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It's hard to know how many people feel like they're shopping at a store when they're backing projects on Kickstarter, but we want to make sure that it's no one. Today we're introducing a number of changes to reinforce that Kickstarter isn’t a store — it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things. We’d like to walk you through these changes now.

Creators must talk about “Risks and Challenges”

Today we added a new section to the project page called "Risks and Challenges." All project creators are now required to answer the following question when creating their project:

“What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?”

We added the "Risks and Challenges" section to reinforce that creators' projects are in development. Before backing a project, people can judge both the creator's ability to complete their project as promised and whether they feel the creator is being open and honest about the risks and challenges they face.

The new section will appear below the project description of projects that launch starting today.

New Hardware and Product Design Project Guidelines

The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and seductive to backers. Today we’re adding additional guidelines for Hardware and Product Design projects. 

They are:

  • Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
  • Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.

Products should be presented as they are. Over-promising leads to higher expectations for backers. The best rule of thumb: under-promise and over-deliver.

We've also added the following guideline for Hardware and Product Design projects:

  • Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited. Hardware and Product Design projects can only offer rewards in single quantities or a sensible set (some items only make sense as a pair or as a kit of several items, for instance). The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and offering multiple quantities feels premature, and can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship.

These guidelines are effective for all Hardware and Product Design projects that launch starting today.

We hope these updates reinforce that Kickstarter isn't a traditional retail experience and underline the uniqueness of Kickstarter. Thanks for reading, and thanks as always for using Kickstarter.

UPDATE (Monday, September 24): We just posted an update answering follow-up questions from this post. We've also pasted the content of that post below.

Kickstarter announced that it's prohibiting product renderings in the Hardware and Product Design categories, but "rendering" can mean a lot of things. What does Kickstarter mean?

To clarify, we mean photorealistic renderings of a product concept. Technical drawings, CAD designs, sketches, and other parts of the design process will continue to be allowed. Seeing the guts of the creative process is important. We love that stuff. However renderings that could be mistaken for finished products are prohibited.

Do the new guidelines mean that Kickstarter will only accept Hardware and Product Design projects with finished products?

Not at all. We simply ask creators to share with backers exactly what’s been done so far, show how the product currently works, and explain how it will be completed. In short, we expect creators to show their work. Backers have shown that they're happy to get involved in projects that are in earlier stages when the creator is clear about the remaining work and their ability to complete it.

Do the new guidelines apply beyond Hardware and Product Design projects that are developing new products?

No. The new guidelines only apply to Hardware and Product Design projects that are developing new products. These guidelines do not apply to Design projects like the LowLine and +Pool or Hardware projects like Stompy: The Giant Rideable Walking Robot. Why? They aren’t developing new products that backers are expecting in their mailboxes.

How will Kickstarter know whether something is a simulation or rendering?

We may not know. We do only a quick review to make sure a project meets our guidelines. If an obvious simulation or photorealistic rendering is spotted during that review, that project will not be allowed to launch. If a simulation or photorealistic rendering is discovered after a project launches, that project will be canceled. Everyone should continue to use their best judgment when deciding whether or not to back a project.

Kickstarter announced that Hardware and Product Design rewards could only be offered in single quantities. What if my product works best as a pair or as a set of five?

As we noted in the announcement, sensible sets are fine. If your piece of hardware is best offered as a set of five, that's okay, however you couldn’t also offer it as a single piece. Creators will have to decide what works best for their project.

Final thoughts?

We created Kickstarter so more creative work could exist in the world, and last week's changes are in service of that mission. We're confident that these updates will lead to an even better Kickstarter. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us, and thanks for being a part of it!

    1. Missing avatar

      Gray on

      @Hamish: Their lack of any real prototype to show anyone means that they've relied on vague renderings. Just because the technology could possibly be feasible doesn't mean that they'll be able to deliver it. And I'll give you that big corporations can be slow, but what makes you think that a guy who's taken months after funding to deliver cardboard boxes will be faster?

