We're considering doing Early Bird for our upcoming campaign. The base game is available for $20, and the next tier up is at $30 which includes a digital artbook and soundtrack. We're considering doing Early Bird for the $30, and offering a $25 pre-order level for the first 24 hours.
My question is - has anyone ever regretted doing Early Bird? Have you ever had fans complain about those other people getting lower pricing, or suspected less people backed tiers later, because they missed out on Early Bird?
I've run 7 campaigns to-date. Every single one has used a limited number of early-bird rewards to drive initial impetus and buzz. Early momentum is pretty much vital in a KickStarter project. My average TTF (time to funding) is 17 hours (record is 1.42, longest 50.5).
My early-bird offers are slightly sweeter than the mainstream basic pledge, but not massively.
I've never had a single complaint from anyone in respect of 'early-birds' except for good-natured comments like "darn-it I missed the early-birds again!" For me, the hardest thing is gauging how many earlies to put out there. But now you can time-limit them as well, that makes it so much less guesswork.
I think it totally depends on how you put your campaign together, but I've always found early-birds are great at generating that intial buzz that gives your project some momentum at the start.
Reading the comments on the Earl's Stonemaiergames link just makes me think that some people try to please everyone. You're never going to please everyone. If someone thinks life is unfair because someone else got a better deal for being an earlier backer, I don't want to have to deal with that asshole. Not everyone is a potential client and not everyone is a client worth having. By trying to please everyone you end up pleasing nobody.
Just my 2 cents' worth. It works for me. Your mileage may vary.