The Kickstarter Blog

Kickstarter Is Not a Store

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!

Comments

    1. John%20h%20-%20225p%20-%2020120909.small

      Creator John H. on September 22, 2012

      The prohibition against renders of a product makes little sense - if a case is going to be injection-molded, and the case is part of what the funding is for (injection plastic molds are expensive), then a render seems like the appropriate thing to share. For things designed and developed via 3-D tools, it's the 3-D equivalent of a blueprint, floorplan, or elevation.

    2. John%20h%20-%20225p%20-%2020120909.small

      Creator John H. on September 22, 2012

      OTOH, crap like PlayMG never should have been accepted by Kickstarter in the first place.

      http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/playmg/mg-first-portable-gaming-system-for-the-android-ma

      What moron at KS gave these guys the green light?

      It's clear from cursory inspection that this is a sub-par product that had zero chance of funding, given the competition in the marketplace. And a lot of stuff with their KS is extremely shady.

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      Creator LarryP on September 22, 2012

      Throwing the baby out with the bathwater, are we?

      I think these rules are heavy-handed and likely to drive projects away from Kickstarter -- especially hardware-development projects. Instead of outlawing all renderings, I think that requiring all non-photographic images to be clearly labelled would be a better approach. In many cases, a non-photographic image, for instance a circuit board layout image, provides prospective backers with meaningful evidence of a project's status and risk. Limiting rewards to single quantities for hardware-development projects also seems like an overly inflexible restriction -- and one in conflict with economies of scale, especially for a fledgling project. Again, I'd prefer clear disclosure and let the backer beware to these new rules.

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      Creator Shawn Swift on September 22, 2012

      This is such a terrible decision. You say Kickstarter is not a store. Yet under these new rules, if I want to release something, I basically have to have all the design completed before I launch my product if I want to have any chance of convincing backers to give me money. This means that basically all Kickstarter is doing is taking preorders of a product that is ready for launch... exactly what a store would do... rather than being used as a way to fund the research and development required to bring that product into existence in the first place.

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      Creator Jay Beavers on September 22, 2012

      I love your changes to make it clearer what is being transacted. However I don't understand the need for the 'only one item' rule, this doesn't seem to be related to reducing unknowns or highlighting risk.

      I've supported multiple hardware projects and I like the ability to magnify my support by ordering 'more than one' Successful projects I've backed that I think would have been negatively affected by this new rule are OpenBeam, Teensy 3.0, Digispark, and Galago. Please reconsider this rule. Thank you.

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      Creator Terence Tam on September 22, 2012

      Kickstarter project creator here: I'm the guy behind OpenBeam (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/ttstam/openbeam-an-open-source-miniature-construction-sys). And in case anyone's wondering - we shipped the majority of our rewards a *month* before the original promised date. That probably puts me in the top 5 percentile of projects...

      Let's take a look at your new rules one by one:

      “What are the risks and challenges this project faces, and what qualifies you to overcome them?”
      - Okay, this is perfectly valid. I am surprised you haven't done this earlier, because there are quite a few clueless guys (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/277210494/paint-be-gone…) - *(http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/277210494/call-key…) and http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/277210494/key-pad-case…) out on here who seems be doing the "throw s*** at the wall and see what sticks" model of development.

      "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."

      Okay, so you want a working prototype. I get that; that's pretty straightforward. But it doesn't stop someone from *faking* a prototype on camera. This however, won't stop a project like iCase (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1791911961/i-case-iphone-4s-and-iphone-4-bumper-case) from being a train wreck, as the protoytype would likely have been SLA, painted, and the problem wouldn't have been apparent until the metal parts were CNC machined and fitted and found to short out the iPhone's anntenna.

      The OpenBeam project would have passed these requirements; we had a physical prototype for shooting the video.

      "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."

