizarre combination of venture funding, charity, and a simple retail transaction.
    I think Kickstarter should consider requiring the projects to include detailed financials on exactly how the $ will be used, prior to officially funding it. Those running the campaign need to be held accountable, especially for those projects that have raised over $100k. And this is the companies job.
    They should at least *offer* insurance as well, even if they charge you $5 for it – it would incentivize Kickstarter to take a more hands-on approach to the management of the project.

  • Matt,
    Here’s the note we wrote, below, so everyone can read for themselves.
    I think this is ultimately where one of the issues exists. You are subjectively interpreting things instead of having a dialogue. Show me where I said you were wrong? I didn’t suggest an email fight. I suggested setting up some time so we can discuss, not an email. We wouldn’t need to set up a time to discuss over email.
    If this article was for journalistic purposes then as a good journalist you’d report all sides of the story, not one.
    The last line in my email is a pretty common phrase and is merely used to illustrate that this is only one side of the story.
    Search for three sides to every story and you’ll see this isn’t a new concept.
    Hi Matt,
    I’m part of the i+Case project on KickStarter.  I know you haven’t personally attacked us, even saying so to try and remove finger pointing, but you ultimately are implicating the team regardless of what you say.
    If you’d like to have an open and honest discussion about this then let’s set up some time.  Otherwise you are only sharing one part of the story.  And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth.  And typically the truth lies somewhere in the middle. 
    Journalism does not pursue truth in an absolute or philosophical sense, but it can—and must—pursue it in a practical sense. This “journalistic truth” is a process that begins with the professional discipline of assembling and verifying facts. Then journalists try to convey a fair and reliable account of their meaning, valid for now, subject to further investigation. Journalists should be as transparent as possible about sources and methods so audiences can make their own assessment of the information. Even in a world of expanding voices, accuracy is the foundation upon which everything else is built—context, interpretation, comment, criticism, analysis and debate. The truth, over time, emerges from this forum. As citizens encounter an ever greater flow of data, they have more need—not less—for identifiable sources dedicated to verifying that information and putting it in context.
    http://www.thepomoblog.com/papers/pomo99.htm
    i+Case

  • What? You said, “Show me where I said you were wrong?”
    You said it right here:
    “And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth.”
    So you’re saying he’s not telling the truth. I mean, come on.
    And it sounds like people have been trying to have an “open and honest discussion” about this project and you’ve refused to engage in this discussion until now, until it reaches some critical mass and you’re actually being made to look bad.
    It’s interesting how now you want to be open and honest, but in the past you’ve clearly not wanted to do so. I suspect your time has come and gone to engage in open and honest discussion.

  • I have to admit that I’ve always looked at Kickstarter with a bit of a jaundiced eye, but that usually had to do with getting well-above-background-radiation-level bogon readings off of things that I usually found out about through links from Boing Boing. Computer-aided design tools have produced zillions of pictures of iGadget-slick designs that aren’t necessarily practical in real life.
    Having reviewed some of the tales of woe above, I’m simultaneously embarrassed by and glad of my initial dismissiveness, as I could easily have been sucked in by some of these fiascoes. Some projects are probably quite worthy, done by responsible people with proven records of producing things (Jim Woodring and his giant pen nib come to mind), but I suspect that quite a lot of the people who make big promises that they can’t keep are not only quite naive about the whole process of getting product made and out the door (as Josh Hartung notes above), but also may simply go a little nuts when the pledges start coming in and, in some cases, end up funding their project several times over their goal. Suddenly, they don’t have to eat ramen three times a day, or enter and exit their apartment when the landlord is camped outside their door, or wear the same clothes they had ten years ago. I’m not saying that they necessarily decide to take the money and run, but for someone who may have unsuccessfully tried to get funding from conventional sources for some time, and all of a sudden has a flood of money coming in, it’s understandable that they may wonder if they were aiming too low and want to take a little more time to redo their initial design, or renegotiate terms with suppliers, or hire a few buddies to help with orders, or…
    Or maybe, in some cases, it was a straight-up con from the word go. At any rate, I’m glad that I’ve managed to avoid it for the most part. (I’m still a little embarrassed about my short-lived woot.com habit.)