    2. Charles Waugh on

      As a project creator who just finished shipping YESTERDAY (about 3 months late!), I can say that these rules are bad.
      Mainly because it penalizes the creators of projects and does not effectively educate or warn the backers.
      Savvy Backers (like savvy investors) understand that it is a risk to back a project. it may not actually pan out!
      WOW! What a concept. That's the point of backing an IDEA as opposed to backing a PRODUCT.
      Inexperienced backers think that everything should be perfect and ship on time with no problems. Savvy backers know that most things eventually pan out because the creator is deeply invested (financially and emotionally) in the project, but not all do end up panning out. Huh! That's life.
      In my own project I was called an 'amateur' by one irate backer. And, I agreed - that's the point here - it's a START-UP, not a finished company.
      In my project I was late - seriously late. Why? Because the prototype didn't scale up to the finished product. We then had to invest in injection tooling (thousands of dollars!) and try the design out to find out it failed. You see, a 3D printed proto is NOT the actual as-injected-with-the-exact-resin finished product. It didn't fail dramatically, it failed just enough to make me say "Don't ship it - redesign it." That sucked up a month and half of time and few thousand more dollars.
      That's what Research and Development is all about - figuring it out!
      We had other problems I will not bore you with.Suffice it to say: Life isn't perfect and development is HARD..
      My responses to the changes are:
      1) The 'Risks and Challenges' section is just words. Now, me, I'd be honest and say I'm a design engineer with a successful project completed (albeit late from my initial estimate), I work late at night sometimes and make silly decisions at times. But others? They could say whatever they want and wait for the internet to (possibly) 'out' them as not being who they say they are.
      2) The 'No renderings and no simulations' rule is Draconian and Procrustean.It cuts off the best part of explanation because we don't fit the bed of 'actual'. Maybe the rule should be: Rendering and simulations are OK... IF and ONLY IF your proto can show the same general capabilities. Oh, wait!... but that makes it hard for KS to vet projects. They might actually have to engage the creators, which they currently don't in any meaningful way.
      3) No multiples offered. Ridiculous!
      The advantages of scale in manufacturing are real. Making a hundred of something can be darn near the same cost as making a thousand (as the book project I just published can attest to). That drives down the individual cost and makes the overall 'profit' much more.[BTW: 'profit' is in quotes, because, even though I raised $70K on KS, that is happily vacuumed up in all the other costs of patenting, producing the video, all the ancillary materials, prototyping costs, etc., etc., etc..)
      Lastly, I suggest that there be a pop-up unavoidable window when the 'Back This Project' button is clicked. And, just like in an investment scenario in business, it would ask the backer to agree to these statements:
      A) I understand that backing a project does not guarantee that I will receive the reward offered exactly when promised or at all. There is risk involved as well as reward.
      B) The loss of my pledge will not harm me financially in any appreciable manner.
      C) I have the funds available to back this project and understand that I will not be charged until the funding goal is reached.
      That puts the backer on notice that this is a real-world fund-raising effoprt, NOT A STORE.
      I disagree with these rules and I suggest that the onus be put more on the backers to be wise about their 'investment', not on the creators who have already risked so much to present their idea on Kickstarter.
      Charles Waugh
      Boring, OR (yes, it really is called Boring!)

    3. Missing avatar

      Ben Floyd on

      If people come to Kickstarter they should know what Kickstarter is all about, meaning that every project on Kickstarter is a risk of not coming to fruition. If someone pledges any amount of money without reading what the project creator has posted, and read it carefully, then it's 100% on the pledger. Putting up restrictions because some people don't understand the very nature of Kickstarter is silly at best.

      The "Risks and Challenges" section seems to be redundancy of the project page itself, and really the creator can say anything he or she wants to anyway.

      Multiple copies of a product is an incentive to help fund more of the project. Why is this a bad thing? As I stated above, Kickstarter is what Kickstarter is. If someone doesn't understand that, it's their fault, not the project creator's, and not Kickstarter's.

      But prohibiting renderings or simulations is quite ridiculous. A product gets started because there is an idea behind it. After the idea comes simluations/renderings. After simulations/renderings comes prototyping. After prototyping comes the product. It's the process of anything, not just Hardware and Product Design, so why are the restrictions limited to these categories alone?

      Most of the projects I funded were simply an idea, with nothing but promises to woo me into giving them my money. Only one so far have I seen anything substantial. But I'm still going to support other ideas that have far less than even a rendering if it's something I would like to see come into being.

      Kickstarter is a playground for new ideas. Restrictions actually stifle new ideas. Quit it.

    4. 6apcyk on

      Way to discriminate against the inventors of hardware! Nice job!
      Hopefully this brainfart will be rolled back before it does real damage to your backer community...
      But I think the market has been opened and is being proven as viable.
      If you stifle their growth here they will go elsewhere.
      Good luck.

    5. Missing avatar

      heathkid on

      I can't imagine anything worse! As a backer of several projects... I'm providing funding for someone's dream and project. I agree a simply "click here if you understand the following terms" thing. But to limit quantity? and no renderings and no simulations? Really? How can you possibly be serious? I wouldn't have funded any of the projects I have so far without renderings. I want to know what it's going to look like... NOT a protoboard covered in wires. These are NOT "Products"... they are dreams. Please do NOT continue with these changes as I for one will probably be a LOT less likely to fund projects. Of course it's not a store. Don't treat us like we're stupid.

    6. Corhen on

      Allow renders and simulations, but make sure that it has a very visible disclaimer.
      And make sure that they disclose the current state of the project, with photos.

    7. Jonathan Nation on

      here is the thing I keep going to -
      if you limit the quantity of items to one, all it will do it cause people to register multiple accounts when they want more then one item.

      There have been CD, board game, and book projects where I almost registered a second account. With these rules, I see it as even more likely.

      Also, with board games, now that I think of it, there have been multiple where me and some friends have got together & only one of us pledged. The others just gave me money & I sent them product when it came in.

    8. Missing avatar

      heathkid on

      I agree with corhen. I'll also add... even if the "current state of the project" is still in the idea phase and needs funding to get starting building a prototype... please don't hurt those developers. Kickstarter is not a store... but if you keep heading down this path... it'll be nothing and I'll be looking elsewhere to fund projects.

    9. Missing avatar

      Ilikegames_1337 on

      Hrm. Interesting, but I have to say I disagree with the restrictions on hardware schematics and renderings. A disclaimer would be a better idea.

      The visual of the product in front of you is important, it allows potential funders to get a better idea of what the designer is aiming for and gives the opportunity to get feedback. Otherwise what is a hardware project going to be? A list of specifications and a rough looking prototype?

      Having said that, I think requiring some sort of prototype before product drawings/renderings can be used might be a good idea, as the first prototype can change the direction of a project significantly...

