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Thread: On MYTHIC's case, and our responability as backers

  1. #1
    Superbacker Skitnik's Avatar
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    On MYTHIC's case, and our responability as backers

    As many of you may know, this project https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...f-gods-and-men was a scam. Fortunately, it was not very elaborated, so it was discovered quickly. But, before it was canceled, it still managed to get $4,739...

    Kickstarter is a wonderfull opportunity both for creative people like Stoic or InXile, who can work in artistic and financial freedom, and for people like us, who want something diffrent from what a souless industry gives us. But, with Kickstarter, nothing is guaranteed, when we back a project, it's because we have faith.

    And this faith must not be blind. For exemple,I've seen people on Wasteland's forums who obviously have no idea what kind of game they have backed. And some amateurish projects without clear ideas get funded. And this is bad, not only for decieved or scamed people, but for the idea of Kickstarter itself.

    One or two big fails, enough noise, and crowdsourcing may die. So, before backing a project, do some research, ask yourself if this is really what you're looking for, and ask yourself if the people behind the project look like someone who can achieve something.

    P.S. : Sorry for my mediocre english, and thank you for your time

  2. #2
    Backer kincajou's Avatar
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    Very good points,
    it's true that if kickstarter and other croudfunding systems are going to work, the "crowd" needs to grow in responsiblility. As much as it sounds financial, backing a project is indeed an investment in the end, as investors we need to learn to gather information and carry out our investments responsibly.
    "...And upon that banner you write down your deeds so that you cannot forget."

  3. #3
    Community Management Sean's Avatar
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    There was an article a few weeks ago on the Penny Arcade Report that did give a lot of "no brainer but needs to be stated" guidelines about backing a Kickstarter:

    The ugly side of Kickstarter: the risks in backing game dev campaigns are greater than you think
    Sean "Ashen Temper" Dahlberg
    http://www.seandahlberg.com/

  4. #4
    Moderator stelly's Avatar
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    I agree you need to do some research before committing your hard earned cash to a project... shocking how some people can just take and run...

    Stelly

  5. #5
    Superbacker Kaffis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sean View Post
    There was an article a few weeks ago on the Penny Arcade Report that did give a lot of "no brainer but needs to be stated" guidelines about backing a Kickstarter:

    The ugly side of Kickstarter: the risks in backing game dev campaigns are greater than you think
    Indeed, that was an excellent article. It also highlighted several of the reasons why I went from excitedly reading about your project on Rock, Paper, Shotgun (pre-Kickstarter!) to creating a Kickstarter account and opening my wallet for your wonderful team.

    Let me definitely say, for instance, that that brief clip of a few seconds of the turn-based battle in action, hearing that you guys had been working out how the battles would work on physical boards, the raw passion you guys obviously have, and, last but not least, the fact that you guys were asking for a reasonable (reasonably large, that is) amount of money to suggest you actually had run some numbers all scored major points in your favor when it came to moving me from a "watch the project and buy it if it comes out" customer to a backer.

  6. #6
    Superbacker Troll's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Skitnik View Post
    As many of you may know, this project https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/...f-gods-and-men was a scam. Fortunately, it was not very elaborated, so it was discovered quickly. But, before it was canceled, it still managed to get $4,739...

    The good thing (and logical) with KS is that money is only "taken" from backers when 1/ when the funding reaches 100% at least and 2/ at the end of the campaign. Good thing that those 4 739 $ are still in the bank accounts of those who backed it.
    That shows well how unprepared they were for actually using a known crowd-funding platform to scam people.

    Truly not enough people read rules, and in kickstarter case, that leads them to believe they either buy a (soon to be) product for cheap with no idea how it actually works.

    For The Banner Saga at first I was my usual wary self concerning everything on the internet. Then I delved a bit deeper on the vids, F.A.Q and comments, plus knowing the faces, names and background of the dev team made a large part in to make me trust them.

  7. #7
    Backer Dark Jedi Dave's Avatar
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    What worried me the most is how Kickstarter allowed this to be posted in the first place. Is there no QA there? A simple Google search, and I found out for myself this was very shady.

