Kickstarter, the wildly popular crowdsourcing site, has success written all over it. Leave it to Canadian radio producer Dan Misener to break the illusion. According to Misener, Kickstarter may be hiding the duds to preserve its image as the crowdsourcing site to pitch.
Kickstarter offers entrepreneurs and other creative types the chance to make their dreams come true by pitching their ideas to complete strangers for donations. (Donors sometimes get early access to the products, though not a financial stake in the company.) In exchange, successful project creators fork over 5 per cent of the proceeds to Kickstarter.
You hear all about the multimillion-dollar successes like Pebble. But what about the failures?
In his findings, Misener found that only successful and in-progress projects show up on the site’s main page. Nothing nefarious there: Why highlight failed projects to which people can no longer contribute anyway?
But Misener also found that Kickstarter inserts code into the HTML pages of projects that don’t meet their funding goals so search engines can’t index those pages.
We duplicated Misener’s efforts and confirmed that you can’t find failures by clicking through links on the site—only by searching on specific terms. Even then, the failures end up at the bottom of a long list.
Misener wrote a scraper program to look for any failed projects on the Discover pages. His findings? Out of 27,399 projects, there wasn’t one failure.