    10. Missing avatar

      sujannicky on

      We offer you the worlds most top ten games and gaming accessories. We have our own biggest gaming website. No search need for top ten games and gaming accessories,you can find all information

    11. Joe Adams on

      This doesn't surprise me. During the approval of our last project they advised me that if I wanted approval I had to delete any quantities over my 5 level. It was not even yet in writing or posted anywhere and that was a big part of the plan. Before this posting today the limit was 10 of an item but some were still getting around it I guess by adding the reward after launch or something (which you can get deleted for I was advised).

      We are set for another project and this will effect us again. We have several prototypes of one model and renders of the other but now we are heading back to the 3D printer and delaying the project. That is twice and just bad luck I guess. But how about a letter to creators "AS OF

    12. Missing avatar

      Jeffrey Sue on

      I have backed 45 projects, not all hardware. Risk and challenges, fine. If the other two rules are not rescinded, I will never back any future Kickstarter project.

      Kickstarter, is that clear enough?

    13. Joe Adams on

      ...AS OF 30 DAYS FROM TODAY'S DATE THIS NEW SET OF RULES WILL GO INTO EFFECT. IF YOU ARE APPROVED AND LAUNCHED PRIOR THESE RULES WILL NOT EFFECT YOU". That would be helpful since really good renders can cost as much as a 3D print and that still doesn't mean someone has the experience to make it. I would like to see renders stay with a disclaimer required on each rendered photo AND a required prototype. But I guess some percentage of the population does not even realize that these are renders. As far as the limit on QTY. Nobody is going to hire a lawyer for one $50.00 product that does not get shipped. But if someone bought (3) 100 packs on a project like Pebble then even Kickstarter could get dragged into something with the creator. (100% faith in Pebble by the way).

      We have to play by their rule and be thankful that KS exists. I guess if you don't like the rules you will have to play somewhere else.

    14. deathstarchris on

      This is a GREAT start. Most inventors are HORRIBLE business people. It might help to start a tutorial on how to properly start a 'hardware' project. If you helped your Kickstarters as well as protect your investors than that dual headed approach can not fail. Side too much with the investor and you run the risk of alienating your Kickstarters, but no protection and Kickstarters get away with too much. I'm glad to see and hear you are listening.
      Now please go help and be involved with Ouya or there will be hell to pay, maybe even site ending.
      Good luck.

    15. David Greekas on

      I get the idea behind it, but face it you want to know what the plan on making and renders are important, force a major disclaimer if you must.

      Also the quantity rules seems very odd..

      I can't imagine pebble would have been so well funded had there been no renders and quantity was limited... I put down for two.

      And YES i under stand they may never be made or could have problems etc....

    16. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    17. PhoneJoy Solutions America, Inc. on

      While we welcome the changes, and do agree that renders have been used by some projects to "deceive" backers, we also find that renders are important to show off for instance customized items (e.g. a limited edition) that would only be made if somebody actually chooses to back them. A disclaimer would be a much better solution in our opinion.

    18. Marcin Wolny on

      The shang prohibiting people from gaining multiple rewards from supporting projects is VERY bad.
      Most of the time I ask (or want to ask) for multiple products as it's the only thing that makes sense if you'd like to support project with larger amount of cash.
      If I can get only a single instance of the product then what's the point? Either I will support project with smallest amount of cash, or not at all. Simply because sometimes shipping can be more expensive then product itself.

      It's most dumb rule ever invented on kickstarter.

      Another stupid thing in it is limiting that to 2 categories. People will migrate their projects to different categories in order to avoid idiotic rules. Just like the kickstarter console was migrated to Games category even though it's not a game. Also the principle behind this rule stands truth for almost every category - board games being most obvious one, and yet... I
      it does not apply there? Woot!?!


    19. Missing avatar

      Simon on

      "— it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things."

      "Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
      Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists."

    20. Missing avatar

      Simon on

      Statement from Kickstarter:
      "— it’s a new way for creators and audiences to work together to make things."

      New Hardware and Product Design Project Guidelines:

      "Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development."

      "Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists."


      Project development on kickstarter is a two way dialog between creator, and backer, implementing the rules defined below stifle innovation and communication of free speech with regard to projects; Images weather rendered, drawn, or simulations for projects especially of a technical nature, is a very integral part of the design and engineering dialog between creators and backers. This also flies against the very purpose that kickstarter has been created for; and the project types that have gone through kickstarter, in that kickstarter is a space that is both entrepreneurial and participatory development.

      There will be several effects that come into play with this sort of arbitration; whereby by limiting expression to only that of what is created, limits the imagination, and dialog that happens between creator and backer. People don't back something because they know its a certain thing, they back something because of its potential, its possibility. We dare to imagine that of what isn't to create that which doesn't exist. The discovery of the Atom is both born in the imagination, and by probing the nature of natural universe; it is the the interplay of the atoms & the bits...kickstarter itself is made of bits and atoms!

      Limiting what dialog is appropriate or permissible will have meta effects: Is a video showing a lab / workshop space where the designs are being prototyped with cad models in the background disallowed? Will a demonstration with a simulation showing how precision engineering and parts fit together for adaptation and development be disallowed?

      In the creation of Hardware and Design Project's there is a interplay between Atoms and Bits, and this concept of limiting the use of simulation, cad models, rendering, etc... severely limits peoples creative exchange of ideas, concepts, and use of the prefrontal cortex.