      And how would you define "Multiple copies" of a reward? This I have a problem with. When you're in production, you are trying to get the manufacturing volume up to bring the costs down. If I were launching OpenBeam now, would I be limited to selling one stick of aluminum and one of each bracket to my backers (who wouldn't be able to do anything useful then with this?) If I packaged it up as a "kit", like I had on my KS, would I have gotten around these restrictions? Who decides whether multiple copies of the same item is required for the item to work (ie, construction toy kit), and when it becomes a way to side step your rules? How much "individual judgement" is there to allow the listing of a project, and do you consider the project creator's background (ie, having successfully delivered on a previous project) when you allow them to post? With the amount of controversy about what gets allowed (*cough* Tangibot (http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/mattstrong/the-tangibot-3d-printer-the-affordable-makerbot-re)*cough*) and what doesn't on Kickstarter already, this rule is probably going to make your selection process more Apple App-store like (arbitrary with no recourse for the project creator if you are not selected).

      Thanks,

      -=- Terence

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      Creator Rod Turner on September 22, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Creator Graham Toal on September 22, 2012

      So instead of promising funding to help develop someone's vision of a product (which they can't show us a production-quality image of until they've received enough funding for a production run), we can only pay for something that already exists... and this is to make KS less like a store? How does that work?

      And people now ask for our venture capital to produce cost-effective runs of say super-cheap computer circuit boards - but they can't sell them in bulk because that's not acting enough like venture capital rather than a store?

      Whatever KS's reasons are for these changes, the explanation for them doesn't hold water. I backed four electronics projects this week just for the fun of trying out some new tech, but under the new rules I wouldn't even have had the opportunity to back any of them.

      Way to shoot yourselves in the foot guys.

    9. Appleton.small

      Creator Stephanie Clarkson on September 22, 2012

      There have now been over 350 comments from creators and kickstarters, 99% of which are telling you that this is not what we want from this site - when are you going to address this, Kickstarter?

    10. Missing_small

      Creator Matthew Butch on September 22, 2012

      I have to agree with the majority of posters- these rules harm the purpose of Kickstarter and make it more difficult for good ideas to be completed. The restrictions on simulations and renders are just dumb- why not let project owners show what it could do before they can get a prototype ready? And without multiple quantities, it makes it much harder to get a project funded.

      As the backer of many projects- where I am aware that I might lose my money- these changes are wrong and disappointing.

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      Creator David Schwalbach on September 22, 2012

      "Kickstarter is not a store" ... I completely agree. The only difference is I think the problem lies with the backers, more so then the developers. These are not fully realized products yet....that is why they need to be kickstarted in the first place! Backing a project is not purchasing, it is investing. Product launches take time, and money. If the only thing you can use to show how the product will work and look is the actual item/prototype, this will hinder many peoples ability to launch a project successfully.

      For example, the LunaTik was created and developed by a designer with a successful Industrial Design consultancy who has worked for many large clients through out his career. He had many resources at his disposal to show the vision of his project to backers. 3D software shots, 3D printed prototypes, CNC'd aluminum prototypes, etc. Seeing all the steps of the process was both fascinating and convincing to backers. This was funded successfully and delivered upon successfully. This is an exception, not a rule when it comes to designers looking for backing on their projects.

      Other designers may not have the money, or resources to produce all those prototypes to such a refined level as they currently stand in the project, but may have a brilliant idea worth our help to fully realize.

      I think the changes need to be in the minds of the backers, understanding what it truly means to be an investor in a project that does not yet exist. I appreciate that Kickstarter sees this and is trying to change it, I just think the changes will only hinder the people who need the backing the most.

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      Creator Catherine Wiener on September 22, 2012

      Kickstarter, please give us consumers some credit!!! I WANT the renderings and the simulations. I WANT to see the goals of what the designers want to achieve. Don't punish the designers because some consumers aren't reading the fine print. Make the "fine print" much bigger and bolder if you want but leave all tools available to the designers. This is their show and they should be able to present the information however they want. It is our job as consumers to be discerning and well-informed with the information provided to us.