  • @HAL you are quoting out of context and leaving things off to try and bolster you argument. Here’s the full quote. “And everyone knows that there’s your side, our side, and then the truth. And typically the truth lies somewhere in the middle. ” This means exactly what it states. There’s Matt’s side, there’s the other side, and then the truth lies somewhere in the middle. It means some things that Matt is saying are correct and some are incorrect, because Matt didn’t verify and have a discussion, there are some things on our side that are correct, and the truth lies somewhere in between. I’ll repeat this isn’t a concept I’m making up, it’s common and known. No one has verified the facts with us, no one has tried to have an OFFLINE discussion with us about the project. Everyone tries to rampage on the project in a public forum, this isn’t the place for those discussions.
    Of course there are things we could have done better, there are things we’ve learned, etc, etc. And we’ll take those learnings forward, but we are here now and dealing with what’s in front of us.

  • Hey i+case team: I don’t want to have a phone call with you, unless it is about a $70 refund. I’m not claiming to be writing a journalistic piece, I was claiming fair use of an image to illustrate a story (which again, I’ll remove if you say so), and the story is entirely my experience backing your project. I never claimed to do anything differently.
    Feel free to give your side of the story, I gave my side in the hopes of preventing future projects from meeting similar fates. But I’m seeing the same argumentative tone here you used in comments on Kickstarter, and you did make claims that I wasn’t telling the truth, which is a bold claim.
    Again, go up to the original post and read through it and maybe reconsider how you guys handle customer service and talking to backers in the future. I have every right to be pissed that I pledged $70 ($5 over because you demanded it right before the deadline) and all I have now is a faraday cage that makes my phone not work.

  • Hey i+case team, tell me what I said about my experiences with your Kickstarter campaign that were incorrect, untruthful, or flat out wrong. Seriously, I’m curious what you think I got wrong in my writeup of experiences backing your project and reading your responses on Kickstarter.
    Be specific.

  • @Matt it really comes down to this you interpret my curt and direct tone to be argumentative, that’s never the intent. It just doesn’t work for some people.
    It seems as if you are one of those people. Others have a thicker skin and are much more open to direct unvarnished conversations. And since you don’t want to actually have a phone conversation about this you’ll continue to misinterpret everything I write. So it’s best not to even try and make my point on here because everything I write will be seen as argumentative.
    Please remove the photo at this time.
    Sorry the case didn’t work out for you.

  • @Matt Did you remove our conversation? I don’t see it on the page any more??? I see you kept Hal’s response, but i+case’s response to him. Feels like biased pruning. Perhaps my browsers acting up…

  • Yep..See that. I’ll admit when I’m wrong. Ffox has clearly stopped rendering down a certain part of your page. Apologies.
    REPRO – >> http://screencast.com/t/RusUYi2cnL

  • i+case folks, long comment threads are split into two pages, that’s all.
    Still waiting to hear what I said that was untruthful. Everything I wrote above were my observations as a participant in your campaign. Instead you’ve suddenly nitpicked a phrase I said earlier that has nothing to do with the request. Like I said, “argumentative” seems apt.
    I’m replacing the photo with one of my own, taken of my useless i+case.

  • The product my be slick looking but with a $70.00 price tag…Yikes makes my Otter box at $30 a real steal and worth every penny! Since i drop my phone 10 -20 a year, coaching or just life. Never had a problem with the design and saving my iphone as well.

  • A few years ago, I attended a lecture by Edward Tufte. Among the many things that I learned, one that stuck with me was his assistance that when you make or produce a thing, you should put your name on it. This is to encourage you both to be proud of your own work and avoid shipping stuff that would embarass you.
    I notice that the messages above are signed “the i+case team” and not with somebody’s real name. Same reasoning?
    (Disclaimer: I am also an investor in Kickstarter.)