      Simulation, Modeling, Rendering; numerical, graphical, creatively and otherwise are how human kind has landed craft on planets in our solar system creating some of the best art depicting alien landscapes in panoramic detail. Would NASA have gotten funding if they had only images of prototypes, and physical pictures? The answer is clearly no, they simulate, they render, the animate, the create prototypes, and more simulation is presented.

      The tools that allow this are integrated into the Maker culture, and are supported by companies such as Autodesk that offer their software freely to students and creatives of many walks to prototype, simulate, design build and create. The use of high powered tools that amplify the capabilities of human beings is integral to tool using humans, and building upon past human knowledge to create that of which doesn't exist.

      One effect that such draconian rule sets for a emergent self governing complex system will be that people will shift to external web sites rather than kickstarter to represent what they are censored from placing on kickstarter. The project will probably abide by the kick starter rule on content hosted on kickstarter, but the project website will continue to use what means of representation the creators deem in it their best interest.


    21. JW Doom on

      As someone who has zero interest in creating hardware, these new hardware & product design rules are stupid and I honestly don't understand what they're supposed to do. Why not allow renderings? How is one supposed to create a prototype without money? Is Kickstarter only for groups that have already burned up some venture capital?

      I've always thought the criticism of Kickstarter's "reliability" was wrongheaded and off point (sorry, Consumerist, you're normally awesome), so I don't even get the point of these changes. The challenges or whatever item is okay I guess (what are you challenges? Well, we might flake and not make our record. Is that helpful?) but the new hardware restrictions sound like you guys have already gotten gunshy.

    22. Chevykid on

      Without multiples and a vision of the final product i would never back another Kickstarter project again. I treat every project as if it won't happen and i could lose my investment.
      Kickstarter should crack down on times for projected Estimated delivery times. like one project ends say June 9 and is funded, and funds take 19 days to be released and the Estimated delivery is June so before they can ship would be June 28. there is no way this could happen, but kickstarter lets this happen and doesn't spell out in the project when funds are released and stop the June Estimated delivery dates they let be listed. And even if it was a small project tere is no way to start production and ship in 2 days.

    23. Bill Waggoner on

      As a many-time Kickstarter supporter I think the new rules are a bit too restrictive. I have supported two, that I recall, projects that were hardware designs. Both provided "concept" designs but were very specific that these were designs in flux. And for one the design was forced to change because of the end-use parameters but it was ALL done above-board and open during the process.

      So I don't know how you can square the idea that designs and mock-ups are "bad" with the idea that Kickstarter is supposed to foster innovation.

      The Good: make people aware that they are buying into an idea that may not come to completion. That they are "Venture Capitalists" in some way. That, in fact, the end result may be nothing at all but the satisfaction that you supported some, possibly failed, endeavor. Tough.

      The Bad: many people will be very pissed that their favorite project produced nothing at all useful. Tough.

    24. Missing avatar

      David Palchak on

      I am a professional electrical engineer. I work for a product design company. I have helped design over a dozen consumer electronics and medical products. And I can tell you that these new prohibitions for Hardware and Design projects, however well intentioned, strike me as naive.

      In every single product I've worked on, renderings and "smoke and mirrors" demonstrations (i.e. simulations) are some of the very first things we focus on creating. As many others here have rightfully pointed out, humans are highly visual creatures, and in many instances it is the form of a product that initially captures our attention. The aesthetic of a product is critical to its success. Would you even notice a cell phone made of fragile glass if it didn't look like the iPhone 4? I think not.

      Prohibiting product simulations and renderings might seem like a good step toward improving investor awareness, but it isn't. It hurts creators, restricting their clever, useful, and creative products to amateur presentation. Investors are actually worse off as well, as they now get to see and understand even less of the creator's ultimate vision for the product.

      I'm not just here to criticize. I have a suggestion for a far better way to accomplish the end goal of helping potential backers evaluate a project: require the creators to post and maintain an estimated schedule. The process of creating a schedule forces a designer to consider exactly what pieces have to be arranged into place, and in what order, to make the finished product. Schedules show how many rounds of prototyping are planned, and what features a prototype will prove out, so investors can determine how much risk exists in the idea. Schedules expose common yet wildly unrealistic assumptions for how quickly a design can be transferred to volume production, and schedules help keep creators focused on how much work is actually involved in product design and how precious their time actually is.

      If Kickstarter is truly focused on improving the ability of potential investors to evaluate a Hardware or Design project, here's what I see as being the best path forward:

      1) Start requiring creators to post and maintain an up-to-date estimated schedule
      2) Roll back the prohibitions on simulations and renderings. As a compromise, Kickstarter could instead require renderings and simulations be clearly labeled as such and include an explicit disclaimer.

      David Palchak

    25. Festo O'Mani on

      While complaints about these rules have come from both the creators and backers it seems like the majority of the complaints are coming from backers, the same people these rules were supposed to protect.

      I think that the most foolish rule implemented is the multiple items rules. It shows a lack of understanding from the sites staff on the complexities and cost of mass producing an item. I think that it will limit the number of successful product launches from here on.

      Many of the products on Kickstarter are targeting very niche markets and while some may get a viral backing many will need the advantage of having a small but passionate following to successfully launch a product by asking backers to purchasing multiples of the item.

    26. Missing avatar

      Daniel Martin on

      I don't understand the concept behind "KIckstarter is not a store." Why shouldn't it be used for that function? If I want to pre-purchase the product being offered by a team, well, that, and that alone is why I am here. Kickstarter simply gives developers the assurance/funding to create ahead of time, instead of having to get investments before even knowing if people will buy the product. If I can "buy" a product by supporting a project, and that is how developers want to use the service, HOW IS THAT A BAD THING?!?!? For a lot of products, Kickstarter is little more than a new form of store, and the desire to keep it from being that way is actually very very disappointing to me.