      Again, I say, PLEASE, PLEASE ALLOW SIMULATIONS AND RENDERINGS TO BE USED! I feel it's vital to this wonderful, amazing process Kickstarter has launched into the world and this one restriction could stop so many brilliant ideas from coming to fruition and that is the exact opposite of Kickstarter's philosophy. Thank you.

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      Creator Jeremiah O'Leary on September 22, 2012

      I welcome the sentiment of these changes, of a creator is serious and can figure how to make a physical model (even a shapeways model) then we move away front he vapor ware promise a 3d render illicits.

      I do believe, however, that renderings could be allowed additionally to show color options, possible surface finishing in ADDITION to a very honest representation of current development, perhaps in later updates.

      Generally, a render can show a false future, making a prototype and showing where you are is the way forward to show legislate effort, show legimate skills......

      I'm for the sentiment, and hope that these discussions help keep kickstarter a valid platform to help inventors to make.

      Jerry

    14. Lelouch2.small

      Creator Ber on September 22, 2012

      +1 that Michael Jacob's suggestions are perfect. I particularly like the ideas of formally supporting shipping as a separate part of the pledge and not counting it towards the goal, and also of working out a system with some fulfilment companies to help backers with delivery. Also changing wording to 'Earliest delivery' is a great idea.

    15. Missing_small

      Creator David Streever on September 22, 2012

      I am really blown away by some of these comments, and they keep pouring in. Aren't people reading?

      1. OMG YOU WON'T LET A VIDEO GAME POST CONCEPT ART???

      Where did they say that?

      2. I draw up a concept for a toy and have it manufactured elsewhere and want to sell them on kickstarter and this rule makes that hard, what a huge mistake!

      Well, yea, that is what they said they specifically don't want: a store. They want people to invest in a real business, not just what is effectively a 3-d printout being done overseas by underpaid people in a factory, based off of some pretty drawings!

      3. My mass-produced whoziwatsit will be hard to sell here because I need to sell in quantities.

      Well.... right. Kickstarter isn't a store. If you need money to get your product up and running, ask for money. If you are literally just selling the product, then they don't want you. Is that harsh? I don't think so. Why don't you be creative and come up with a really interesting reward besides the product, or, go minimal on the rewards because you are making such an amazing product that people want to back it JUST to get one? Sell your idea!

    16. Terence_headshot.small

      Creator Terence Tam on September 22, 2012

      @DavidS. I kick started a construction kit. What the hell am I suppose to do, sell just one LEGO brick? For a lot of product in the hardware and technology field you need multiples for it to work.

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      Creator Stephanie Clarkson on September 22, 2012

      Streever: I think you are not reading the thoughtful complaints. I have not seen complaint one since the first page when people were trying to figure out what was up. I have not seen complaint 2 at all. Complaint three is, frankly, valid. If I need to raise money to make 1000 items, and someone would like to offer me money that would make three of them, why on earth is it better for me to say, 'sorry, I can only let you fund one of them. You can give me more money, but there is nothing I can do to show that I appreciate it. Unless you want a t-shirt maybe?'

    18. Missing_small

      Creator heathkid on September 22, 2012

      Will someone at Kickstarter *please* respond to the hundreds of us who do not in any way agree with the new changes???

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      Creator Matt Wadhsman on September 23, 2012

      Yer damn right it's not a store ! Have you considered the alternative scam ? Suppose I kickstart a project I've completed ? Suddenly, you're etsy. Maybe not even that innovative as etsy. I just take the money, give the result and run. Sure, I've completed the project. Sure, there's zero risk. But this is ante-thetical to all the good work kickstarter does.
      And makes kickstarter into just another store.