  • @Matt here’s were we seem to disagree. You seem to insert your own rhetoric into the article which, in our eyes, isn’t true. Here are some specific examples.
    1. FROM YOUR ARTICLE The creators attempted to downplay it by describing the upcoming new iPhone 4S antenna design as well as showing their prototype only affecting signals by one bar.
    What was posted in update #2. With the Verizon/CDMA iPhone, Webb believes Apple’s designers “moved the GPS and Wi-Fi antennas beneath the back glass and turned the top antenna into a second antenna for the cell phone.” This brought spatial diversity to the iPhone. This design helps solve the Antennagate problem, because the phone can switch between the antennas depending on signal conditions.
    http://www.macrumors.com/2011/10/04/iphone-4s-includes-significant-antenna-upgrades/
    http://www.idownloadblog.com/2011/10/06/iphone4s-antenna/
    This copy was cut and pasted from an article online, and we provided the links. We didn’t describe anything. All we did was post information around the latest iPhone 4S design that existed on the web.
    So your comment that “we attempted to downplay…” is inaccurate. We posted information about the 4S’s updated antenna design ,without comment. The goal of the post was to let people know that Apple has tried to address some of the issues they had with their antenna.
    We gave people concrete facts (video) and then let them choose how they’d like to proceed. Just as you can read from backers posts, some people see minimal issues and some see significant issues. All we can do is provide the best data we have at the time, let them do their own research and decide on their own. I’m not sure how providing information is downplaying.
    Was anything we provided in either of the posts inaccurate? Did we fake the signal video you see, did we edit or remove anything from the articles? If we were trying to downplay or fake anything why would we post the videos in the first place? We could have easily said, that we did signal testing and everything worked fine. But instead we took the video to show that the case does have effect on the signal, sometimes no effect and sometimes more effect, in this case 1 bar. Results may vary and are inconclusive. They still are. We are no closer to understanding the signal issue, other than it varies from person-to-person.
    2. FROM YOUR ARTICLE Finally, they close with the idea that some of the people leaving critical comments on their project are competitors or out to get them so their comments can be discounted.
    This isn’t what was posted.
    Here’s what we said. “Everyone that makes a comment or post may not be a friendly backer. They may be a competitor or someone with different motivations.  So, I recommend you read the comments with a grain of salt.  I say this because the team can’t reproduce the signal dropping from full bars to one or zero that was reported. So it would be great if backers posted any videos of issues, the environment they are in, etc, to help us understand the true severity of this.”
    We NEVER said “discounted” we stated specifically “with a grain of salt”. Don’t change what was written, it’s dishonest and inserts a bias.
    Let me ask you this Matt. Is it possible that their other metal case companies on the site that have ordered the case?
    Is it possible that these companies could be making false claims or trying to undermine our business?
    The answer to both of these question is Yes. So with everything you read you have to understand where it’s coming from to understand how much to believe the statements. Since we don’t know specifically who the backers are we remind people to read everything with a grain of salt.
    Again another instance of you editing the original post.
    3. FROM YOUR ARTICLE Their final update states that they consider the project complete since they have shipped out most every case, and though they couldn’t alleviate all the signal losses, they might redesign a version 2 of it and backers would get a discount if they produce a new case.
    We NEVER said “we considered the project complete”. Here’s exactly what was said.
    The team here considers this KickStarter project coming to a close.
    We consider it coming to a close. This means we are ramping things down. It doesn’t mean COMPLETE. BEING CLOSED and COMING TO A CLOSE mean two different things.
    It comes down to this. Above are three examples where you took the liberty to paraphrase what was written, what feels like, to support the tone of the article.
    We have a large and vast English language at our disposal so that we can describe things the best and as accurately as we can. When people take liberties to change the meaning of what’s written or misrepresent that language through interpretation or paraphrasing content it results in these types of situations. If we can’t rely on our language to mean what we write then what can we rely on? When there are questions about what is written it’s best to ask for clarification, have a dialogue and discussion, as often time clarity is needed, not paraphrasing or assuming anything, yet that is what you’ve done.
    Deep linking to the updates doesn’t seem like a reasonable alternative to justify paraphrasing, knowing that people, may not read everything. I have a feeling that you may respond to my points with that justification.
    We understand that you aren’t happy with the product you received. We are just as disappointed as you are that it didn’t turn out better. But you of all people should know that the first product release always has bugs. This is obviously much easier to resolve in the web/SW world. But is much harder to deal with in hardware.
    Ultimately a lot was learned throughout the process and that’s important to the team. Personally, I know now that I shouldn’t be customer facing and am best behind the scenes. My personality and communication style just don’t naturally lend themselves to a customer service type of interaction.