    27. Joe Adams on

      Renders: How about a 1:1 ratio? For every (labeled and disclosed) render you need to show one real prototype photo. that could give some balance between the current status and the plan or even the dream in some cases. After reading ALL of the comments I really feel for some of the tech products with huge time and money already in.

      Risks and Challenges: Good Idea but it's buried in small print at the bottom where most won't even read it.

      Quantities: I get elimination of 50 & 100 rewards months ago but hope KS is reading all of the comments. Some really good arguments for keeping it as is. I wouldn't be against boxing the projects to 500% of the amount we say we need for minimum funding. That will at least limit the projects spending 10's of thousands on Facebook ad's and such who may not even really need Kickstarter. If you sell out after two days then you get enormous preorders on your website that you can handle however you like. Supposed to be getting us to production, not the lottery.

      Never though I would say that but when faced with loosing some key tools like renders there needs to be some middle. Love Kickstarter but Gizmodo must be having a field day with all of this.

    28. Missing avatar

      deleted on

      This user's account has been deleted.

    29. Missing avatar

      Florian Schulze on

      I think these changes are bad. Several posters already stated enough reasons on why. If Kickstarter wants to make it clear that they are not a store, then they should change the pledge pages accordingly with multiple warnings etc. For renderings there should just be a disclaimer on each picture and video if there is one, so people instantly know whether something is a real prototype or a rendering.

      Maybe even embrace failure and state how many projects where unsuccessful and for what reason, so people can learn from that. Failed projects shouldn't be featured unless the project owners agree though and in such cases they should be able to write a post mortem for others to learn from. There are very valid reasons for why projects fail and they should be shown!

    30. Missing avatar

      Svenne Krap on

      How about a way to characterize where the project is in its development....

      I currently back (amongst many others) two projects: the openvizlsa (which is horrendously delayed, but I am patient) and the teensy (which is almost ready to deliver mere weeks after being funded).

      This is not to bash the openviszla guys, but clearly their project was mostly an idea and some small-scale proof of concept. They needed money and time to develop it before they began production.

      The teensy in contrast was ready for productions and kickstarter was more a funding-for-productions and marketing tool.

      Both types of projects serve a purpose and are fine by me, but as a backer that is an interesting thing to know what I am signing up to.

      Also, please reconsider the 1-unit-only rule, a lot of electronics is highly dependent on volumen, and most electronics project I have backed I really WANT multiples (the blink(1) is a good example of a project where I want many)

    31. Michel on

      As an international backer I have a problem with your new 'multiple quantities rule. The international shipping may be very expenxive compared to the rewad fee (for example $15 shipping for a $20 reward). So I very often pledge for 2, 3 or 4 units (the USPS shipping fee is the same!). With the new rule I'll certainly not pledge for interesting Hardware and Product Design projects.

    32. Michel on

      Why did you still accept multiple quantities for Games, Fashion like some 'Distributor reward pack' made in China. It seems to be more commercial than making a serie of electonic boards in a local fablab.

    33. Ian Jeffray on

      I don't think this is a sensible/useful change. If I back a project, I want the best idea what it'll look like and how well developed the idea already is. All this will do is move people to putting all the info on their website rather than on KS.

    34. Ber on

      Risk & Challenges Section = Good
      No Prototype renders / No Multiple Item Rewards = Bad
      I would like to see renders clearly labelled, but I still want to see them.
      I would also like to see a clear opt-in warning on the pledge page that the reward selected may not ever get delivered, and also you may not get your money back in this case. Consumers belong in Walmart, KS is for BACKERS.

    35. Missing avatar

      sgllama on

      As many above have said, I don't think that a blanket "no renders" ban for hardware makes sense - sure, give us a view of the current prototpyes but we also want to see what the goal is - that you have thought the project out to know what its end-point is going to be. After all, *not* being to produce a render may be an indication that the project hasn't actually progressed as far as is claimed: the CAD models aren't complete and that big production order isn't going in as soon as the funding arrives.

      The line "Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future" seems to ban things like showing a demonstration of a GUI talking to, say, a mesh of 1000 devices, when the devices themselves are being simulated (because the large production run is the thing you are trying to fund). You'd be trying to show that the work on the GUI software is complete (or going well), "look, it'll even scale to daft numbers of devices without crashing" and isn't vapourware.

      The ban on multiple devices is also dubious, although KS have given themselves an out, with the part "of a sensible set" clause - but what would constitute a "sensible set"? With some of the microcontroller projects that have been mentioned already, like the Teensy or the DigiSpark, where some people may only see the point in having one at a time whilst others may only be interested because they open up new opportunities when lots of the devices are all working and communicating together.

    36. J. Cranfill on

      I criticized the decision about renders already, but forgot to add my thoughts about multiples as well. Banning multiples is an equally bad idea!! One project I backed, at a level of many multiples, was the CCG game Serpent's Tongue and I would not have backed it at such a high dollar amount had there not been an option for multiples of the finished product.

      KS, you're making huge mistakes here just because a handful of backers can't understand the gist of what backing a project is. Make them read and accept a dire warning about what they're doing before they can fund a project, but don't hamstring the creators for the failings of a few backers.