    20. Missing_small

      Creator Andrew McDonald on September 23, 2012

      Creating a tangible 3D-printed rapid prototype of a product doesn't provide any more credibility than creating a render using the exact same CAD data. It doesn't prove I have thought more about the product, or prove my idea is ready for production. At the end of the day, both presentation methods are used to represent what the final vision is for the product. So why should it matter if one is 2D, and the other is 3D?

      For the record, I can take a photo of a rapid prototype and make it look exactly the same as a rendering and vice-versa. So why ban renderings?

      If I do take a photo of a rapid prototype, does this mean I now can't use Photoshop to tweak the image and clean it up? The end result would look like a rendering wouldn't it, but these are banned. I'm confused!?

      I totally understand what you are trying to do here, but I really hope you rethink this problem and find a smarter solution before it's too late.

    21. Missing_small

      Creator Thomas DUrso on September 23, 2012

      I used to think that Kickstarter was an amazing concept. Now I am wondering if you guys have any idea what you are doing. Yes, the projects on here have changed. Hardware projects bringing in $1m revenue on a product was not probably part of your initial plan. Deal with it. I dont check out your site for someone to crank out a poster or album. I view this as an opportunity to change how companies are funded and founded.

    22. Missing_small

      Creator Felix Mak on September 23, 2012

      so should engineers stop rendering buildings before building them?

    23. Dawn.small

      Creator ET3D on September 23, 2012

      I want to chime in with the others, but first for the positive:

      I like the Risks and Challenges section, and I think it would be okay to force the creators to show a prototype for hardware. It's not only helpful for backers to understand the risk better, but for creators to make sure they're not naively selling stuff that's in an early stage. I once tried to create a hardware product, and I know how far the distance is between a basic prototype and a working product (which I never go to).

      Still, as others have said, disallowing renders is going a step too far. The visual design of the product is important, but often is the last thing to get implemented, since functionality comes first, and that's the way I think it should be. It's useful to present backers with a vision of the result. But as I said before, making it mandatory to show the current state of the project is also good. The two can coexist. Probably a section such as Current State would be a better choice than disallowing the rest. Let the backers know what the product can do now and how it looks, but also allow showing what it's supposed to look like.

      I also disagree about the multiple quantities, because in practice it will do little to stop the practice. Creators will still be able to offer them via PayPal or otherwise (assuming that the project is successfully funded), and backers often do want these. While in some cases it might make a difference the the success of the project, I think that normally it will just add hassle to both backers and creators without preventing the practice.

      As a backer, I do treat Kickstarter in many cases as a store. It's a risky store, and one where I usually pay more than I would otherwise, because I want to support the creators, but I do expect to get a product, and that's part of why I'm willing to pay. Sure I backed some projects where I didn't care about the reward, but then I normally back at a very low level. I understand about clarifying the risks and I think that's a good move, but I think that Kickstarter shouldn't force a viewpoint on backers.

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      Creator Balazs Eitzenberger (deleted) on September 23, 2012

      Dear Mr./Mrs.,

      We, as the owners of Woomboo Kft., are very surprised about the fact that the LIFX-project is on Kickstarter, as a technological innovation. The project is about a lamp based on Wifi-technology and controlled by smartphone.

      Our company has sent the ‘BluetoothBulb project’ on July 15th, 2012 for verification to you. The ‘BluetoothBulb project’ has the same functions as promised by LIFX, however it was rejected with the reason that the project did not meet your guidelines.

      If you were applying the same criteria for both projects, we don’t understand how could the LIFX-project meet the requested guidelines.

      We are really worried about the fact that the LIFX-project stating that only a bulb and a smartphone with a free applet are necessary for the system, deceives the customers, in our view.
      Contrary to the above, a Wifi-network, configuration and a master bulb, a ‘gateway’ are also necessary for the system operation.
      However, these information can be partially found in the detailed explanation of the system, the video is misleading.

      According to the point of view of our technical and legal experts, the main components of the LIFX-project are the exact copy of our ‘BluetoothBulb project’ presented to Kickstarter one month earlier.

