You might have noticed that our campaign's funding amount has yo-yo'd very noticeably over the past few days.
That's because we were "Kicktrolled."
Yeah, I just made that word up. I'm not sure what they're calling these days, but it seems to be a major problem that's on the rise.
We had a backer using the (presumably) fake name of "Lee McAllister" back us for around $500. That's not a red flag per se, as we had a few other backers pledge at that level, too.
But over the holiday weekend, he suddenly raised his bid to $1,000. "Well, okay," we thought, "maybe he reeeeaallly wanted to see the project get funded."
And then we woke up to suddenly find ourselves at 65% of goal, up from around 25%. Why?
Well, "Lee" suddenly increased his pledge to $10,000. And bragged about it in the comments.
TEN GRAND. The price of a used car. Nearly half or our funding goal.
Obviously, the spider sense was tingling. So I wrote him to ask him if he had added a zero too many to his amount, to which he said "No, I think that's right."
And then he immediately proceeded to cut his funding by $5,000.
And there we sat, about 50% funded over the Thanksgiving holiday. Not feeling particularly thankful, but nervous.
What if this guy "helped" us get funded by the skin of our teeth only to skip out on the bill? We'd still be short a few grand, have to deliver the project to the paying backers and be liable for Kickstarter and Amazon fees.
Or what if we were, say, 105% funded, and he pulled his $5K out a minute or two before the campaign closed? Talk about a roller coaster ride of emotion!
So here we are, not much further ahead than we were before Thanksgiving and with a dark cloud hanging over this campaign. I mean, would you back a project that suddenly lost nearly half of its funding in a few short days?
So at this point, folks, it's not looking too good for The True North. While we knew we had an uphill battle ahead of us going into it, this is likely the nail in the casket.
We're not throwing in the towel just yet, but it's very disheartening after starting out strong as a Kickstarter Project of the Day and getting several high-profile shoutouts more recently, including io9.
But that's crowdfunding for you. When it works, it works wonderfully. But it seems like the more attention the platform gets the more likely it is that people will abuse it. For other project creators out there, examine each and every pledge and if anything seems "off," you're well within your rights to question it.
10 days to go, and we still need 70% of our funding goal. Those aren't good odds, but we'll keep all of our awesome backers informed of what our plans are should this campaign not meet its funding goal.
(UPDATE: Checking "Lee's" profile this morning, I see that his funding has been pulled on the other campaigns he was backing. So it's possible that Kickstarter intervened.)