    37. Missing avatar

      Olaf on

      When rendering is a problem then make a rule
      that these must be identified as Rendereings in big letters.

      When multiple rewards is a problem to handle costs,that makes two limits.
      1 reward no price limit or more parts but the maximum of 1% backing goal.

      After 20 years in the electronics business has been my experience,
      it is easy to build 1000 pieces, 100 are the problem.

      Most kickstaterprojects i spend money for, would not exist with the new rules :-(

    38. John Arne Birkeland on

      You guys kill me. First you start of with stating that "Kickstarter is not a store", and then the next second you turn around and demand that inventors must have working prototypes to show of, so that people can be sure there is an actual working product for sale?
      I have no interest in nickel-and-dime home made projects with simple PCB boards and some electronics that pretty much anyone with some knowledge and motivation can build. I want real innovative projects pushing the creative and technological limits. And how do you make such projects? By performing exhaustive design and simulation work on the computer. The complexity of "common day" electronics has long since past the stage of just making something on the bench with a soldering iron. You need expensive specialized equipment and know-how to design and prototype anything considered remotely advanced by today's standards.
      I though the entire point of Kickstarter was to give people without big pockets and specialized equipment the chance to show of their designs and ideas, so that they would get a chance to actually make a product of it.
      With the new rules for technology and design this has become an elite club for those who already have the equipment and budget for prototyping. So if anything Kickstarter is now more of a store then ever..

    39. Barry Beams on

      In following this thread as it unfolds, I realize that accessories, consumables, wear out items, and auxiliary components need to be addressed.
      Examples would be spare batteries, rechargers, power cords, o-rings, drive belts, mounting hardware, bulbs, wheels, sensors, filters, switches, and other general maintenance and repair parts.

    40. Simon Lyons + VERSION 22 on

      Kickstarter I can see what you're trying to do here in making backers more aware that you're not "Amazon", but the way you have gone about it seems all wrong to me.
      YES making backers more aware of the risks involved is a good move, but disallowing renders is not. I agree that fully working prototypes should be mandatory in all hardware projects so project owners can show potential backers they've got most the functional aspects figured out and that the product they envision IS FEASIBLE. The backer however may also sometimes need a little extra help to visualise what the project owner's final goal is and what would actually be produced if the project was backed and completed successfully. With renderings backers can have greater understanding when delays occur as they can understand that what the project owner is striving to achieve is a step beyond the humble prototype they showed in their video. If backers can better share the project's vision (i.e. renderings) then they can better understand the process after successful funding.
      Furthermore what if the project owner plans to offer five different colour variants of the product, are they expected to pay for five different coloured prototypes JUST to demonstrate what the different colours will look like to backers? This is an absurd and unnecessary expense.
      Perhaps introduce a limit to the number of renderings allowed and only allow video showing the actual prototype/ product functioning rather than an animation, but please reconsider an outright ban.
      With regards to multiple orders I also think this is the wrong move, for example, what if someone is aiming to produce a product people may have a genuine need for more than one of? Is there anything wrong with allowing backers to take a higher risk in pledging for a greater number of products as long as they are aware of these risks? Otherwise backers may turn to elsewhere to "pre-order" additional products.
      Like others have said, in protecting the potential backers from themselves I believe many more projects are likely now doomed to fail.
      I hope for Kickstarter's sake as well as all the backers and potential project owners out there that you rethink this.

    41. Missing avatar

      William Twomey on

      You are the doing the opposite of your stated objective. If you can't provide simulations, drawings, etc., than we are essentially forced to go all in and get full blown prototypes built up. At this point, Kickstarter IS just a store. It's a store that allows for pre-production purchase of a completed product to fund its production. You basically want to become an Amazon that has long shipping delays and includes a big warning that you might not get your product.

      It's one thing to require working PCBs and software (even that requirement I don't agree with), but getting the tooling and manufacturing of mechanical prototype parts can be expensive - and there is very low risk with the mechanical assembly in comparison to the electronics for most products. The mechanical side to most Kickstarter products is just packaging. It represents a small portion of the overall design effort, but a large portion of the prototype cost, and has a big impact on would be investors (a circuit board in a cardboard box isn't sexy). And if engineers have devoted time to developing packaging and such in a CAD program, why shouldn't they be able to show that to potential investors? What are they supposed to say "we have a real sexy package designed but can't show it to you, so just trust us that this will look cool!" In Kickstarter's eyes, you haven't done anything until you've had it made (like a store).

      Why not allow the community to dictate how much risk they're willing to take on? I don't need or want a nanny Kickstarter to "protect me" from a risky investment. If someone I've never heard of with no established engineering background posts a project with no work whatsoever other than a picture of a time machine, I'm not giving him money. But, I can see myself funding a project that is nothing more than an idea if a lot of work has been put into developing the idea and its implementation. I have no problem investing in schematics, block diagrams, computer simulations, etc., of say, a prof and a bunch of his students or in a mechanical design that has already been completed.

      Plus Kickstarter's rules actually promote bigger risk. The best way to limit risk in to allow incremental funding. A project gets more expensive as it progresses, so it is better to fail early if you are to fail. It would be best to say, first fund the circuit board prototype build (~$500), then fund the 2nd round proto build with mechanical packaging (~$3000), then fund regulatory testing (~20k), then fund the first production run (~50k) (for a theoretical product). But instead of allowing someone to get $500 funding for their initial proto PCB build (which isn't allowed), Kickstarter requires you go for the whole thing at once and ask for a huge sum (after you've already funded much of the development).