      We contacted you as we found your web-page very promoting and correct, but the situation evolved is very frustrating for us and for our business partners, as well. The representatives of the media are also asking information from us.
      Before our company presents its press release tomorrow, we would like to know your point in the above issue.

      Sincerely yours,

      Mr. Balázs Eitzenberger
      managing director
      Woomboo Kft.

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      Creator Dave Larose on September 23, 2012

      My comment is off-thread in general terms about the current Blog Post, but I felt compelled to write it after reading the 374 comments preceding mine. BTW people, perhaps no one from KS is responding to the Blog Post, and your comments is that it is a weekend, and they may very well have posted it when they did in order to garner an entire weekend's worth of comments to consider on Monday. I think that a forum discussion prior to the stated changes might have been more in line with a crowd-related site, but it is crowd-funding, NOT crowd-sourced policies. There may well be legal issues prompting this Policy change, I would be very surprised to discover that wasn't the case.

      In response to many of the comments that I keep reading:

      I Second Matt Davidson's comments. KS is VERY clearly, although not to so many of the site/services users, a DONATION site. You are GIVING your money to someone to try and do X, if they also offer a 'Reward', then that is swell. Do not confuse the term Pledge, with Invest, Back or whatever. You are GIVING your money (I cannot stress this enough) away. Some cool ideas, projects and art is made possible by this, but a ton of money will disappear in various manners, scams, failed concepts, stupidity, the creator themselves being scammed/ripped off, naivety, etc...

      I see, here and on so many other forms, people wondering, and suggesting, KS should be more involved in vetting projects, and in turn solving problems. They simply can't. KS never actually has the money, they merely skim their cut off on the way to the Creators. How can they hold/repay/refund monies that they themselves do not, nor ever have had..? Staged payments to Creators? Again, they cannot. This would change their entire business model, and, I suggest, make them an earnest partner with said Creators, and unleash an entire new world of problems, and potential legal issues from failed projects.

      Overfunding? This initially perplexed me. In thinking about the KS business model, which appears decent enough in my head; they have huge reasons to subtly, or by other overt means, encourage this state of funding. If they encourage close(er) to actual budgetary needs funding targets, they will have less projects succeed and hit their funding targets, and subsequently less projects paying them a fee. Simple logic.

      This is also why partial funding projects on Indiegogo and such have a tiered fee structure.

      Kind of fun to watch this new ecom-system unfold. It will be painful, and cause grief to some though. So be careful giving your money away to total strangers!

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      Creator Festo O'Mani on September 23, 2012

      Before these rules Kickstarter was a place to fund dreams and visions of what could be, after it just seems like another place to buy things that are. Etsy is a better place for that type of thing.

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      Creator Brett Faulk + HumanToolz on September 23, 2012

      I like the "risks & challenges." I have a few suggestions:

      - Have the creator also outline their mitigation plans for each risk. This is more than simply having a creator outline what qualifies them to overcome the challenge. Some risks require a "plan B."

      - Default to 1 but allow backers to input the quantity of a reward they want.

      - I think your new rules allow bundles as a reward, but I'd like to encourage allowing unique rewards containing multiple items that are not all the same.

      - Allow renderings but require that all renderings be labeled as "rendering" with a disclaimer that it is the "creator's vision or artistic goal." Renderings can help backers understand the user experience a creator is targeting that perhaps cannot be conveyed through a prototype mockup. Keep in mind a creator can have an ID model made for most products that suggests a design is farther along than it really is ... with the right photography the ID model images can overcome the lack of renderings.

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      Creator Taylor Ramsey on September 23, 2012

      I am very much in favor of these new rules. While the hardware guidelines ARE quite strict, it will weed out many unprepared creators. As to the first rule, I have had one of my backed projects beset with invisible delays and a solid lack of any substantive communication. It has been a year with no delivery date in site yet. That makes me a more wary backer to be sure, but there is nothing wrong with having to prove you are capable of doing what you set out to do. If there was no kickstarter these creators would have to do far more to get a project off the ground.

