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President Barack Obama recently made it easier for Americans to invest small amounts of money to help start companies, with the passing of the Crowdfunding Bill on April 5.
Now that it is easier to invest in products, overexcited consumers should still remain calm when considering using sites, like Kickstarter, to support their favorite game developer or musical artist.
Kickstarter, a site established in 2008, provides a means of pledging funds to support projects such as video games, technological innovations, independent films, album releases and a host of miscellaneous projects. In exchange for the support, groups promise to return the favor by providing donators with rewards based on their donation amount, such as game developers offering a free copy of the game with a $15 donation when the full game is priced at $60.
Users of Kickstarter should be weary of throwing too much money at projects without considering both the validity of the rewards and the quality of the product.
More than one year ago, Kickstarter successfully raised funds for Vere Sandals that surpassed the original goal by more than $40,000. Donators were promised that their rewards — ranging from custom sandals to surfboards — would arrive that spring. Most of the project’s backers, however, still have not received their shoes.
This is not to say that crowdfunding is an entirely bad process. Particularly for game developers, Kickstarter provides donators with a means to directly communicate with the designers, offering the game designers immediate community feedback and giving players a way to contribute to the development of a game that interests them.
By carefully exploring and researching the projects before backing them, funders can easily provide developers support to kick start a unique product that would be unfeasible without financial support.