Hey, it's Matt.
Thanks for being great fans as always.
Just a word or three on ethics...
I was recently contacted through kickstarter by a company that claimed huge success using the kickstarter platform. They had made a backpack and were picked up by a bunch of magazines as the newest-coolest-geek-thing and were approaching me about my backer list. They wanted to have the names and information on my backers in exchange for this:
"We can provide you with the names, job titles, telephone numbers and email addresses for the right contacts for retail distribution at JC Penney's, Sears, Walmart, Macy's, Amazon, Best Buy et. Al. If you are interested in corporate sales revenue, we have all of the Fortune 1000, Global 500, Inc. 500 and millions of others. You can review our massive online database."
and then this little gem:
"There are many no-cost ways we can work together. The first step is for us to receive an export of your backers and in return we will provide you with an excel file containing retail, corporate, education contacts including phone, title and email addresses. "
Now, this campaign was a success. They have made in excess of a million dollars for their product. The more digging that I did, the more that I found that their product is flawed, and where it is not flawed it seems pretty much like an outright scam. And now they were parlaying their monetary success into suckering successful creators into data mining kickstarter for more potential gain, and I could easily see well-intentioned artists getting taken in by this.
This is modern day snake oil salesmanship under the guise of entrepreneurship, and it sincerely ticks me off. As a creator who has literally had to decide whether or not I should create this month or feed my kids (sorry, the kids always win), this drives me nuts. I have spent over 5 years in pursuit of bringing The World of Steam to television, stretching every dollar I got to the fullest, and the inevitable delays, reductions, cuts, sacrifices, adjustments, and eventual successes that I've had in order to make this show a reality, while these guys just use kickstarter as a piggy bank really gets me furious. I love kickstarter. I do. a lot. I think that crowd funding artists is one of the coolest things that the internet has allowed to happen. It took a simple dream that I had to putting it in a place where it looks like it can become a reality (GO JIM HENSON COMPANY!!!).
The fact that these guys are sullying this platform and making people have to be cynical with their altruistic desire to help artists and dreamers is outright opportunism at best and frankly scumbag behavior at worst. I don't really have a point here, other than to say that there are good artists doing amazing work out there. We try to highlight them on this page when we can. And we should all still try to support them.
As to the hucksters, if I was to give the words to one of my characters, it would go something like this:
"You are mumbling coves, mutton shunting hornswogglers, and you deserve naught but disrespect and ire. The smell of you sickens me. Get out of my sight."