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      Creator Adrian Morgan on September 23, 2012

      Adding a risks and challenges section is a great idea. And a detailed timeline would be good too.

      But multiple rewards being taken away? That sucks. Treat us like adults please. There are some design projects that aren't going to make it into 'production' as a company, but we still want to 'invest'.

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      Creator George on September 23, 2012

      This is not only going to hinder about 70% of future projects, but it should also hurt Kickstarter's bottom line. Why would a company gaining this much momentum do such a thing?!

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      Creator Bradley Taylor Wilson on September 23, 2012

      Wow. Gotta be honest - Kickstarter just fucked itself with the 'no renderings' clause. Remember Tik Tok, that little watch that pulled in $942,578? That was ALL renderings of future product.

      Congratulations you just killed the Design section of KS. And a ton of future revenue.

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      Creator Hugh Tassell on September 23, 2012

      After reading all of the other comments, I too feel compelled to voice my concerns over the recent changes in policy.
      I think we must consider why Kickstarter have decided to implement these changes. Fundamentally, they are band-aid fixes that have been instated as a knee-jerk reaction to recent events occurring with various projects in Kickstarter at present.
      For example, there is the lawsuit against the maker of the Hansfree iPad Accessory. The project creator is being sued by its backers for non-delivery of the product. Importantly, the substance of the lawsuit contains:
      ... my legal action .... seeks 3 things from the court: ..... (3) a judicial declaration that we, as backers, were simply customers who purchased a pre-ordered unit, as opposed to the fuzzy "backer/pledger" nonsense that has been peddled here in the comments by various individuals.
      One can clearly see why Kickstarter would not wish the court to find in favour of the claimants in this case.
      A second recent controversy is with the LIFX project and its scathing review in Reuters, similar to other such reports containing major concern about massively funded technology projects and their ability to actually deliver.
      Whilst the intention of Kickstarter is for people to ‘donate’ to projects in order to help them come to fruition, the reality of the situation is that, according to the terms of service, projects must either deliver the product or offer refunds. There is a rapid increase in the rate of lawsuits against Kickstarter projects and of failed project creators declaring bankruptcy that are based on this clause.
      My suspicions are that Kickstarter’s legal counsel are becoming increasingly worried that one of these lawsuits is going to set a precedent for Kickstarter being viewed as a store, and hence may bear the financial costs of failed projects , faulty goods, personal injury liability and so forth. On top of this, recent legal suits against Kickstarter projects for things such as copyright or patent infringement may start to be directed as Kickstarter itself rather than just its project members.
      So, these changes then, are an attempt to address some of these risks, to eliminate any project whose conduct could be construed to be anything like ‘selling’, to restrict false or misleading advertising and to make more apparent the risks associated with each project.
      I sincerely hope a more well thought out plan to address the real issues and risks that Kickstarter faces is developed.
      I suggest that the Terms of Service be examined and overhauled to establish better definitions of the legal rights and responsibilities of all parties involved. Many of the problems that the Kickstarter community is currently experiencing can be solved simply by people knowing explicitly what risks they are taking and what their rights and responsibilities are.
      Such an approach must surely be better than the superficial band-aid fixes Kickstarter has just imposed which compromise the very reason for Kickstarter in the first place.

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      Creator George Robbins on September 23, 2012

      My project falls in that Open Hardware Category and welcome the changes.

      I think anything that will enhance the security, reputation and trustworthiness of Kickstarter will only drive more traffic to projects in development. Although more of a challenge, I do believe these guidelines have helped me understand more about how to structure a better business plan styled project.

      I would recommend that you re-evaluate the multiple rules with some type of contract of guaranty or verification that could include manufacturing verification or referral.