      Please let Kickstarter be what it is meant to be, a way to kickstart and crowd fund projects. A way for little players (without a lot of money) to fund the DEVELOPMENT of their idea or even for established players to gauge market interest in different ideas. A way for the community at large to fund projects that may have no commercial objectives. If a group of hobby engineers want to run a PCB build for an OSHW project, they should be able to use Kickstarter to get the funds to do so (which you currently would not allow).

      By only allowing the funding of things that already exist, you are completely destroying the idea of what Kickstarter should be in my mind.

    42. Rumen Filkov on

      Most of the new rules are reasonable, but this one is an exception: "Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited". It might be only a recommendation or yet another rule of thumb. But why a prohibition?!?!?

    43. Craig Dunn

      As a backer of 120+ projects (meaning you've made a lot of money off me), I'd like to chime in and say that....while I appreciate the fact that you are FINALLY responding to some criticisms regarding your unwillingness to chastise and go after scam projects (and just send out form letters to people who register complaints), I think your approach is faulty.

      The fundamental goal needs to be education - for both backers AND creators. I am ok with the whole "risks and challenges and whatever" required clause in each project, though you can't MAKE a backer read it. What you can do is, as some have suggested, is force people to agree to a set of statements acknowledging risk awareness as they proceed through the steps of pledging, On the flip side, creators need to agree to certain things as they fill in the fields for estimated delivery dates and perhaps even set up a transparent system of schedules and milestones that are tied in to the gradual release of funds. If the project fails to meet conclusion, there is at least some recourse for backers and some penalty for creators for not following through. This notion may require some refinement if utilized, of course, as some milestones could be dependent on a large portion of the funding....but it's at least a thought in the right direction as opposed to some of these new rules being instated.

      If there is a quantity limit or requirement to have an idea or,product to a certain stage of development (often the reason people need Kickstarting in the first place), I will either severely reduce or cease my involvement with this particular crowd funding venue....and that will be a shame for both the multitude of genuinely creative people I have backed at significant levels and, ultimately, to your own detriment as you lose your "cut" from both myself and many others who are driven away by these measures.

      Please keep considering the goals behind any new rules first and then create changes that protect and educate without ruining the system for everyone. As you can see from all the comments, most of these new changes mentioned have been universally panned by creators and backers.

      Thanks for listening.

    44. Michael Meissner on

      Some people have advocated schedules and holding project creators to them. While it is well intentioned, I think it is naive. The majority of KS projects I have backed have been late, due to glitches in the production end of things. #%^ happens, and a lot of times it happens when you are scaling up from building one or two items in your basement, to hiring somebody else.

      Of the projects I have backed, TriggerTrap had perhaps the worst string of luck. Some of the problems were learning experiences where in their next project they will no doubt do it different. But also, they had a 2 month delay when one of the parts (the LCD screen) was no longer available and they had to redesign the whole unit around a new screen that met their requirements. And another 1-2 month delay when they had to search for another supplier after the company making the case scammed them. I'm not sure how these could be prevented.

      Occasionally projects ship on time. Teensy 3.0 looks like it will, in part because the creator already has created several projects before and had gone through the learning steps most of the project creators have to go through from having a bright idea, to finished result. I thought this was what KS was all about in the first step, to give people seed money to create their projects.

    45. Missing avatar

      KS Backer and Producer on

      As a hardware designer (and Backer of other hardware projects):

      1) Great Idea: Risks and Challenges section
      2) Half-Baked Idea: Product simulations and renderings prohibited.
      3) Bad Idea: Multiple Product quantities prohibited

      On point #2: I certainly understand the intent there...but it is unnecessarily hampering a large majority of the hardware developers who are doing a good job and who are clearly and truthfully communicating project status. There are plenty of example already posted here.

      On point #3: As a Backer, I would rarely, if ever, consider buying just quantity one of the product. Digispark and Teensy 3.0 are great examples. And yes, I have bought multiples of each because just one is rarely enough for initial usage. Again, there are plenty of posts already explaining the need for selling multiple quantities. A simple example...if it hasn't been raised, is the cost of plastic mold tooling. A simple mold tool for a 1" x 2" x 4" part can easily cost $2000 and up to $10,000. And that is for one part. It takes at least two parts to make an you are looking at $4000 to $20,000 just for two parts of the assembly. I am a mechanical engineer, and I am giving you very real costs. Without backing, these custom enclosures that customers want are simply unattainable. Without backing, the designer must result to much less attractive means to make the project happen (e.g. signing the rights and any intellectual property over to a big company). It stifles the ability of the designer to truly own the work, and it really stifles innovation. I am speaking from experience!

      The bigger picture: these new guidelines (or are they indeed rules?) taste rather bitter to those developers who are doing a good job and who are clearly and truthfully communicating project status. It sounds like KS is having issues with a small percentage of cases creating a big mess (unhappy backers, broken promises, misleading advertising). I call it Employee Handbook Syndrome. New rules being implemented to handle the handful of bad eggs out there. Simply put, the more restrictions...the more you stifle innovation. Looking back at recent KS projects, a whole slew of truly cool ones would not have made it with these new guidelines.

      Yes, product renderings and simulations are a very sharp, two-edged sword. Used properly, it conveys to the customer the end use of the product. Used improperly, the customer falls in love with air and empty promises. ******Consider this approach instead: if any product renderings or simulations are used...then the developer must make, in big bold print, the disclaimer(s) associated with the rendering/simulation.****** This approach might satisfy the backer, the developer, and KS.