    I found no mention of their production company on the web, their website was a free Weebly page, and using a reverse image search engine on the swords, concept art and studio images, I find they were stolen, not to mention the pledge levels stolen word for word from TBS.

    With all the publicity Kickstarter is getting recently, they should check these better before accepting.

    My guess is the backer thought he'd get the pledge money right away, and used a duplicate account to "buy" the $2500 reward for false inflation. Once he realized he wouldnt get the money and users pointed him out as a scammer, he fled.
    Last edited by Dark Jedi Dave; 05-01-2012 at 07:17 PM.
    "Not all those who wander are lost" - JRR Tolkien

  8. #8
    I agree with the whole "backers need to be responsible for what they pledge toward", but I also agree with Dark Jedi Dave. Scam artists and folks who over-promise/under-deliver to an obscene degree should be held accountable in some way.

    I can maybe see why KickStarter didn't do so much in the past- projects rarely made money hand over fist like we've seen lately. I really think they should look into some policy changes now that they're becoming more visible to the general public. Maybe a few extra quality checks/security measures required before an individual can start a campaign, plus some penalties for failing to deliver... though I can see that part being troublesome because of all the possible degrees of failure and the gooey, subjective bits like "Technically, we got a *game*, but it's got more bugs than an Entomologist Convention".

    Randomish: I've actually backed several campaigns at the $1 level just to see if my instincts are on/off. I figure it's worth a buck to build a frame of reference for KS projects.

  9. #9
    Backer Blistig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Suzie Q Sailaway View Post
    I can maybe see why KickStarter didn't do so much in the past- projects rarely made money hand over fist like we've seen lately. I really think they should look into some policy changes now that they're becoming more visible to the general public. Maybe a few extra quality checks/security measures required before an individual can start a campaign, plus some penalties for failing to deliver...
    Sounds good on paper, but (fortunately) Kickstarter is a platform for all kinds of ideas to be presented to the general public. The sheer variety of these ideas would make it nigh impossible to check all of them on credibility and trustworthiness.
    How does a Kickstarter employee verify the authenticity of a dance group? A graphic design?
    It would of course be a possibility to ask individual project owners for more detailed information on their project before giving it a green light, which could discourage some of the more obvious scams.
    At the end of the day however Kickstarter is a common ground for people, responsible adults that is, to examine interesting projects and, if they feel comfortable doing so, take a risk in supporting them. Impulse buying can result in bad experiences, both in Kickstarter and in every other situation (Ebay I'm looking at you).
    The person who takes a good look on a product before buying it, maybe even research it more extensively if there is a larger amount of money involved, will naturally have less unfortunate experiences.

    Suzie also mentioned that scam artists should possibly be held accountable for their actions. Can anyone give insight if and how this could work on the law-side of things? Could these people be sued?

  10. #10
    Superbacker Skitnik's Avatar
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    Crowdfunding being new, there is no jurisprudence or a legal base on which scammers could be sued. The result of a trial is really unpredictable at the moment. So, all is based on faith, and that's why it's so fragile. We are conditioned to open our wallets because of hype and imulsive decisions, and here, it's really a bad thing.

    There's another thing to remember: Kickstarter isn't some kind of shop where one can pre-order whatever he likes. It's about funding a project.
    Last edited by Skitnik; 05-02-2012 at 06:10 AM.

  11. #11
    Superbacker Troll's Avatar
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    I though a bit about what I said about the money earlier and I have to add something.
    I didn't take account of Paypal transactions. In that case Paypal doesn't wait the end of the KS campaign I guess, so what happens to the money / people scammed ? unless some kind of delay is applied for payment to follow the funding date.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Troll View Post
    I though a bit about what I said about the money earlier and I have to add something.
    I didn't take account of Paypal transactions. In that case Paypal doesn't wait the end of the KS campaign I guess, so what happens to the money / people scammed ? unless some kind of delay is applied for payment to follow the funding date.
    You can contact Paypal about scams and have them refund you the money, and they can freeze accounts. Unfortunately, Paypal is not very helpful with refunds, though they have a reputation for being (over)zealous with account freezes. Alternatively, you could contact your bank or credit card company to cancel the payment, if it's been approved but the money hasn't actually changed hands yet.