  • Wow. Ok, so your three points all sound like hair splitting to me.
    1. I said “attempted to downplay” because you posted about the antenna two times in a row early on. A metal case design is naturally going to be problematic and as a backer, it felt like you were coming out of the gate early in the project saying the redesigned antenna would have less problems and that you had a prototype showing just a little decrease. The “attempted to downplay” is my opinion and isn’t literally about that first update of yours.
    2. You are making a big deal about the difference between the phrase “grain of salt” and my summary of your comments that they sounded like they were “downplaying criticism”. This is hair splitting. Both phrases are functionally identical.
    3. More hairsplitting, you said “…this KickStarter project coming to a close” and I said as a backer, it sounded like you were saying it was over, and it was “complete” but you disagree. “Complete” and “coming to a close” again sound like hair-splitting and functionally identical phrases.
    Aside from all this nonsense, did you guys ever test an all-plastic version of the case? Did it work better than the metal prototypes?

  • @Matt they aren’t splitting hairs. You’ve asked for specific examples, I’ve supplied them. That’s why I wrote the piece about language. If you choose to interpret phrases however you want, where does it stop? Take what’s written and just read that, don’t interpret and add your own filter. Or at the very least just ask for clarity. That’s all that’s been asked from the first email to you, dialogue.
    The design team isn’t happy with how the CNC’d all-plastic one looks. We are looking into some alternative materials. Of course we could create a tool/mold, but now your talking a ton (subjective) of money and that’s just for first run, hence the CNC approach.

  • Ok, let’s put it to an audience vote. If you think I grossly changed the meaning of anything said on the Kickstarter project updates, or if instead you think the i+case people are hair-splitting, fill out the following survey and I’ll publish the results in a few days
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?formkey=dHZiTGNHVElMRGlMYnVGaU9BVm9NdHc6MQ

  • @Matt c’mon. this is your community and is already biased. Have you no research methodology background?
    And you are doing it again. I never said grossly changed. You are weighting your comments to insert another bias. You paraphrased the original statements to place a negative spin on them, they won’t 100% accurate. They were functionally the same TO YOU. We all interpret things differently.
    That’s like apple posting this vote on their web- site. Who thinks apple makes great products. Which way do you think that’s going to skew?
    Or like a presidential candiate posting a similar question. The fact that this is your community introduces an inherent bias.
    It’s time to focus my energy elsewhere.

  • Hey, you’re the guys that came out attacking me for my own opinions on my own personal site, I’m just going to run this survey to see how it plays out. I never said my post was supposed to be impartial journalism on the level of newspaper reporting and this survey isn’t rigorously scientific, that’s you guys putting a negative spin on what I’m doing on my own personal blog where telling honest stories of my experiences is all I do and what readers expect.

  • Just another “me too” — the Pen Type-A is exactly what I love about Kickstarter. They’re folks who did everything right when things went awry.

  • I’ve backed two kickstarter projects (well over 6 months ago) neither which has shipped as of yet.
    Well no, one has shipped (Dec 6th they say) but it hasn’t showed, and they keep telling me to wait as this shipment is ‘normal’.
    Needless to say I’ve backed my last kickstarter project. I’ll never be backing another one again.

  • you did make claims that I wasn’t telling the truth, which is a bold claim

    Absolutely; and even more so when considering that – at best – the i+case kickstarter campaign has been deceptively misleading and revealing (parts of the) truth (?) when no longer avoidable.

  • Matt, I’m also a backer of the same kickstarter project. thanks for doing this great recap. It saved me the trouble of writing up the same summary of this woeful tale. Besides, your summary is far better than anything I would have written :)
    I was in utter disbelief at their communication with their backers. It was disrespectful and inflammatory. Their end product they shipped was a total dud; I put it on, noticed the dropped bars and even did my own field
    Mode testing. I got 15dB decrease in signal strength!