      I am taking the time to say all this because:
      1) KS is great and has given birth to very cool projects that just wouldn't be same without it
      2) I feel like a large number of good developers are being punished for a small number of bad egg projects out there.
      2a) The fact that these rules have not been implemented until now is a testament to a vast majority of developers doing a good and fair job.
      3) I will be developing hardware through KS...but perhaps not if all of these new guidelines stick
      4) Summed up and after more thinking on it, I hope you will see the new guidelines actually violate what KS intends to do: allow anyone to innovate and bring a great idea to fruition. I think that if you replace the new guidelines with my suggestion above and keep the new Risks & Challenges have a formula for success for everyone.
      5) Please do some more deliberation on the new guidelines.

    46. Aaron Wilson on

      This sort of shoots many of their greatest products in the foot, and undercuts their usefulness as a product development fund raiser.

      Lets look at a couple of these things here:
      Offering multiple quantities of a reward is prohibited. Hardware and Product Design projects can only offer rewards in single quantities or a sensible set (some items only make sense as a pair or as a kit of several items, for instance). The development of new products can be especially complex for creators and offering multiple quantities feels premature, and can imply that products are shrink-wrapped and ready to ship.
      Of their top selling Kickstarters, Reaper Bones, Ouya, Pebble Smartwatch, Zombicide, and many of their other physical product related kicks fall under this.

      This means that you can't, for instance, streamline your reward tiers by using the simplified "Donate $100 for reward C or $300 for three of reward C"

      But that's just a hump in the road, this one seems like it will kill software and game titles on Kickstarter


      Product simulations are prohibited. Projects cannot simulate events to demonstrate what a product might do in the future. Products can only be shown performing actions that they’re able to perform in their current state of development.
      Product renderings are prohibited. Product images must be photos of the prototype as it currently exists.

      Products should be presented as they are. Over-promising leads to higher expectations for backers. The best rule of thumb: under-promise and over-deliver.

      Kikctstarters effect are along the lines of Shadowrun Returns, Shadowrun Online, Doublefine Adventure, Pebble Smartwatch, Reaper Bones, Planetary Annihilation, Wasteland 2, Zombicide, and pretty much anything else in the "Game" category.

      The reason this has such a drastic effect on the games trying to get Kickstarted is that it eliminates any type of in-development drawings, concept art, or discussion showing what the product will eventually be. For the vast majority of the games on Kickstarter (and even technology kickstarters) the only physical product when the Kickstarter begins is a few sheets of notebook paper detailing what the developers want it to be and a handful of early concept drawings.

      This is also a highly counter-intuitive rule that actually makes Kikcstarter MORE like a shopping experience. Because now when you go to Kickstarter they have the same rules as walking into Wal-Mart, what you see is what you get. As a development tool, you need to be able to show the development of the product, and to be able to show what it is that the product will eventually be. It's counter-intuitive to expect people to back a product when the developers are contractually forced to not explain what the product will be when it's finished.

    47. Missing avatar

      Michael Jacob on

      Just one word: absurd.
      What really need to be done:
      * Change the wording from "Estimated delivery" to "Earliest delivery".
      * Add a note to the delivery date (and send an email to all existing backers) once a project hits 125% funding saying something like "Reward deliveries will most likely be delayed because the project has to produce more rewards than initially calculated."
      * Add a note to the delivery date (and send an email to all existing backers) once a project hits 500% funding saying something like "Reward deliveries will most likely be extremely delayed because the project has to produce way more rewards than initially calculated."
      * Split hardware projects into "funding development" and "funding (mass) production". Impose different restrictions on those sub-categories, e.g. no pre-sales resp. fully working prototype. Allow development projects to give coupons for the later production project' rewards as their rewards.
      * Add a way to select shipment costs to a pledge (e.g. drop down box on the reward level selection screen), but do NOT add the shipment costs to the projects total funds. If a project needs $5000, getting $7000 including $3000 of shipping cost will just make a project fail...
      * Create a web shop platform so that projects can actually continue selling their products after the Kickstarter. This would reduce pressure from both projects (need to collect money to build a distribution networks, too) and the backers (need to pledge for as many as I might need for live, as I don't know if I will ever be able to buy it in a store).
      * Get a deal (or two) with some fulfillment companies. Right now shipping rewards is a big problem for many projects, even more so for international delivery.
      * Stop approving projects that do not clearly state what they need the money for. At the moment there is at least one project out there that looks like they need the money to develop a product when they actually need it to bulk-order and brand an existing product.
      * Allow project pages to have tabs. Force them to have at least the tabs "Our vision" (initial tab), "What we have so far", "Your risks and our challenges" and "What the money is for". An (optional?) "Timeline" tab that automatically produces some nice pictures from entered dates and texts would be nice, too.

    48. Missing avatar

      Michael Jacob on

      * Add a preview for comments, profreeding just doesn't work in this tiny box.

    49. Charles Waugh on

      @Michael Jacob:
      Yes sir! You hit the nails all rather squarely on the head.
      Wanna start a competing site to KS?
      (and you formatted your post for readability!)

    50. Missing avatar

      John Beale on

      Renderings can be used to mislead the gullible, but they are part of the design process in every professional product design setting I've been a part of. An outright ban on showing anything rendered seems like a step back to the last century.

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