2,358 crowdsourcing and crowdfunding sites
Back in May, he wrote:
Recently, I talked to Scott Steinberg, who wrote The Crowdfunding Bible, and he talked about why research is so important for entrepreneurs.
He told me that if you’re going to use a crowdfunding service like Kickstarter, it’s important to figure out what’s worked for others in the past, but also to figure out what hasn’t worked for others in the past.
If you hide failure, it’s hard to learn from others’ mistakes.
Misener’s blog post prompted a number of others, including AppsBlogger’s Jeanne Pi, to conduct their own research. Kickstarter responded by creating a comprehensive statistics page that includes the numbers for both successful and failed campaigns.
It turns out Misener wasn’t content with just having brought the issue to the public eye. Several days ago, he unveiled the Kickback Machine, a database that shows both successful and unsuccessful Kickstarter projects. The site has been gathering data on all campaigns that were started since mid-June – just over 4,500 at the time of this writing.
“Knowing the overall success rates for different categories is one thing,” Misener told Crowdsourcing.org, referring to Kickstarter’s statistics page. “But it’s an entirely different thing to drill down even further and look at individual projects, some of which were successful and some of which have failed, and trying to figure out what made them work or not work. What were the contributing factors?”
The Kickback Machine is very simple to use. Visitors can select a category to examine (Games, Music, Theater, etc.), and also look into sub-categories, all of which correspond with Kickstarter’s own verticals. They can filter the results by the target amount, and by whether the project reached that target.
“Right now it’s really geared towards finding projects like the one you want to do,” Misener said.
That does not mean, however, that this is the only data Misener was able to scrape from the campaign pages. Aside from the category and target amount, he also examined everything from the average pledge amount per backer to the number of rewards a campaign offered. More recently, Misener also began to look at the number of Facebook friends and Twitter followers a campaign organizer has.
“I’m really, really interested in the effect of hooking up your Facebook and Twitter accounts to your Kickstarter campaign, and just trying to correlate these social platforms with success and failure,” Misener explained. “I think there is an interesting picture there that hasn’t really been shown before.”
Though this data is not displayed on the Kickback Machine – the creator wants to keep it “clear and easy-to-use” – Misener has set up a Google Fusion Table for all those interested in taking a look.
What about Misener’s initial criticism of Kickstarter? Though he says he does want to see a more effective search engine on the crowdfunding platform, he also believes that the company has responded well to accusations of hiding failed projects.
“I would have a big problem if [Kickstarter] started just deleting projects or making them impossible to find,” Misener said. “What they’ve done is make them pretty hard to find and not draw a lot of attention to them, but they’re still there. I think that is commendable. Things like the statistics page, Kickstarter School, and all their guidance to project creators, I think that’s all good stuff.”
Still, there is a fundamental difference of opinion between Kickstarter and Misener that led to the creation of the Kickback Machine. Kickstarter’s co-founder Yancey Strickler commented on Misener's blog post, writing that failed projects do not serve much of an educational purpose. Misener, on the other hand, believes they can be a great resource for anyone considering raising money on Kickstarter, and he hopes that the company will continue to store failed projects, even if they are hidden.
“As long as [Kickstarter] keeps them around,” Misener said, “I’m content to keep pointing people at them.”