  • Exactly. I think the i+case person writing these posts doesn’t quite understand the difference between a personal blog and a news outlet. Matt, you have no responsibility to “search out the truth” when writing an opinion piece, any more than the opinion section of the newspaper does. You’ve clearly stated your opinion of the experience you had with i+case, and they’re trying REALLY hard to downplay any negative criticism as a “Well, that’s only ONE way of looking at how we handled it”. And sure, it IS only one way. But how many of your backers are actually looking at it any other way, i+case? And one would think that those are the people whose opinions you should care about, not the *future* backers that you appear to be trying to sugarcoat things for.

  • Not to be snarky or anything (well, OK, maybe a little), I’m starting to think that, if the i+case people had put as much effort into their product as they have into picking nits in this thread, they might have come up with a product that worked great and shipped on time.

  • I think that people are just going to have to get use to some reasonable percentage (5%) of Kickstarter projects failing, even when they’ve raised money. And I think that’s OK, but as a friend remarked to me the other night (in the context of this post), Kickstarter may find themselves in a world of hurt when the story gets picked up.

  • I’m not fully understanding this. You backed a project to put a metal ring around your iPhone and thought this wouldn’t have an impact on antenna quality? Meanwhile, Apple has dozens of engineers trying to design and redesign their band antenna used on the iPhone 4 and 4s.
    Next time, give me the $70 bucks and I’ll just stick your phone in the microwave for you.
    As for the other issues, shipping delays, asking for more money, engraving…yea, they are problems that you wouldn’t expect from a company handling their own support. But in the case of two guys designing a new product, it’s more understanding.

  • He promised to post new updates, but we have not heard from him since. He is constantly lying to us. If it is not possible to reach him via Kickstarter we might have to find another way! I found this via his LinkedIn page: http://www.linkedin.com/in/laudowicz
    Everyone could contact his business partners via this contact page:
    http://www.100pg.com/contact/
    Perhaps some pressure from his own network in close proximity could force him to take us serious!

  • It strikes me that there is *investor*
    responsibility here too. Crap as the iCase team’s communication is (and its almost textbook bad-customer-service-example bad), the fact is the product idea was stupid in the first place. They didn’t have a credible design or good evidence showing that their ideas would actually work.
    Would you invest (kickstarter or otherwise) in a company with no boatbuilding experience and no record that claimed, without backing their claims with evidence, that they could build a cardboard powerboat? A grease-free lightweight fold-up bike using plastic running gear?
    Investors in the real world must do their research and must evaluate the credibility of the claims of the person/co they’re funding. Failure to do so is begging to be ripped off by the activelyy deceitful and the incompetent / out of depth types. This sucks and shouldn’t be so, but sadly it is. I see absurd and unrealistic claims from people claiming that “doing [x] can’t be that hard, I can do it in three weeks” in the software world all the time. Shockingly, they rarely deliver ;) . Almost like it’s more complicated than they thought, because they didn’t have the experience to see the subtle difficulties they’d encounter and they lacked the judgement to anticipate them.

  • dude from ipluscase is clearly suffering from dunning-kruger effect. terrible writer. lacks clarity, seems to be copy/pasting words and ideas just beyond his grasp. i got a headache. thanks for the article, Matt.

  • Yes, I backed that lockpick project and it infuriates me. Unfortunately there is no way to recoup the loss, and that’s how it goes. But it will be interesting to see how his book deal and future speaking engagements play out as his one major project is a complete failure due to his lack of competence and caring.

  • Good column. You mentioned:
    “I liked the old iPhone bumper Apple made, but the bottom cutout was never big enough for my chargers and car adapter.”
    This was my experience with the AT&T iPhone 4. When I upgraded to the 4S and new Apple bumper, I found that the opening is a bit larger and my car charger now fits. I find any metal surface, whether the naked iPhone or cases, harder to hold because of the slippery surface.