    As for a legal basis, despite no specific precedent being said, there's plenty of legal basis for suing a scammer on Kickstarter. It's fraud; they misrepresented themselves and took your money under false pretenses. Suing a developer which took people's money in good faith but ended up being unable to deliver is a much thornier issue.

  13. #13
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    The trick is, with Kickstarter, unless the project reaches it's funding goal and the deadline is up, the project creator gets no money and the backers pay no money. This is actually a pretty good safety measure against scam projects... you have to be pretty dedicated to put in the work necessary to make a project look real, and like one that people want to back — an informative video and a well thought out explanation of the project; original, realistic and compelling rewards; feedback to backers in the form of regular updates and replies to comments. It's not impossible for this to happen, but it's not easy.

    My first experience with Kickstarter was as a project creator; in fact my successful project is still on the KS site. There is a preliminary q&a to determine if a proposed project is suitable for KS; you describe your project and what your funding goal is, and KS reviews it and gets back to you in a day or two. In my case, I don't recall being asked for information which could be used to verify my legitimacy, but I also wasn't asking for $100K.

    Once I launched my project, I encountered the first major hurdle that a scammer would run into; exposure. New projects are only on KS's front page briefly. Unless you have an existing network to tap into, you'll have a hard time pulling in enough backers. I succeeded mostly because of several generous friends (one very generous), word-of-mouth passes along by those same friends, and a few random encounters (I think). Now, Mythic seems to have been trying to capitalize on the recent KS phenomenon and ride the wave along with those other projects, but luckily for KS backers, there's still the delayed-payment set-up, which gave people time to notice inconsistencies and the other tell-tales which got it shut-down. In that light, the requirement to use a credit card through Amazon Payments, while disallowing other payment methods, is a good safety feature for backers. I, for one, will not use a Paypal option with any future project which might interest me, regardless of how much I might not want to raise my CC balance.

  14. #14
    I thought Kickstarter didn't accept Paypal? Did they change that?

  15. #15
    Superbacker Skitnik's Avatar
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    Kickstarter don't accept Paypal, but some projects offer it as an external option, for those unable to use amazon payments.

  16. #16
    What really needs to happen is for Amazon Payments to start accepting bank transfers from outside the United States. That would make offering Paypal obsolete---I had to use Paypal with The Banner Saga because I didn't have access to a credit card at the time, and Paypal would accept my bank account while Amazon would not. (And as an American, I find it particularly annoying that I can't use US-based services.)

  17. #17
    Backer gaelvin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kimberly View Post
    What really needs to happen is for Amazon Payments to start accepting bank transfers from outside the United States. That would make offering Paypal obsolete---I had to use Paypal with The Banner Saga because I didn't have access to a credit card at the time, and Paypal would accept my bank account while Amazon would not. (And as an American, I find it particularly annoying that I can't use US-based services.)
    Was there any delay built into the Paypal option? I'm wondering if that could be the issue with bank transfers in this case; it's relatively simple to put a hold on CC funds to be charged at a later date, which fits the "back now, pay later if it succeeds" paradigm that KS uses.

  18. #18
    Superbacker Skitnik's Avatar
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    And here's the man behind this sad story : https://www.betabeat.com/2012/05/01/g...employer-says/.

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by gaelvin View Post
    Was there any delay built into the Paypal option? I'm wondering if that could be the issue with bank transfers in this case; it's relatively simple to put a hold on CC funds to be charged at a later date, which fits the "back now, pay later if it succeeds" paradigm that KS uses.
    I'm pretty sure there's no delay built into Paypal, no. There is of course the processing time, but it doesn't "hold" the money the way Amazon Payments does with credit cards.

  20. #20
    Backer kolo83's Avatar
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    Paypal option is individual initiative of campaign creators and has nothing to do with Kickstarter. That's why it is not recommended option. So far this payment method was proposed after (and only) project exceeded assumed funding goal (funding by Paypal doesn't count). It's better to find free virtual cards/internet card/pre-paid cards or something similar offered by banks.

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