For a company as deliberate as Kickstarter has been over the last 8 years, the last month has been a whirlwind of activity. Not one, not two, but three kind of big changes were made on the Kickstarter website. Let’s go over what they are and what they mean for creators and backers.
Reward Scheduling (link)
What it is: When you’re setting up your project page, you can now determine exactly when each reward becomes visible and when it expires.
What it means for creators: The main thing this does for creators is it makes running a campaign a little more hands off…if you’re into limited-time rewards like early birds and if you’re a perfect planner regarding new reward levels that will open up during the campaign.
What it means for backers: Have you ever missed out on an early-bird reward, so you checked in on a project from time to time to see if anyone canceled their early-bird pledge? No more. Creators can now alter the deadlines on those rewards: “To close off a reward tier, just set its deadline to any time in the past.”
How I feel about it: It just seems strange to me that Kickstarter seems to be encouraging the dubious practice of early-bird rewards. They’re enabling something that makes projects more exclusive instead of more inclusive, which bewilders me.
Referral Tags (link)
What it is: Referral tags allow a creator to create custom URLs to share via specific platforms (Facebook, Twitter, MailChimp, etc) to identify exactly how many backers the source generates (instead of lumping them into big pools of people).
What it means for creators: This gives creators so much more information than what was previously available to them. Marketing time and fund management during a campaign is incredibly important, and now you can learn exactly which sources are proving to be the most lucrative so you can focus on them.
What it means for backers: This is a very indirect way of supporting your favorite blogs. If you click on a link given to you by your favorite reviewer and then back the project, you’re now communicating to the creator that the reviewer is an asset.
How I feel about it: This is a fantastic development. The more information a creator can have about where his/her backers come from, the better.
Kickstarter Live (link)
What it is: Kickstarter has enabled live-stream videos on their website, complete with live backer comments. Based on the examples shown on the link above, you’re encouraged to have a beard if you use this feature.
What it means for creators: Up until now, creators have had two tools for communicating publicly with backers on Kickstarter: comments and updates. We’ve had to turn to other sources to connect with backers in other ways. Kickstarter Live is a very strong community-building tool.
What it means for backers: You now have a way to look a creator in the eyes and ask them anything you want. That’s pretty cool. Also, non-backers can watch the broadcast and pledge to it while it’s happening, so it could be a way to bring in new backers too.
How I feel about it: This is a really awesome addition to Kickstarter. I’m curious to see how often people actually use it, but I know for me as a backer who rarely comments on updates or projects, if a creator told me he/she were launching a live video chat on Kickstarter, I’d absolutely check it out, even just for a few minutes. That face-to-face connection is really powerful.
How do you feel about these developments? Will you be using them?