  • With projects that have a tangible product as a reward, it’s buying a product in my book. Kickstarter, the designers and those that argue “hey, you’re investing in developing a product” is merely a convenient excuse for “I’m in way too deep and can’t deliver what I promised.”
    Kickstarter is making money hand over fist so they don’t care to step in and do anything. Ok. I’m just bitter I didn’t think of Kickstarter first and making money hand over fist.

  • Matt, thanks for the post – since you’ve had so much experience in investing on Kickstarter I wonder if you could offer your opinion here. I’m developing an enterprise service app – targeting a couple of industrial verticals that are ripe for disruption from what I’m developing. The thing is I’m not creating something that would be provided to an average consumer. Though this isn’t a traditional thing for Kickstarter, I think it might still be worth a shot. I was thinking of offering some rewards such as company shirts or kudos on the company site as thank yous and for larger investments I was also going to offer a few hours of business and product development consultation ( I’ve got a ton of experience in both development and business in this regard). What do you think? I’d appreciate any comment or suggestion you can offer.

  • The design was nice and the potential was there, but the execution is very very poor. Looking hindsight thank you very much for this useless piece of metal of “just” 70USD! I feel “a little bit” ripped off, anyone has the same feeling?!
    I can’t use the case because my signal drops down to zero. Moreover does the “I” from i+Case stand for INJURY? Next to the signal issues I have cut my finger very badly due to sharp edges. Very dangerous product as well!
    And perhaps you could use your time in solving the problems on Kickstarter and replying to the comments and emails of all our backers there, instead of being here criticizing a very well written PERSONAL blog. It is someone’s opinion about HIS experience.
    Thumbs up for Matt, infinite thumbs down for i+Scamteam Jason and Chung!

  • Marc Kensington

    In addition to your second point concerning “possible competitors” commenting and making false claims to undermine your business. Do you really believe that?! Please name the companies you see as your so called competitors. How many can you name….? Certainly not many I think. And then looking to the comments again, how many DIFFERENT backers were having problems and posted about it? Isn’t a bit too easy to wave away negative comments as ones coming from competitors? Imho an example of ostrich behavior….. ignoring the real facts! Shame on you Jason and Chung.
    Regards,
    Marc

  • Hi,
    What a great article. I have backed one project on Kickstarter, still waiting for the product to get to me, but I took the approach that it was a gamble. I contributed funds with the mindset that helping someone bring a product to life (and distribution) was as valuable as having the widget itself. When I find another project I like, if I can afford to (kiss the cash goodbye), I’ll back it.
    Regarding this iPhone case, I’m afraid I’m a Luddite and still use a blackberry, so I have no experience with signal loss on an iPhone and the effect that certain cases can have on it, but is there no way to fix, mod or hack the case to retrospectively overcome the signal issue? It seems everyone likes the appearance and feel of the case, could someone take the view that the first lot designed a cool looking case, and develop something to make it work? Could be another kickstarter project…!

  • It’s been stated already, but I’m baffled by many comments in here enough to echo the previous sentiment.
    Kickstarter is NOT Amazon. It is not a site that’s meant for purchasing items and waiting 6-8 business days for delivery.
    Kickstarter doesn’t insure or guarantee pledges because that would be ridiculous. A pledge is not a purchase, it is an INVESTMENT. Investments, by their very nature, do not always yield returns.
    If you want a guarantee, then wait for the creators to receive their investment, apply the money, and implement their strategy of selling a finished product.
    INVESTMENT WILL ALWAYS CARRY RISK.
    These complaints are nonsense.
    I can understand dissatisfaction with a lack of transparency or a lack of response to investors’ wishes.
    But the comments of “I still haven’t received my product.” are absurd.

  • It’s not Amazon James, but I’ve funded dozens of projects that ended up delivering products to my door and all of them came through on time. Stuff like the iPod nano watch, various kitchen items, the cineskates camera dollies, etc.
    When you have 70 projects go well and deliver an album or a movie or a new iPad stand successfully, you tend to believe a project starting tomorrow that gets funded will deliver stuff to you.
    The comments saying “I still haven’t received my product” are not absurd in the least when the project creators say three weeks before “Ok, we sent out all the rewards you should get them in the mail shortly”. It makes perfect sense to tell the creators that something might have gone forgotten or lost in the mail.

