To quote the team, the new app focuses on three things: “finding new projects, keeping up to date with projects you’ve backed, and offering great tools for creators.”
Let’s start on the general user side with a browse screen and donation page:
As a side note, I’m surprised by the project they chose to use as an example. When I first glanced at the images, I was thrown off by the still of a woman’s bare shoulders. I would have gone with a gadget or a fake Kickstarter because, is this fair? All this promotion for a real Kickstarter campaign? I know that people do use the program to push creative endeavors like CDs, movies and books but I don’t think of those as the norm.
Getting back to the app — this browse screen is perfect for anyone who has some time on their hands. Waiting for a bus? Why not help fund a garden gadget or a movie? The pledge screen is clear and big and so easy. Great for impulse shoppers.
As a member of the Kickstarter community, you get your own profile page, so you can easily track the projects you’ve backed. There’s also an Activity tab which is a constant feed of updates from the projects and people you follow.
Again, nice layout. Easy to read. Great use of blocks and colors. Lots of information without being fussy.
If you’re running a project on Kickstarter, you can use the app to track your progress and make updates. The top of the screen shows you incoming messages and activity, including real-time messaging when you get a pledge. You can update your status from the dashboard even add photos and videos right from your iPhone camera.
Best off all, you can see exactly where you stand at a glance.
The app works on the iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. Download it at iTunes.
Kickstarter: It’s not just for fundraising anymore
Earlier this week, I read an article from MIT Technology Review called “Backers with Benefits: Why Companies Are Outsourcing to Kickstarter“. The author says that some full-funded companies, are turning to Kickstarter as a way of gauging customer interest to help shape a product before it comes to market.
She references a company called Securifi. They’re the creators of a unique WiFi router that also controls other systems in the home. They have their latest version on Kickstarter, but they’ve already sold thousands of an earlier unit on Amazon. They’re happy to take your pledge, but what they really want is feedback on what people expect from the product before they finalize the plan.
Then there’s game maker Days of Wonder. They went so far as to cancel their Kickstarter campaign, passing on $99,230 in pledges because all they really wanted was to gauge customer interest. They got the answer, so they stopped the campaign with a promise that they’ll be back soon with a more focused offer.
This trend disturbs me. People donate to Kickstarter projects because they want to help a small company or artist see their dream come true. Crowdsourced test marketing is a fine idea but let’s build a separate website for that. If this trend continues, companies that don’t need the money will be taking up space and donations that could have gone to a guy without any resources.
What do you think? Should Kickstarter allow established companies to set up a campaign, or should there be rules restricting who can post? And if they do restrict usage, what constitutes “established” – a singer with two CDs or companies that make over X amount of dollars a year?