      I really do believe Kickstart is the beginning of community based approach that could change true innovation within my category. Thank you for the platform.

      Please join my ongoing discussion about Kickstart, Changes, Projects and more at https://www.facebook.com/groups/ILoveKickstarter/

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      Creator Andy Lundell on September 23, 2012

      I welcome these changes.
      The prohibition on 3d renders will give the site a very "work shop" feel that changes the whole tone of the site.

      Many people won't like the new feeling, but I think it will bring Kickstarter back to its roots.

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      Creator David on September 23, 2012

      I'm sure this has been mentioned dozens of times; but the no rendering and no simulation rules are not well thought out. I understand the intent, but there are better approaches. The most simple is this: If you provide a rendering, you also have to provide details on how you will achieve the rendered finish. The same for simulations. And people could show the simulation or rendering, and be required to also show a demonstration of where things are right now.

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      Creator George Westwater on September 23, 2012

      Regarding renderings, we have a lot of 3D renderings for the project we are submitting, but we also have pictures of the existing prototype. We use the 3D renderings to show how things connect and work and snap together, as well as possibly ways it could be arranged. Does this usage of rendering violate the new rules?

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      Creator Rod Turner on September 23, 2012

      This comment has been removed by Kickstarter.

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      Creator Duran Goodyear on September 23, 2012

      I am 1000% (yes, one thousand percent) in approval of these changes. And maybe I missed it in my parsing... but I agree with the statement that you should present hardware designs in their CURRENT PHYSICAL state... But I think it should be allowed to present the GOAL as well.

      These are excellent changes, and I'm glad to see them, but there's nothing wrong in advertising what people *WANT* to do, as well as making sure its clear, at what state, things currently exist.

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      Creator dtchris on September 23, 2012

      I am impressed with the common sense and depth of knowledge depicted in most of these comments. Let’s hope that the KickStarter management will listen and apply the same common sense by balancing narrow minded legal counsel with sound engineering and marketing advocacy. KickStarter is a wonderful entrepreneurial American job building sponsorship. May calmer heads prevail and get KickStart back on track. Posting and demonstrating a product proof of concept is a reasonable expectation, but disallowing a production design depiction is unreasonable and unrealistic.

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      Creator Bill Fredson on September 23, 2012

      This sucks! These rules basically just changed kckstarter from what it was (something awesome to support projects/products that wouldn't normally happen) into something boring and ordinary (a regular retail store). You can only sell products that already exist?... That's what a retail store is!

      Part of supporting a kickstarter project is to take some risk. I think the solution for failed projects is to force documentation and possibly press charges for instances of possible fraud, not prevent the projects altogether.

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      Creator Brian on September 23, 2012

      So, basically what kickstarter wants me to do is this: 1. Pitch my project without using any visualizations about what future amounts of money and effort could lead to.
      2. create a URL leading to a site that isn't Kickstarter that happens to host videos and images for free.
      3. Throw that URL into my kickstarter promo and on the page somewhere with a statement like: Due to the way Kickstarter decided to run their website, we are no longer allowed to show you on the kickstarter website either images or rendered video of possible end results so we have decided to follow their rules while still giving you our insight into where we want to take this project. Please go to the URL posted for images that unable to be hosted to kickstarted because they kinda suck like that.
      4. People see your stuff, still give you money, kickstarter can suck it on what happens off their servers.

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      Creator Witold Chrabaszcz on September 23, 2012

      This should be titled "Kickstarter is now a store"

      Isn't the whole point of Kickstarter to put renderings and ideas in front of people, and hope they like it?

      Instead, you just gutted your whole concept to become just another reseller of existing, developed products.

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      Creator Liza Shulyayeva on September 23, 2012

      @Josh Holloway - So when did you get your shipped and ready to use OUYA or Pebble? Because as far as I know those projects could join the ranks of those that got funded and then disappeared into the oblivion.

      I think these are welcome changes.