  • none@mailanaitor.com

    SO let me get this straight you cant call your credit card company and have them reverse the charges? I think every single one of these cases falls under that category.

  • none@mailinator.com

    http://www.eventbrite.com/event/2824842179/efbnen look what he is doing with your money now.

  • Thanks everyone who’s posted here, this is a really useful thread.
    There are plenty of excellent suggestions here for the Kickstarter team to consider as they continue to improve the service. I’ve enjoyed looking at your project links too.
    One idea I had was that KS could limit the number of backers over 100% as perhaps these projects that balloon end up becoming too beastly and the founders get out of their depth. I bet LOADS of project starters end up losing money on their fulfilment – it’s the easiest thing to miscalculate – losing $3.26 per product may be OK on 200 products (call Mom again) but how do you get out of it if you’re suddenly expecteded to produce 2000, or 20,000? I backed Yancey Strickler’s own t-shirt project and he sent plenty of tired, emotional updates as his flat filled up with t-shirts that needed sorting and shipping … he was a few months late fulfilling and he’s one of the KS founders! Bless him, his tales of woe only made me more empathetic – I’ve been there too, every business startup will too. So perhaps KS could set up a wait list once a project hits 150% for example – then only release the waitlist money once the first round has been fulfilled.
    I think it’s essential to the business model that KS don’t get directly involved. They provide such a valuable platform for projects and a ‘proof of concept’ for alternative economic models. We need them to keep it going and being successful – including listening to the great suggestions from their supporters and users, such as those from you all above, that will help it to keep our confidence.
    I am amazed that KS is still by far the market leader of crowdfunding platforms despite only allowing USA-based projects. Does anyone know what is the secret of their phenomenal success?
    Cheers from London and here’s hoping you all get your rewards in due course, or get lucky on another project!
    Pascale
    @PazzaArchitect

  • I think all this drama would’ve been avoided if the i+Case guys would’ve used a couple of emoticons on their updates :)

  • As many commenters have pointed out, KickStarter has grown too big to continue to have such a laissez faire vetting process. That may be fine for things people are making in their basement for $5-10, but when there are increasingly mass produced goods offered at over $100, more scrutiny might be warranted.
    One company I backed has been issued a cease and desist order for trademark infringement. So far communication is better than in your situation above, but the outcome is still unknown and these kind of situations will only continue to increase.

  • I’m noticing a pattern here. I’m a Kickstater backer getting a story the same as your. Zioneyez. I created a blog to gather backer for possible legal action but it depends on how many folks we get and what the story is. Right now we’re targeting Zioneyez but as I read these comments I begin to see a pattern of deception going on. Kickstarter could very well be abetting illegal operations.

  • I forgot to give my blogsite http://www.zionkick.com

  • In reading this thread, the thing that i find most amazing is the total lack of due diligence. Potential signal problems? Easy to anticipate; RF design experience? Easy to check; Experience with contract manufacturing? Ditto. Who really believes someone can deliver a viable iPhone competitor in 3 months, with 2 24-year-old industrial designers and $10,000; you’d better be funding that one for entertainment value or because you’re their moms.
    I’ve funded 6 projects, all because i thought they were cool ideas and people. Only two have been delivered (so far). I wouldn’t have funded any of them if i was primarily interested in having a product delivered on-time, on-budget and withIn specs.
    Kickstarter is very cool, but if they want to survive long-term they’re going to have to do a better job educating funder/investors and setting expectations appropriately.

  • One small image seems like fair use don’t you think so? You don’t want to make yourselves look like even bigger jerks do you?

  • Good news at last, I asked Amazon Payments for a refund and after a couple of weeks of no comment, I received notification that I would indeed get my complete refund. Unfortunately I am no longer a backer and so can’t post this on Kickstarter, but I would recommend that everyone applies for a refund from Amazon and if you can post this on Kickstarter please do.
    Oddly I received a “blank” email from i-case telling me to send the case back, but as there was no shipping I am unable to comply. Shame.

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