We take our responsibility as Kickstarter's stewards very seriously. It's our job to provide a system deserving of your trust — by proactively screening for potential problems, by investigating issues brought to us by our community, and by still being exceedingly clear that even with these steps not every project will go as planned.
Our goal is to provide a safe and trusted platform where people are honest and open with one another as they collaborate to bring creative projects to life.
What everyone should know
Kickstarter is not a store. People aren't buying things that already exist — they're helping to create new things. Creating things isn't always easy. Some projects will go wonderfully, and others will run into obstacles. Be prepared for a little bit of each.
Creators are responsible for their projects. When you back a project, you're trusting the creator to do a good job, so if you don't know them personally or by reputation, do a little research first. Kickstarter doesn't evaluate a project's claims, resolve disputes, or offer refunds — backers decide what's worth funding and what's not.
Some projects won't go as planned. Even with a creator's best efforts, a project may not work out the way everyone hopes. Kickstarter creators have a remarkable track record, but nothing's guaranteed. Keep this in mind when you back a project.
What backers can do
Explore the project page. It should tell you everything you need to know, including details about the project and information — including a Verified Name — about the creator who's vouching for it. Don't forget to read the comments (to see what others are saying) and any updates (to see how the creator communicates with backers). The "Risks and Challenges" section is especially worth a look.
Read what others say. If you're not sure about something, you can look elsewhere on the web. Does the creator have an online presence, or past work you can look at? Do people say good things about them? If you're curious about the thing they're creating, you can look into that, too. Has it been tried before? What happened then?
Ask questions. If there's something you want to know about a project, ask the creator — there's an "ask" button at the bottom of each project page. And if you come across anything suspicious, just let us know — there's a “report this project” button on each page. That feedback helps us make sure no one's trying to abuse the system.
What creators can do
Be open and responsive. Let people know all about who you are and what you want to accomplish. And do your best to answer backers' questions and address their concerns, quickly and thoroughly — it's a great way to show people that you’re reliable, available, and committed to your project.
Be honest and ethical. It’s tempting to "sell" your project with glossy pitches and big promises, but backers can trust you much more when you're straightforward and honest. Give them a real look at your work, and be frank about the risks and challenges. Don’t try to game the system or make your project look more popular than it is — creators who try things like self-funding and other pledging schemes are at risk of having their projects suspended.
Only work with trusted partners. If you’re collaborating with a group of people, make sure the Verified Name for your project is a trusted contributor, and be cautious about sharing one password. If someone approaches you with offers to promote or market your project, remember that Kickstarter does not endorse or have any affiliation with such services. And if you do think about contracting one, make sure you know exactly what they're offering. If they're sending spam messages or selling lists of backers' emails, you'll be held accountable, and your project could be suspended. (These Campus discussions on PR and social media marketing are also enlightening.)
What we do
We listen. We didn't just build Kickstarter — we've been lovingly tending to it since we launched in 2009. Our Integrity team is always watching over the platform and reviewing reports from the community. Our community helps us make sure this is the safest, most effective platform around.
We monitor the system. Our Integrity team uses complex algorithms and automated tools to identify and investigate suspicious activity on projects.
We take action. Sometimes that just means asking someone to fix a problem. But when we find users or projects that abuse the system, we don't hesitate to suspend them.
General security tips
Beware of "phishing." Phishing is when someone pretends to be a business you trust and asks for sensitive information. Kickstarter will never ask for your Social Security number or full payment information over the phone or by email, and the only place we'll ask you to enter your password is on Kickstarter's log-in screen. If anyone asks you for this information, or you think you've received a scam or hoax email from someone pretending to be affiliated with us, don't respond — just let us know.
Kickstarter is a powerful tool for bringing ideas to life. So far, 11 million backers from all over the world have pledged to projects, helping to launch 109,000 new ideas. It works best when backers and creators communicate openly and honestly, and everyone's well informed. We hope you enjoy getting involved — and if there's anything at all you need to know, just ask.