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      Creator Jay B Payne on September 23, 2012

      Kickstarter needs to be about innovation and creativity not about boundaries. People should apply common sense to the projects they back and only risk monies that they can afford to lose. If they can't do that then I have little sympathy for them.

      I would much rather see more project surveys and backer feedback than a list of rules that try to cover every possible project scenario. Because those rules don't exist. Building up a rating system for project creators is a great way for each potential backer to help gauge the risk. Of course, there will be people trying to take advantage of the system but that's the case with anything. Another thing you can do is limit the maximum amount a backer can contribute or a project can raise.

      Growing faster than the popularity of Kickstarter is the amount of whining and complaining on the site about projects expectations. Especially for some hardware components. This kind of thing annoys me more than a project being a few months late because of a manufacturing problem. What ever happened to just asking unhappy people to leave and not use the site? Pandering to a loud minority never stops and it will eventually ruin anything the site is trying to accomplish. Fix problems certainly but stay true to your vision.

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      Creator Nicholas Sharp on September 23, 2012

      Here are the thoughts of the designers and engineers who create the visuals in question, why they're fundamental to the product development process and how they're used responsibly. I urge people to check this out and begin to imagine a better and more effective set of guidelines for everyone that enjoys the platform.
      http://www.core77.com/blog/kickstarter/whoa--_design_renderings_banned_on_kickstarter_23484.asp

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      Creator Carsten Tommy Lauridsen on September 23, 2012

      I find these guidelines overly restrictive and counterproductive, if people cant tell the difference between a finished product and a possible future one, they should be told by a text when they join kickstarter what it is about. Why put that responsibility on the developers in a to broad and restrictive rule set, when it can be told by kickstarter in one easy made text? If some people can't think for themselves its a problem.. Yes... But is it therefore automatically the developers problem?? (by the way, I'm not a developer but a concerned user)

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      Creator Kyle Singer on September 23, 2012

      I agree with John Kelley, products and hardware depend HEAVILY on bulk orders, and not being able to reward higher backers with more products, makes it much harder to encourage higher amounts of backing.

      I hate the idea of calling these "donations" because they ARE giving something in return, but rather than moving away from the 'donation with a reward' rhetoric, kickstarter seems to want to reinforce it, or reinforce 'we are not a store'. This place may not be a store for prototypes, but what is the goal? Isn't the goal to let developers BECOME stores? So what, if it "implies they are ready to ship"? We'll make it more clear the products are NOT.

      Not all products are cheap or have a wide audience, some time take time, and some simply need more money. The idea of Kickstarter or "fan based funding" should be REWARD YOUR BACKERS, REWARD YOUR EARLY BELIEVERS, not punish them. Therefore, the goal should be to reward people who back you buy making them pay less than retail, pre-order in bulk. But this rule will likely force many projects to find more individual backers, lose higher amount backers and ultimately make backers pay more, not less, than the people who buy the products later after they're made.

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      Creator David Snow on September 23, 2012

      This is great. It's finally getting the rigor it needs. It's going to make so many half-baked ideas fail out, which is the right thing to do.

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      Creator John Arne Birkeland on September 23, 2012

      Who is to judge what is and what is not a half baked idea? People just need to understand the simple fact that they are pledging money to make it POSSIBLE for the creator to complete his dream. They are in no way of shape purchasing a product. If he is able to make it come true, that is great and you get to own something unique as a rewards. But there is no guarantee that will happened. Or to put it in more familiar words. "Kickstarter Is Not a Store"

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      Creator Project Hexapod on September 23, 2012

      Given these rules, the Kickstarter campaign we just completed to build a giant robot (Stompy, the 4,000 pound hexapod) would never have happened. It's impossible for us to build the robot without having money from Kickstarter, period, and there's no sell for the project without a rendering of what we plan for it to look like. Does this mean we have to take any other large robot projects we come up with elsewhere in the future?